Arsenal came in resting Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas and Jens Lehmann and added Alexander Hleb and Freddie Ljunberg to the travelling squad to Bolton. The Gunners looked smooth and efficient from the beginning and managed to string together series of meaningful passes to create chances, the best one early on being Rosicky’s bullet shot which went a couple feet wide of the left post. Arsenal playing with a lot of width with Bolton having very little early possession and Bolton’s physical play being tactfully avoided by the Arsenal midfield tandem of Rosicky and Denilson.
The breakthrough came from Adebayor after Denilson and Rosicky had exchanged passes to setup the lanky striker who was helped by a deflection to beat Jaaskelainen who the delusional Allardyce thinks is the best goalie in the league. BTW, the ArseBlogger has a great pic of the walrus in his entry, check it out.
Emmanual Adeabyor 1-0
Arsenal continued putting pressure and Baptista should’ve scored after finding himself relatively open near the right post but his finished to put it bluntly, simply sucked. There was more of that to come. Late in the half, Bolton hit the post after massive confusion in the area which saw Bolton attempt a couple shots, one which was bravely blocked by Gilberto. On the counter-attack, Adebayor again setup Baptista who really isn’t doing any justice to his nickname by keeling over and falling down. It wasn’t mentioned two of the at least five instances where Baptista should’ve done much better than he did.
Early in the second half and Bolton had a great chance to score but Anleka made a piss-poor pass instead of just shooting. On the other end, Baptista, not to be out-done in piss-poor passing made one of his own after being setup beautifully on the break. He had two choices: to pass early or to shoot. He passed late.
Alexander Hleb had a very good game. He played under control and was able to turn his defender at will. His nifty series of moves almost paid off just outside the box but he was broght down by a struggling Ben Haim. Baptista hit the ensuing free-kick straight to the goalie. Baptista made amends after he was brought clearly by Ben Haim but the Brazilian shanked the kick about a mile high. A missed penalty hurts worse than a kick in the crotch.
Ben Haim Foul and Gilberto Missed Penalty
Campo had a free volley on the right post but he shot that wide and complained that Almunia got a piece of it. That wasn’t true and soon after the same scum got carded for diving which preserved some justice. Arsenal were counter-attacking throughout the second half and the best chance had Adebayor all alone with just Jaaskelainen to beat which he did by evading him to his right but drilled the shot into the left post.
After wasting all these chances, Arsenal, vulnerable to set pieces, gave away a corner in injury time which Mete nudged home after it was kicked headed down by Campo. All these missed chances by Adebayor and Baptista means extra time.
Bolton had a few chances in extra time, one hitting the post but it was Baptista that missed a chance to put Arsenal ahead. Late in the first period of ET, Baptista had a chance to put Arsenal ahead from a relatively obtuse angle but drilled it wide of the right post across the face of goal. Another missed chance.
Early in the second ET, an awesome run by Aliadiere which split open the Bolton defense and he touched it off to Freddie Ljunberg who supplied a deserving finish to Aliadiere’s great run. Arsenal deserved to win this game, if anything they should’ve scored at least 6 times. Bolton missed their share of chances too but it was Arsenal that was the better team at the end of the day.
Freddie Ljunberg 2-1
I’m not sure why the hell Chelsea were interested in Ben Haim, the guy is clumsy and unsure defensively. He was shown his second yellow after a foul on Baptista which reduced Bolton to ten men late in the second ET. Anelka was a non-factor and should’ve equalized for Bolton after he chested down a volley just inside the box, but shot it too high.
Our man Baptista confirmed that he can’t hit the broad side of the barn by shanking a penalty after Adebayor was brought down late in second ET. Luckily for him he saved some face by passing off to Adebayor for Arsenal’s third goal which came after Bolton committed too many men downfield. It was great seeing that scum Ivan Campo getting carded for diving, that guy just looks like a weasel.
Baptista missed penalty
To check out highlights for Arsenal vs. Blackburn at the Emirates, click here. Blackburn is next.