Arsenal beats Bolton 3-0 with Van Persie double
Arsenal beat 10-man Bolton 3-0 Saturday with two goals from
captain Robin van Persie, easing the pressure on the Gunners after
a terrible start to their Premier League season.
The second half had barely started when Aaron Ramsey collected
the ball near the halfway line after Bolton lost possession. Ramsey
made a driving run through the middle before laying off the ball to
Van Persie on the left, who raced into the penalty area and drilled
a shot past Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen after just 36
Bolton defender David Wheater was sent off in the 55th minute
after he made contact with Theo Walcott, who was closing in on
Van Persie’s second – his 100th goal for Arsenal – came in the
71st minute when he nudged the ball in off his left shin in front
of goal after a cross from Walcott. Alex Song added a third in the
89th with a curling shot from inside the area.
”It is a deserved win that is welcome for us,” Arsenal manager
Arsene Wenger said. ”We cannot drop points anymore.”
Arsenal moved up to 12th in the table after starting the day in
17th to ease the pressure on Wenger, although there were worrying
signs for the manager when Walcott limped off with a knee injury
”I don’t really know (what is wrong),” Wenger said. ”I
thought it was a classic hamstring but it is not. He felt a sharp
pain in his knee and at the moment he is with the doctor.
”I don’t know what the diagnosis will be but it is completely
surprising. There was no one near him.”
It adds to a number of injury problems facing Arsenal. On Friday
night, the club confirmed that England midfielder Jack Wilshere
will be out until at least Christmas after he undergoes ankle
First-choice center back Thomas Vermaelen had ankle surgery
earlier this month and is expected to return after the next
international break in early October. Midfielder Abou Diaby is also
out with an ankle injury and should be ready for action around the
The Gunners have had an awful start to the season, losing three
of their first five matches, including a humiliating 8-2 defeat to
Manchester United and a 4-3 loss to Blackburn after twice leading
in that match.
Arsenal’s recurring defensive problems were evident in the
opening stages of the first half Saturday, with Bolton nearly
scoring in the second minute of the match. A free kick was floated
into the penalty area and headed on to Darren Pratley. His hooked
shot nearly beat Wojciech Szczesny, who had to dive to his left to
push it out for a corner.
In the sixth minute, a flick-on from another set piece evaded
the Arsenal defense and Wheater just missed glancing it in.
But Arsenal regained a sense of composure and nearly scored a
minute later when Gervinho latched onto a throughball from Mikel
Arteta, which left the Ivory Coast forward in a one-on-one
situation with Bolton’s goalkeeper. But Gervinho’s heavy first
touch allowed Jaaskelainen to race out and smother the ball at the
Arsenal’s second-half performance was dominant, especially after
Wheater’s sending off, with the Gunners bombarding Bolton’s goal
with several on-target shots.
Bolton’s poor start to the season continued with a fifth loss in
six games and the team is rock bottom in 20th place.
”The first half we were delighted,” Bolton manager Owen Coyle
said. ”We had a good shape and at half time we had a platform to
achieve a positive result from the game. But if you’re going to
shoot yourself in the foot as we did (at the start of the second
half) then it’s obviously going to be difficult.”