What a topsy turvy game it was at Reebok Stadium, where Arsenal have not won in the league for the last six years. And they were going into the match with their worst streak in 9 years and being 3rd in the league this season for the first time. The setting was not good at all. To make matters worse, Diaby comes up with a very bad tackle and deservedly gets the red card. In a few minutes Arsenal find themselves 2 goals behind against a confident Wanderers.
Like they say, when the going gets tough the tough gets going, maybe with a little bit of luck. The second half saw Bolton pressing hard for another goal to seal the match, but a lucky break sees Arsenal getting a corner and from it resulted the first goal. Campos doesnt clear the ball and butts it across the goal for Gallas to come running around the side and slot it in. 2-1 the score line.
Another clever passing from the left flank saw Hleb being fouled inside the box and Persie made no mess of the penalty and the score read 2-2, with minutes to go. Wenger knew that this was a game where the momentum was fast shifting to Arsenal and he needed to get those 3 points to fight for anything left of the title.
And that came from who else, but Fabregas who had a inconsistent game where he did make some telling contributions as well as some uncharacteristic mis passes. His shot at goal, took two deflections and went in.
Credit should also be given for Wenger’s substitution that came just before the hour mark and from when Arsenal started coming back into the game. He changed Adebayor for Bendtner, Walcott for Senderos which meant Walcott played in quite an unusual role. It was a 3 man defence with Gallas and Toure holding firm and Clichy mostly on the assault. Walcott was on the right wing on his own and he did trouble the Bolton defence quite a bit.
Later on in the press conference Wenger said :
‘I can’t remember a better comeback, being 2-0 down and with ten men. Everything went against us, but we kept going.’
So this match should give confidence to the Gunners in their match against Liverpool in the Champions League. If Everton can do us a favour and beat Liverpool, the European match would be nicely set up. But Diaby’s red card means that the Gunners are further depleted for their League engagements for the next 3 matches.
This has been another match where Arsenal have saved points coming from behind.
Aug 12, 2007 v Fulham (h) 2-1 Hleb (90)
Aug 25, 2007 v Man City (h) 1-0 Fabregas (80)
Oct 7, 2007 v Sunderland (h) 3-2 Van Persie (80)
Oct 28, 2007 v Liverpool (a) 1-1 Fabregas (80)
Nov 3, 2007 v Man United (h) 2-2 Gallas (90)
Nov 24, 2007 v Wigan 2-0 Gallas (83), Rosicky (85)
March 1, 2008 v Aston Villa (h) 1-1 Bendtner (90)
March 4, 2008 v AC Milan (a) 0-2 Fabregas (84), Adebayor (90)
March 15, 2008 v Boro (h) 1-1 Toure (86)
March 30,2008 v Bolton (a) 2-3 Gallas (62) , Van Persie (68), Fabregas (90)