Arsenal got all 3 points today in a fully deserved 4-1 victory against Bolton, though credit to Bolton as they made it very difficult for Arsenal.
Kieran Gibbs, Emmanuel Eboue, Sebastien Squillaci, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky came in for Arsenal, replacing Clichy, Sagna, Vermaelen, Diaby and Walcott from last week as they went for their standard 4-2-3-1/4-1-2-3 formation. With internationals behind and Champions League matches coming, Arsene Wenger went for a very attack minded defence, with Eboue and Gibbs two fullbacks who can also play as wingers. Bolton played a standard 4-4-2, with Holden and Muamba two more defensively minded midfielders.
Bolton started off strongly, with the aerial threat creating a couple of half chances, and were always a danger from set pieces, Arsenal however dealt with it, and their passing settled down.
Marouane Chamakh had a paticulary good game for Arsenal; his movement and build up play was very good, and he was willing to drift out wide. This allowed Arshavin to come inside, which he preferes, and Rosicky and Fabregas played killer passes for Arshavin on numerous occasions. He couldn’t finish any of them, though he did win the corner that led to the opening goal. It could’ve been two when Chamakh, drifting to the left, played a great ball that Wilshere dummied for Rosicky, coming inside, weakly shot and was easily saved by Bogdan.
It was interesting to see Rosicky, the nominal right midfielder, come inside a lot, creating a formation that looked sometimes more like 4-2-2-2, very narrow. Eboue was trying his best to get forward on the right, but at times in the first half, Arsenal missed Walcott’s direct outlet on the right.
A defensive error meant Arsenal went in level, but that was soon changed, when Fabregas took advantage of Bolton’s sometimes suicidal high line yesterday to play a great ball over the top for Chamakh. The striker’s shot was parried by Bogdan, but from the ensuing corner that wasn’t completely cleared, Chamakh scored with his head after an excellent Fabregas cross.
It was Chamakh drifting out wide when he flicked the ball on for Arshavin and was taken out by Gary Cahill, who got sent off.
Song had a much more prominent role in the second half goign forward, and after excellent work from Arshavin, Song cheeklily chipped Bogdan for the third, and the 1000th under Arsene Wenger.
Not a very interesting game, tactically; Arsenal were the much better side, and deserved the 3 points. The only not of interest was that Rosicky was tucking in quite a lot, and switching with Fabregas so that Fabregas would play deeper and Rosicky more forward, or Rosicky deeper and Fabregas more forward. It created an assymetrical 4-2-2-2, which while it worked today as Bolton played a quite high line, against better defensive teams, the lack of width could hurt Arsenal. Chamakh is quite a good header of the ball, and so having width and crossing into Chamakh could be a successful way to goal for Arsenal.