Bolton vs. Arsenal: Preview, Predictions, Live Updates, Text Commentary & Recap

Ratan PostwallaCorrespondent IIFebruary 1, 2012

Can Arsenal be on Song again?
Can Arsenal be on Song again?Clive Mason/Getty Images

Dé·jà vu: n. The illusion of having already experienced something actually being experienced for the first time.

When Arsenal played Bolton Wanderers in September last year, the Gunners were lying 17th in the Premier League table. The team had lost three of their previous four league games, including contrasting, though humbling defeats at Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers.

Fast-forward a little over four months and Arsenal find themselves in the middle of a similar run of form, albeit in a somewhat better (though still unsatisfactory) league position.

Consecutive defeats against Fulham, Swansea and United (all winnable games) have left the London club in sixth place in the table. If you add nine points to their current tally, you will understand how they have let a golden chance pass them by.

Bolton are in the middle of a decent run of form themselves, with two victories in their last three games (against Everton and Liverpool), which has taken them out of the Premier League's bottom three. They have finally managed to bring an end to the Gary Cahill saga and have signed Tim Ream, Marvin Sordell and Arsenal's Ryo Miyaichi on loan.

On that September afternoon at the Emirates, Arsenal managed to put an end to their early-season horror show. Two goals by Robin van Persie and one by Alex Song, plus David Wheater's red card, eased them to a 3-0 victory. Gooners will be hoping their team can emulate that result and go on a similar run of form that followed that particular game.

In terms of team news, Mikel Arteta will surely be pushing for a starting berth after his return from injury against Aston Villa in the FA Cup. Arsenal have certainly missed him in midfield. Johan Djourou is fit again, as is Thierry Henry, though both will probably start on the bench. However, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is surely pushing for a starting berth after impressive displays against United and Villa.


Here's how I think the Gunners will line up:

Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen; Song, Arteta; Walcott, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Van Persie.

For Bolton, it is unlikely that their new signings Ream or Sordell will play. The American defender is back in his homeland sorting out passport issues, while Sordell's registration was not completed on time after his move from Watford. Premier League rules do not allow on-loan Miyaichi to play against his parent club.

However, goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and defender Tyrone Mears may make their respective returns from injury.

Referee: Chris Foy

Key stat: Bolton have conceded more goals at home than any other team this season, while Arsenal have conceded the second most number of goals away from home. Goal fest.

Prediction:  Bolton  2 - 4  Arsenal