Arsenal vs Bolton Wanderers: Back to Business for Gunners

Joseph MillardCorrespondent ISeptember 11, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20:  Andrey Arshavin of Arsenal scores his teams fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Bolton Wanderers at The Emirates Stadium on January 20, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

So, with the international break well and truly behind us it's back to Premier League football today as Arsenal will be facing Bolton at home.

We all know the challenge Bolton present. Over the years they've caused us some problems, although not so much in the last couple of years and not usually at home.

Owen Coyle is working to build a team at Bolton that can play a little bit of passing football as well as mix it up physically, but as we saw in their last game against Birmingham, when their backs are to the wall they're still the same Bolton we know and loathe.

Injury-wise it's not terrific news. Thomas Vermaelen is the latest player to be ruled out of today's game. Fingers well and truly crossed that Vermaelen's absence is a short one. He really is a critical player for this team and we don't need him missing games.

The players we knew about being injured are still out, obviously. Theo Walcott, Robin Van Persie, and Nicklas Bendtner will be missed, and the pressure is on new boy Marouane Chamakh to lead the line.

On the bright side, Samir Nasri should return today, so let's hope he can get back to some of the excellent stuff he was producing in preseason quickly. I'd imagine we'll see him as part of the front three today, so the opportunity will be there for him to show the attacking threat that he poses.

Arsene Wenger was asked about Jack Wilshere's state of mind in his press conference yesterday following his recent arrest for an incident outside a nightclub. Wenger was, as you'd expect, supportive of Jack, saying, "We have all been 20-years old, none of us were angels at 20 and we have all made mistakes," which is of course completely true.

Wilshere's arrest wasn't welcome news, obviously, but it's not the end of the world. He seems to be a sensible lad otherwise and I'm sure he'll learn his lesson from this. As we heard at the time, Wilshere is unlikely to face charges so hopefully the whole thing can just be put down to experience.

Of course from a football perspective, there's a good deal of focus on Wilshere for today's game due to the time he spent on loan at Bolton last season. There's every chance he'll play a part in today's game against his former team-mates and no doubt Wilshere will want to show them and everyone else exactly what he can do.

At home against Bolton I think three points is a fair expectation, and I'm confident the team will deliver despite the injuries. I think there's still plenty in the squad that can worry Bolton.

At the back we'll get our first look at Sebastien Squillaci as he partners Laurent Koscielny in central defence. I'm quite confident Squillaci will be able to make a quick adjustment to playing in the Premier League and you wouldn't expect Bolton's style to faze a man of his experience.

Bolton gave us a good game at home last season, taking a two-goal lead before Arsenal managed to pull themselves together and come back to win the game. Their players aren't to be underestimated. The absence of Jussi Jaaskelainen through suspension is something of a bonus as the Bolton goalkeeper has been a thorn in Arsenal's side plenty of times in the past.

So, real football has returned following the international break. Come on the Arsenal!

Till tomorrow.


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