Friday, January 26, 2007


Arsenal face Bolton on Sunday, in what could be a sticky tie for the Ashburton boys. In recent times the direct style of play employed by the Trotters has proved particularly obdurate in the face of the Gunners' embellishments, and even though Bolton were dispatched in the same competition at Highbury two years ago, Ashburton Grove has yet to obtain such a menace for visiting teams, despite the lack of a defeat there to date.

Beaten 3-1 at the Reebok earlier in the season, Arsene Wenger will be well aware of the qualities his opposite number aims to cultivate in his players, and will surely attempt to galvanise his own team toward a clinical victory, avoiding the dual pitfall of a return leg, further congesting Arsenal's fixture list. A home defeat shouldn't be categorically ruled out, as Bolton are able to smash-and-grab with the best; but it's on their own patch that they find their metier.

Whatever the result, Allardyce and his Wanderers have become something of a nemesis for the North Londoners, and the game could provide fascinating watching. I'm no fan of Bolton's approach, so when fire meets ice come the sabbath eventide, I'll be hoping sangfroid prevails.


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