At least it’s in our hands as Henry has said yesterday. This is billed as a game for 4th place but we all know that it really should not have reached this stage at all. Battling it out with Bolton, Arsenal’s bogey team will not be easy as we all know.
What does Arsenal need to do to beat them?
AW should play 4 5 1. Yes at home. Because he hasn’t the wide players to play 4 4 2. We have said it before: round pegs in square holes do not fit. And Diaby is a central midfielder not a forward or a winger! A 4 5 1 line up will counter Bolton like for like not allowing them to outnumber Arsenal’s midfield. Hleb should be left out. His form has dipped and I can only suspect that he may be talking to other clubs possibly from Germany. Or the recent news that there is a dispute between his original club Minsk claiming a signing on fee from Arsenal may have affected him. Fabregas, Silva, Diaby Ljumberg and Rosicky should in our opinion be the five in midfield.
A fast tempo is needed due to Bolton’s high average age compared to Arsenal’s. Arsenal need to play as in the FA cup replay at Bolton where young legs and a very fast pace adopted right from the off outrun and outplayed Bolton’s ageing veterans.
Thirdly and finally:
Arsenal should be prepared to deal properly with long diagonal balls to Kevin Davies. He is pivotal to Bolton’s style of play. No one else in the Bolton team can play this role as effectively as Davies. They pump long, almost looping, balls to him from anywhere in the park and they all gather round for the scraps. Ugly but effective. For this reason Clichy should be dropped and Gallas play at left back to deal with the long balls. Similarly Senderos or Djourou should start with Toure in central defence. We would prefer Senderos due to his aerial ability but we suspect that he is out of favour and we expect that he may be thinking of moving on.
Do all these and 1-0 is a very achievable result.