FA Cup Quarter-Final: Bolton 0 – Arsenal 1

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
March 12th, 2005 • 6:27 am

You can always count on Bolton to ruin the appeal of a football game. They are an ugly team that plays ugly football, and the only time I can ever condescend to supporting them is when they play against a team like Manchester United or Chelsea. And even then…

Their game plan today was obviously to use these long throws by Gary Speed to unsettle the Arsenal defense, and then commit as many fouls as possible to destroy Arsenal’s passing game. The Gunners scored on their first opportunity through a nice combination between Pires and Ljungberg, and then Diouf added another nail on his EPL coffin by getting sent off for an idiotic slap in the face of Jens Lehmann.

Interestingly, this didn’t affect the game in any way. Bolton still followed the same plan, and obviously this made for a rather boring game. While Lehmann still didn’t look all that comfortable on the long throws, at least the team still managed to keep a clean sheet. At the other end of the pitch, the Gunners weren’t able to create much. Bergkamp was pretty much invisible except for a couple of shots from distance. After a bright start, Pires fizzled out. Reyes was his usual ineffectual self. Only Ljunberg had a pretty decent game and really should have scored a second in the dying moments of the match.

As usual, the young ones did quite well, and Senderos had another pretty good game. Interestingly, Wenger did not make a single substitution… Presumably the on-going controversy with Ashley Cole and Chelsea had something to do with Cole being on the bench. It’s turning into a rather problematic situation.

Elsewhere, Manchester United predictably didn’t have any trouble disposing of Southampton. Are we going to get a repeat of last season’s semi-final? I guess we’ll know soon enough…

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