Late injury news on Friday afternoon. Thomas Vermaelen won’t be appearing against Bolton. While it isn’t exactly welcome news it does mean that we will all be able to see Sebastien Squillaci make his debut for us. Squillaci will surely have had reservations about his debut but seeing as it will be at home against, in all probability, Johann Elmander, well, it could have been worse. Squillaci and Koscielny playing centre back for Arsenal in September. Who would have imagined that in May?
On a slightly more sentimental note, how does Djourou feel? Once the young up and coming centre back of notoriety in North London, he is not little more than a squad number destined for the occasional appearance.
I am curious to see how Owen Coyle has operated at Bolton. Are Bolton still Bolton? You know. The porn star type who like it long, rough and dirty. Or are they now actually a Coyle team? Remember Coyle forged a reputation at Burnley on the back of impressive, free flowing football and he was often complimentary about the Arsenal style and method. He would compliment us on our way of football and our club organisation. He won’t be in line for a harsh reception at kick off at the Emirates this weekend, put it that way. At full time, however, if Bolton have played the way Bolton traditionally have in the Premiership then Coyle will have lost quite a bit of the appreciation afforded to him by the Arsenal faithful.
Reckoning on him instructing the Bolton team to play a far more engaging (in the Arsenal sense) and attractive game I am of course asking him to open the floodgates and allow us to score a plethora of goals on the counter attack, after we masterfully score the first with a calculated pass and move triangle between Arshavin, Diaby and Chamakh. Coyle being a smart guy, though, he probably won’t send his team out to attack us, or even be offensive in any meaningful way, straight away, if at all. Knowing that, and appreciating the quality of the likes of Gary Cahill, I think a 2-0 victory is on the cards. Bolton are capable defensively by the looks of things and we are a little short on attacking numbers at the moment – Bendtner, Van Persie and Walcott are all out – so the coherent play we would like to anticipate probably isn’t going to be there just yet between Rosicky, Chamakh and Arshavin.
Should the match get to the second half and we haven’t scored I have a feeling that the terraces (or the corporate boxes) will be praising Walcott to the high heavens. If we are a couple of goals ahead Walcott probably won’t get a mention. So much for scoring a hat trick in the last game and nobody caring about you in the next. Such is the life of an Arsenal winger. Well, not really. Just Walcott. So, 2-0 then.