Arsenal 2 Bolton Wanderers 1

Last updated : 14 April 2007 By Footymad Previewer
In what was billed as a Champions League fourth place showdown Arsenal came out on top by beating Bolton Wanderers in a nail-biting, pulsating encounter at the Emirates Stadium.

This was a "must win" game for Bolton if they were to be seriously considered for that all-important final place and the chance at Champions League glory next season.

Yet it wasn't to be for Sam Allardyce's men as the Gunners shot them down although they made hard work of it and were forced to fight to the very death.

Arsenal started the brighter yet it was the Wanderers that shocked the 60,000 fans by going 1-0 ahead thanks to former Highbury marksman Nicolas Anelka who prodded home from point-blank range on 11 minutes.

Once again Arsenal were to do it the hard way and found the equaliser after attacking relentlessly on 31 minutes through Czech Republic international Tomas Rosicky. He latched on to Emmanuel Adebayor's cross, shooting home from close range and levelling matters.

Both Arsenal and Bolton had chances to go ahead before the break with Fredrik Ljungberg going close for Arsenal and Anelka almost grabbing his second for Bolton.

The second half started in explosive fashion as Arsenal's Spanish wonderboy Cesc Fabregas fired Arsenal into the lead. The midfield starlet continued to dominate proceedings and was always instrumental in both Arsenal's defensive and offensive movements.

He rubbed salt into his countryman Ivan Campo's wounds by teaching him a footballing lesson throughout.

However, Bolton were far from done and continued to pose a worry to Arsenal's fragile rearguard with great aerial threat and plenty of muscle-power when going forward.

The Gunners then upped the ante by re-discovering their fluent passing game, but typically squandered numerous golden opportunities to put the game beyond doubt.

Second-half substitute Abou Diaby was guilty of missing two golden chances which had the home fans on the edge of their seats for the full 90 minutes.

Their nerves were eased considerably with eight minutes left when a frustrated Campo picked up his second yellow card for an infringement on Rosicky.

Arsene Wenger's troops managed to old on to a precious three points and have now created a comfortable cushion between fourth and fifth place.

After a disappointing first season in their wonderful new home at the Emirates Stadium, the minimum requirement for Arsenal was Champions League qualification and it seems as though it will now be achieved.