Against Bolton: Arsenal’s one more throw of dice


John Cleese travels to Bolton to find a live Norwegian Blue. Arsenal travel to the Reebok to keep their season from being “bleeding demised”. Coincidence? I think not. Monty Python were visionaries and they saw this day coming.
Everton and West Ham did no favours to Gunner hopes this weekend as they lost to Man Utd and Chelsea. The latter is now being taken at this late stage as a serious contender just when Utd looked like running away with the title.
Arsenal face a Bolton side eager to wipe the humiliation of a 5-0 loss to Stoke in the FA Cup semi-final. Their defense was virtually non-existent and Jussi Jaskailanen had a nightmare in goal. We know from past experience the Gunners are the one side likely to put back the “feel good” quotient in their opponents.
What Arsenal need to do is to play attacking football as they did against Spurs and then defend doggedly like they did against Stoke to preserve a narrow 1-0 win. This was pre Birmingham Carling Cup disaster when mental fragility did not seem an overarching issue.
Anything less than a win against Bolton and the idea of parroting Man Utd and Chelsea’s match with each other and Utd’s encounter at the Emirates as trump cards becomes increasingly irrelevant. Talking about parrots, Wenger insists Arsenal’s title hopes are still alive when on the contrary like John Cleese, the average Arsenal fan believes, “it has ceased to be.”
This season however has nothing to do with the future of the game. The models put forward by clubs like Man City, Chelsea, and even Man Utd living under a mountain of debt are simply unsustainable. The next few seasons are going to be a true indicator of which clubs are best positioned to reconnoiter the financial fair play rules. Arsenal is held as a benchmark. Wenger is right to counsel patience but as has been argued ad nauseum, augmenting the squad in key areas in the off season does not have to mean breaking the bank.

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