Bolton hold Arsenal at Reebok Stadium

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Arsenal are still awaiting their first Premier League victory of 2012 after Bolton held the Gunners to a 0-0 draw at the Reebok Stadium on Wednesday night.

Arsene Wenger’s team endured a frustrating night, as they controlled the flow of the game with 64 per cent of possession but could not penetrate the Bolton backline.

Robin van Persie and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were again Arsenal’s biggest attacking threats and the Dutchman was unlucky not to score for the Gunners.

Van Persie started quickly and went close with a header in the early stages. Thomas Vermaelen delivered a good cross to the back post, but van Persie’s header was cleared off the line.

Van Persie was also Arsenal’s main creative outlet in the first half. Aaron Ramsey should have given Arsenal the lead after van Persie sent a pin-point pass through to the Welshman, who had gotten behind the Bolton defence. Ramsey could only toe-poke the ball towards the keeper, however.

Van Persie then made a good run down the left side of the Bolton area before cutting inside his marker and laying the ball back for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who shot wide.

N’Gog had Bolton’s first chances of the match. The former Liverpool striker first outfought Laurent Koscielny before forcing a routine, near-post save out of Wojciech Szczesny. Minutes later, Chris Eagles flicked the ball into the box and N’Gog took it on his chest before firing a shot just wide.

Oxlade-Chamberlain set up another glorious Arsenal opportunity when he played in Theo Walcott late in the first half. The England winger was free behind the Bolton defence but could only shoot straight at Adam Bogdan in the Bolton goal.

Van Persie was unlucky not to give Arsenal the lead in the second half as he twice hit the Bolton woodwork.

Sagna made a good run down the right wing before delivering a dangerous cross. Van Persie beat his marker but his short-range volley hit the post and went wide. The Dutchman later hit the bar with an audacious right-footed chip.

In between Van Persie’s efforts, Oxlade-Chamberlain continued to threaten the Bolton goal, with Bogdan doing well to push a long-range effort over the bar.

Walcott had perhaps Arsenal’s best chance of the second half, but the England man volleyed wide from eight yards.

Mark Davies did well to make space at the edge of the Arsenal box in the closing stages, but his shot flew just wide of Arsenal’s left post.

Bolton were happy to hold on for a draw, however. The Trotters remain in 17th after this creditable draw, while Arsenal slipped to seventh.


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