24th April 2011
Bolton are looking to make amends for the embarrassing FA Cup defeat to Stoke and stay in contention for the European places with a good result against Arsenal, whereas the Gunners are hoping to return to winning ways following numerous slip-ups in the last few weeks.
Bolton have done remarkably well this season and the mere fact the Trotters are fighting for European places instead of battling to survive is the perfect proof. Bolton players have quickly accepted Owen Coyle’s philosophy of football and have played some great football this term, not only against the bottom table sides but against the title contenders as well. Thanks to the impressive away run in the FA Cup, the Trotters managed to reach the semi-finals of the competition, but the 5:0 defeat to Stoke at Wembley marked the end of their campaign and the team can now fully focus on the Premier League. The heavy defeat to Stoke was clearly a one-off result and Owen Coyle shouldn’t have problems picking up the players’ spirits before the clash with Arsenal, especially since the Trotters are still in a position to fight for the place in Europa League. Daniel Sturridge, Mark Davies and Matt Taylor should return to the starting line-up, while Stuart Holden, Sean Davis and Sam Ricketts remain on the sidelines.
Despite showing a lot of promise at the start of the season, Arsenal have once again failed to step up the plate in the crucial stage of the season, with their fans’ anxious wait for a trophy set to continue. The disappointing Carling Cup final defeat, as well as elimination from the Champions League and FA Cup, has left a bad taste in the players’ mouth, with Arsenal missing several great chances to close the gap behind Manchester United in the Premiership. Having won just one out of their last eight games in all competitions, the Gunners are clearly struggling for form at the moment, while the lack of confidence is also affecting their performances. The players will be low on spirits after squandering a two-goal lead against fierce rivals Tottenham and Reebok Stadium doesn’t look like the venue where they will end the dismal run. The visitors will be without Vermaelen, Diaby, Mannone and Fabianski, whereas Rosicky is a doubt.
Bolton have been showing a lot of promise lately and they should have enough in them to recover from the Stoke defeat and get a good result against struggling Arsenal. The Gunners are clearly out of form, they are playing without confidence and are running on empty, so I really don’t think they can win this game.
Verdict: Draw (X)
Best Odds: 3/1
Bookmaker: Victor Chandler
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