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Fightback sends Gunners top

SoccerNews in English Premier League 20 Sep 2008


Arsenal came from a goal down to beat former bogey team Bolton 3-1 and move to the top of the Premier League table here on Saturday.

Goals from Emmanuel Eboue and Nicklas Bendtner cancelled out Kevin Davies' opener before Denilson sealed the win with a late third strike for the Gunners.

Davies had a free header to give the hosts an early lead but Arsenal came back with a fine spell to equalise and take the lead themselves.

Eboue and Bendtner each scored in the space of two minutes but Arsene Wenger's men had to withstand heavy pressure in the second half to hold on for the three points.

Fabrice Muamba looked determined to make an impression against his old club and set up an early chance with a robust challenge.

The Bolton midfielder robbed Denilson 30 yards from goal and the ball spilled to Kevin Nolan, whose drive was tipped over by Manuel Almunia.

Arsenal dominated possession from the start and were grateful for Andy O'Brien's well-timed sliding tackle after Nicklas Bendtner had played Emmanuel Adebayor through.

But the Gunners had already had a warning from Davies when he easily won a flick against William Gallas that was bundled out for a corner.

And from the resulting set-piece, Davies rose above Kolo Toure to head Joey O'Brien's corner into the corner of Almunia's goal.

As Arsene Wenger's side looked for a quick response, Brazilian midfielder Denilson rifled over from just outside the box.

In the 22nd minute, Bendtner was the creator again as he clipped through for his fellow striker only for Adebayor's stab at goal to come back off the post.

Just a minute later, it was Alexandre Song's turn to hit the woodwork when his header came back off the post following Cesc Fabregas' corner.

The equaliser finally came in the 26th minute when Bendtner slid the ball through again and Eboue got there ahead of Adebayor to squeeze the ball inside Jussi Jaaskelanen's post.

Ninety seconds later it was two after a wonderful passing move when Adebayor played Denilson through and he crossed for the sliding Bendtner to touch in at the near post.

Bolton finally came up with a decent response when Nolan's strike was pushed away by Almunia after Toure's fine tackle on Ricardo Gardner.

And Nolan went close again just before the interval after being set up by a flick from Davies.

On the stroke of half-time, Davies was booked for a sliding tackle on Gael Clichy that resulted in the French defender being taken to hospital.

Shortly after the restart, yet another fine passing move saw Song's thumping shot palmed wide by Jaaskelainen.

Adebayor should have opened up a two-goal lead when he rose above Danny Shittu to meet a cross from Johan Djourou — Clichy's replacement — but the striker headed wide of goal.

At the other end, Joey O'Brien's low strike flew narrowly wide of Almunia's post.

Bolton boss Gary Megson threw on the Dutch winger Mustapha Riga and he almost made a quick impression with a curling effort that was just pushed around the post by Almunia.

And full-back Bacary Sagna had to be alert to head away Jloyd Samuel's cross with Davies ready to pounce.

Arsenal were sitting back deeper and deeper but Sagna drove just wide after Fabregas' corner was not cleared properly by the Bolton defence.

Almunia flapped at a late Riga cross but held the follow-up from Ricardo Vaz Te before finally sealed their win.

Substitute Theo Walcott cut Bolton open and fed Adebayor to cross for Denilson to touch in a third at the far post.



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