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By Chris Bevan
1857: And this is where I say farewell, on the day Arsenal waved goodbye to any realistic hopes of their first league title since 2004 and their first trophy of any description since 2005 (bar the Emirates Cup). Thanks for your input and, whether you support the Gunners or anyone else, it has been an eventful day. Don't forget to watch Match of the Day 2 on BBC Two and this website (in the UK) at 2235 BST for highlights of Bolton-Arsenal, and join
on Monday for Blackburn versus Manchester City. Enjoy, and see you all soon.
ScoreitlikeSami on Twitter:
"Re monzafc123. Vermaelen was injured in September. We didn't get a replacement in January, and that's why Wenger's getting grief."
FULL-TIME Bolton 2-1 Arsenal Phil Dawkes reports: "Arsenal's title bid and their quest for silverware for another year is all but over. The aftermath will inevitably focus on Arsenal's flaws, but credit also to Bolton, who matched the Gunners first half, dug in during the second and took their chance when it came."
1848: Almost time for me to call it a day. Before I go, though, this is how our man Phil Dawkes saw events at the Reebok Stadium...
1845: I think I am pretty safe in saying that the Premier League will be won by either Manchester United or Chelsea, (and probably by the former) but Arsenal can still have a big say in where the title ends up. They host United on 1 May, with only pride to play for... and are sure to have a point to prove.
From another anonymous Arsenal fan, via text: "Re Bill at 1810. We have a solid-centre back, his name is Vermaelen. And oh how we've missed him. Imagine Chelsea without John Terry all year! Anyway, I think the issue is less about the players we have, who are quality, but their mentality, which is poor."
monzafc123 on Twitter:
"Overall, not a bad effort from a team without Thomas Vermaelen since September. Pretty much everyone has forgotten that."
Gooner_ish on Twitter:
"Still think Wenger can be the right man. He just has to relax on his/our transfer policy, he will lead us to success again."
1833: There is next to hope there will be any silverware this season, though. Arsenal are nine points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United with four games left. The closest they have come to a trophy is losing the Carling Cup final to Birmingham.
More from Wenger, on mounting criticism of his approach: "If you can prove my principles are wrong, I am ready to change them all. Conceding a goal from a corner in the last minute is not enough to convince me." And is there silverware to come from his side in the future? "There is. You will see, that is without a doubt. If there is someone to blame, it's me. The players have been outstanding all season."
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on his side's last-gasp defeat at Bolton: "It is difficult to swallow the way we lost. We gave everything we had left today. We had chances to win it but didn't take it and in the end we were caught in the way we feared today, from a corner. The week we have just had summed up our season - lots of quality in our game on Sunday, Wednesday and today but not enough rewards for our effort." And on their title hopes: "Our chances are very minimal, that is for sure."
1825: The debate as to what is wrong with Arsenal is continuing on 606 on BBC Radio 5 live. The common theme from fans at the moment? Arsene Wenger is too stubborn about his refusal to spend money.
From anonymous Arsenal fan, via text: "Re 1810. Wenger undoubtedly needs to make changes this summer. However, our play today was very good. No-one thinks Nasri should go, yet he missed the chances. Djourou has been immense all season, but was terrible today. Surely the issue is getting this team to win things, not dismantling them."
From John in London, via text: "No excuses this time. We are not good enough! Full stop."
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"2 - Since losing to Birmingham in the League Cup final, Arsenal have won just 2 of 10 games (v L Orient & Blackpool). Slump."
Bolton boss Owen Coyle on his side's battling display and last-gasp win over Arsenal: "I think everyone knows how bad we felt after the FA Cup semi-final and it was important we showed our character today - and we did that. We dealt Arsenal's title hopes a big blow but more important for us was our performance. I think we showed the real Bolton Wanderers today and went a long way to putting the smile back on our fans' faces."
From Bill in Holloway, via text: "Need a keeper, we don't buy one. Need a solid centre-back, we don't buy one. Need a strong leader, we don't have one. We have the funds, we don't spend them. Need a manager who lives in reality, we don't have one!! Welcome to Arsenal FC!"
1810: Arsene Wenger said this week that he does not need to make massive changes, will continue to rely on young players and will not be spending big this summer. I can't help feeling the majority of Arsenal fans disagree with him.
From Dan from London, via text: "Not being funny but any other manager would've been sacked by now. I think Arsene is a good manager but surely enough is enough? Look at what happened with Mark Hughes, and Roy Hodgson. Six years without a trophy is not exactly confidence boosting, for players, managers or fans."
1808: An emotional Tamir Cohen was interviewed after the final whistle, and showed again how much scoring Bolton's late winner meant to him. I don't think he was booked for that tribute to his father with his celebration which, if true, shows there is still some common sense in football.
Bolton striker Daniel Sturridge after his side's win over Arsenal: "After last week, we wanted to show the fans we had the passion to prove to them that was just one bad day. I have done my team Chelsea a favour today but I came out here to work for Bolton and their fans."
jacksburke on Twitter:
"Same old, same old Arsenal. Don't even feel surprised or sad when they lose like this anymore..."
1757: I'm not sure how Arsenal lost that game, given the amount of chances they had in the second half. That's been the story of their season, though, hasn't it? And their title challenge is all but over now.
1755: A stone-faced Arsene Wenger shakes Owen Coyle's hand and exits down the tunnel, followed by the Gunners players. Jack Wilshere is the last to leave the pitch, after throwing his shirt to the Arsenal fans.
1754: FULL-TIME Bolton 2-1 Arsenal
1753: We are into the last minute of injury time and Bolton are still defending doggedly. Arsene Wenger is urging his men forwards, but his gestures look futile now.
JosephMBSale on Twitter:
"Classic Arsenal performance as of late. Frustrating, magical, wasteful, beautiful and by the end, disappointing."
1751: There will be five minutes of stoppage time... in which time Arsenal need to score two goals.
Bolton goal: That noise is the door slamming on Arsenal's title hopes. When the corner comes in, Tamir Cohen meets it at the near post to head home and celebrates by revealing a t-shirt in honour of his late father Avi, who died after a motorbike accident in December.
1749: GOALFLASH Bolton 2-1 Arsenal (Cohen)
1746: Another mix-up by the Gunners defence, and Johan Elmander would have finished Arsenal off if not for a great save by Wojciech Szczesny, who tips his shot round the post.
1747: Kevin Davies tries to capitalise on a loose ball across the Arsenal backline but only succeeds in catching Laurent Koscielny and getting himself booked.
1745: Arsene Wenger is even more animated than usual on the touchline, and the Arsenal fans behind Jussi Jaaskelainen's goal are trying to will their side on too. Bolton are still holding out though, and they are defending for their lives. Five minutes of the 90 left. The Gunners need a hero, and fast.
1742: More changes by both sides. Arsenal's Jack Wilshere is replaced by Aaron Ramsey and Bolton bring on Tamir Cohen for Daniel Sturridge.
1741: Arsenal are back on the attack... and they know time is running out. The Gunners are even pumping balls into the Bolton box now, which shows their desperation.
1739: Marouane Chamakh sends Paul Robinson tumbling and is shown a yellow card. Bolton play it short from the resulting free-kick before Johan Elmander fires well wide from about 30 yards out, in a rare shot on goal from Bolton. We have got 10 minutes of the 90 left, and it is still 1-1.
1737: Arsene Wenger is getting frustrated too. He slams the ball into the ground when Bolton are awarded a debatable throw after it bounces out of play next to him. Temper, temper.
1736: Oh dear. Sami Nasri, again, fails to capitalise from a promising position. He latches on to a clipped ball over the top but tries to square it first-time for Marouane Chamakh rather than take a touch or go for goal himself. Bolton clear their lines.
1734: ...Cesc Fabregas whips it in but Jussi Jaaskelainen punches clear. The pressure on the Bolton defence is immense.
1733: It's all Arsenal now. Kevin Davies has to head clear from a corner, but the Gunners have a free-kick in a dangerous position out on the left when Gretar Steinsson fouls Andrey Arshavin...
1732: A couple of changes to tell you about. Andrey Arshavin replaces Theo Walcott for Arsenal, while Bolton have replaced Fabrice Muamba with Mark Davies.
1731: Tense times at the Reebok. Arsenal have got 20 minutes left to find a winner that will keep their season alive.
1730: It was Gary Cahill who got back to block on his own line... but here come Arsenal again. Marouane Chamakh opts to try to head the ball into the path of Samir Nasri rather than go for goal himself, and the ball eludes his team-mate.
1728: Wow. I don't know how Arsenal aren't ahead. Samir Nasri runs on to a Robin van Persie ball over the top but Jussi Jaaskelainen comes out quickly to block. The ball runs for Nasri again, but his second shot is blocked by a defender on the line.
1726: More possession by Arsenal but a promising move ends when Robin van Persie has a pop from distance... but drags his shot across the face of goal. There is an air of desperation about the Gunners when they come forward.
1723: Bolton are on the back-foot but always have the option of the ball up to Kevin Davies, which they are using to alleviate the pressure. Time for an Arsenal change, with Marouane Chamakh on for Alex Song.
1722: Jack Wilshere is the latest player to be shown yellow, after sliding in on Chung-Yong Lee. I thought he got the ball, but there you go...
1721: Bolton have more defending to do, with Theo Walcott and Cesc Fabregas seeing plenty of the ball just outside the home side's area but eventually being crowded out of it. Still no more clear-cut chances for the Gunners, though.
1717: Half-an-hour left for Arsenal to find a winner - one point is not enough for them here. They have not done much since equalising, in truth, and the game has got an awful lot more scrappy in the last few minutes. Bolton are fighting hard.
1713: Bolton have to be careful here, but it is far from one-way traffic. Alex Song catches Chung-Yong Lee when the Bolton man pounces on his poor control, and that's a yellow card.
1711: The Arsenal players are visibly lifted by that goal, and their fans are making all the noise at the Reebok. Surely even Zak (see 1617) must be getting excited now?
Arsenal goal: Talk about a turning point. Seconds after that penalty miss, the Gunners sweep forward and Cesc Fabregas expertly tees up Robin van Persie to slam home his shot frm the edge of the area. This is the seventh successive Premier League away game that the Dutchman has found the net - a new record.
1708: GOALFLASH Bolton 1-1 Arsenal (Van Persie)
Bolton missed penalty: Let's get one thing straight: This is never a penalty. Johan Djourou makes the slightest of contact with Daniel Sturridge when he bursts into the box, but the Bolton striker goes to ground. Mike Jones points to the spot, but justice is done because Wojciech Szczesny keeps out Kevin Davies' tame effort.
1706: MISSED PENALTY by Bolton (Szczesny saves from Davies)
1705: PENALTY to Bolton
1704: Bolton get the second half under way. Win or bust for Arsenal? I think so...
1701: Credit where credit is due to Bolton - you can tell they had a point to prove after last weekend, and so far they have done exactly that. Surely we will see more from Arsenal after the break, though?
From Adam in Walton on Thames, via text: "United fan watching on here. Every time Arsenal take the lead I presume they'll blow it - so expecting a Gunners comeback early on in the second half."
AndrewBlewden on Twitter:
"Sturridge finally fulfilling his potential. Perhaps Drogba's replacement was always under our nose! Happy Chelsea fan here!"
mattlittlechild on Twitter:
"Nice passing and movement but as usual there is no end product in the final third from Arsenal. Which is why we are losing."
HALF-TIME Bolton 1-0 Arsenal Phil Dawkes' HT snapshot "Arsenal's title hopes are fading at the Reebok. They trail to Daniel Sturridge's goal and are struggling to impose themselves. You'd expect the second half to see much more of the pressure the Gunners piled on in the final minutes of the first half."
1649: The half-time whistle has gone at the Reebok. Arsenal have got 45 minutes to turn things around, or else their season is going to end with a whimper.
1647: Here's a chance. Fabrice Muamba concedes a free-kick on the edge of the area and this is Robin van Persie territory. The Dutchman steps up to fire it goalwards... but sends the ball a mile over Jussi Jaaskelainen's bar. Disappointing.
1646: Arsenal have upped the ante since going behind but that Cesc Fabregas shot remains their only effort on goal in that time. There will be two minutes of stoppage time for them to change that.
1644: A minute of the first 45 left, and Arsenal come within inches of levelling. Cesc Fabregas lets fly from 25 yards out but his shot smacks against the post with Jussi Jaaskelainen beaten.
1643: Time to see what Arsenal are made of, then. Is it good news (sort of) that they are not trying to protect a lead this time?
1642: How long until Daniel Sturridge gets his first England call-up? It can't be long...
Bolton goal: It had been coming. Daniel Sturridge sets up Chung-Yong Lee with a clever little chip but Wojciech Szczesny spreads himself to make a point-blank save. Wanderers don't have to wait long to find the net, though. When the resulting corner comes in, Gary Cahill's header may or may not cross the line before being blocked but Sturridge follows up to make sure. If it is given to the on-loan Chelsea man, it is his seventh in nine games for Bolton.
1639: GOALFLASH Bolton 1-0 Arsenal (Sturridge)
1637: Theo Walcott is keeping Paul Robinson busy down the left, and once again gets a cross in too. It's cleared but Arsenal are soon back on the ball... Gary Cahill loses it, and Samir Nasri fires in a rasping low shot that is only a couple of yards wide.
1633: I should point out that Arsenal did not stop probing forward during that flurry of Bolton chances, it's just that the home side have had the better openings so far. One way or another, I can't see this game staying goalless for long (so put your money on a 0-0!).
biggereggo on Twitter:
"Cracking game so far, both teams creating plenty... though Bolton may rue missing their chances later."
1631: Zak in London (below) is getting a LOT of reaction. I've only seen one Arsenal fan agree with him so far, though... out of a few dozen responses.
1629: A wobble for Wojciech Szczesny too. Gary Cahill spreads play to Matty Taylor out on the left and he whips in a super low cross that the Arsenal keeper fumbles. Luckily for him, there are no Bolton players in the right place to gobble up the loose ball. This is a great spell for the home side, but this game is still goalless with almost half an hour gone.
1626: Another chance goes begging for Bolton. This time the Gunners fail to clear, and the ball falls for Matty Taylor on the edge of the area... but his shot does not test Wojciech Szczesny.
1625: A HUGE let-off for the Gunners here. Daniel Sturridge splits the Arsenal defence with a precise pass and Chung-Yong Lee is charging through on goal... but decides to try a fancy flick inside for Kevin Davies rather than go for goal himself. Arsenal clear.
reecealawrence on Twitter:
"Re Zak - You cannot call yourself an Arsenal fan if you don't support your team in every game they play!"
1622: That is definitely a booking. Matty Taylor lunges in on Laurent Koscielny and referee Mike Jones is reaching for his pocket again.
From Zak in London, via text: "I'm an Arsenal fan but I want Bolton to win today. Wenger simply needs to stop making excuses and start to deliver some long overdue silverware. Time to change policies Mr Wenger - have a clear-out and spend some money!"
1617: Chances at both ends. Firstly Gretar Steinsson sends over a tempting cross that Kevin Davies is unable to convert at the near post. Then, Arsenal pour forward and Jussi Jaaskelainen does brilliantly to push a sweet Cesc Fabregas shot round his post. Lots happening, but no goals yet.
1615: Bolton's best attack so far, a sweeping move started by Daniel Sturridge in his own half. He feeds Johan Elmander, who finds Chung-Yong Lee on the right. Kevin Davies cannot quite get on the end of Lee's cross but Wanderers are not done yet, and Sturridge gets forward to fire in a shot. Just a shame he is offside.
1613: Robin van Persie wants another booking, when Kevin Davies clatters Alex Song. No yellow card this time, though, despite it being a far worse challenge. Don't you just love consistency from referees?
1611: Harsh. Fabrice Muamba is booked for a tackle on Jack Wilshere. Yes, it was a foul. But a booking? Never. It was his first offence, and not a bad one.
1610: Bolton are trying to find Kevin Davies at every opportunity but are not having much joy with the direct ball. Arsenal are having rather more joy with their efforts to make the most of Theo Walcott's pace.
1608: A penalty shout for Arsenal too, when Theo Walcott is brought down by Matty Taylor (I think). Taylor definitely doesn't get any of the ball, and plenty of the man. But referee Mike Jones waves away his appeals.
1605: Our first chance, and it goes to Arsenal. Cesc Fabregas frees Theo Walcott, who fires in a shot from the right-hand side of the box that Jussi Jaaskelainen cannot hold. Samir Nasri is first to the loose ball, but his shot is blocked.
1603: Both sides are just finding their feet in the first couple of minutes, and they have both had decent spells of possession without creating any openings. The pitch at the Reebok is half in the shade and half in sunlight, which is annoying me already.
1601: Here we go. Arsenal get us started.
From Carl in Cardiff, via text: "I've been emotionally pulled apart several times by Arsenal this season and not sure how much more I can take. One final push lads."
1559: Is anyone hoping Arsenal win, apart from Gunners fans?
jescfc on Twitter:
"I'm a Chelsea fan, supporting Bolton today (obviously). Bolton to win 2-1, Daniel Sturridge to score first!"
1557: The players emerge from the tunnels (there are two) at the Reebok. That means kick-off is just moments away.
1555: Anyone for a trip down memory lane? It's not so long ago that Bolton used to ruffle Arsene Wenger's feathers more than any other team: during Sam Allardyce's time in charge of Wanderers, when his uncompromising style regularly brought results that upset the Frenchman.
Anyone remember April 2003,
when Bolton fought back from 2-0 down to claim a draw which helped to cost Gunners the title?
1548: By the way, you can listen to live commentary from the Reebok on BBC Radio 5 live (if you're in the UK). Just give this page a manual refresh and you're away...
Infostrada Sports on Twitter:
"Today, Robin van Persie will try to become the first player in Premier League history to score in seven successive away matches."
1340: I don't need much of an excuse to roll out the sunshine graphic and, besides, it is a glorious afternoon in Bolton. The players are out on the pitch warming up - and none of them seem to want to stand/run in the shade of one of the stands at the Reebok. They might have to once the game starts, though.
From another anonymous Bolton fan, via text: "It was an 'I was there' moment last Sunday for the Super Whites, just not the memory I was expecting. We've all licked our wounds, expecting a good performance today at a sold-out Reebok. White Army!"
1533: I was at Wembley last Sunday and it wasn't pretty from Bolton's point of view. In fact, I'm not sure how even Owen Coyle could take anything positive away from the day - and he is the most enthusiastic and optimistic manager in the Premier League. The important thing for them is that they don't feel sorry for themselves, and I can't see Coyle letting that happen.
From anonymous Bolton fan, via text: "It's a tough ask for the lads to ask then to banish last weeks Wembley nightmare against this Arsenal side. As long as they show they still have some fight I'll be happy. Last Sunday was an unfortunate situation where the nature of the event got to all 11 of our players instead of just one or two. Think Owen has missed a trick by not including Mark Davies in today's starting XI though."
dom_m1988 on Twitter:
"Quietly confident Gooner. The days of fearing Bolton are long gone. Win today and ONE FINAL PUSH!"
1525: Talking of strikers, probably the most disappointing thing about Saturday was that Jermaine Easter failed to get off the bench for
Crystal Palace at Doncaster.
Shouldn't his selection have been mandatory this weekend?
1520: Around 40 minutes until we get going at the Reebok, so let's take a quick glance back at yesterday's action, on a day dominated by strikers. You might have heard by now that
ended his goal drought in the rain at Stamford Bridge while, at the other end of the form scale, Lionel Messi managed his 50th of the season for Barcelona
in their win over Osasuna.
I know it is easy to get carried away with plaudits but I think that officially makes Messi better than Clive Allen, who managed 49 goals for Tottenham in 1986/87.
BOLTON v ARSENAL TEAM NEWS Phil Dawkes reports: "In-form striker Daniel Sturridge returns to Bolton's starting line-up after having being cup-tied for the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Stoke last Sunday. He replaces Ivan Klasnic, who drops to the bench. The only other change for Wanderers sees Matthew Taylor come into midfield in place of Martin Petrov. Arsenal make one change from Wednesday's 3-3 draw at Tottenham, with former Bolton loanee Jack Wilshere, who impressed during his stint with Wanderers last season, coming back into the midfield in place of Abou Diaby."
Bolton boss Owen Coyle on how his side hope to respond to last weekend's disastrous FA Cup semi-final defeat by Stoke: "He said: "I don't want any of the supporters to think that after the game the players didn't think about the match or they weren't hurt or disappointed. Of course they were. It was a great opportunity but it's passed us by and we can't affect that now. What we can affect is what's to come. The target is the same as last year, to finish as high up the table as we can. As horrible as last Sunday was, I wished there was a game on the Monday. There wasn't and we've had to wait a week and now we have to make sure that when it comes about we're ready to go."
Bolton v Arsenal line-ups Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Lee, Elmander, Muamba, Taylor, Sturridge, Kevin Davies. Subs: Bogdan, Petrov, Mark Davies, Klasnic, Moreno, Cohen, Wheater. Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Walcott, Fabregas, Nasri, van Persie. Subs: Lehmann, Ramsey, Squillaci, Arshavin, Eboue, Gibbs, Chamakh. Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
1515: BREAKING TEAM NEWS FROM THE REEBOK STADIUM Arsenal's only change is Jack Wilshere's return, in place of Abou Diaby, after the England midfielder was rested for Wednesday's trip to White Hart Lane. For Bolton, Matt Taylor and Daniel Sturridge are back in Owen Coyle's starting XI. More on all of this very shortly.
OptaJoe on Twitter:
"8 - Arsenal have won their last eight Premier League games against Bolton Wanderers in succession. Bogey."
BOLTON v ARSENAL (1600 BST) Phil Dawkes reports: "Last Wednesday's north London derby draw was a belter for the neutral, but represented another two precious points dropped by Arsenal. After wins for Manchester United and Chelsea yesterday, the requirement is simple for Arsene Wenger's side: they either win against Bolton or their title-challenge is all but over. The odds are stacked in the Gunners favour, having won the last eight matches against a Wanderers side still reeling from their 5-0 drubbing by Stoke in the FA Cup semi-final. But Owen Coyle has in-form on-loan striker Daniel Sturridge available again and ready to strike a blow, not only for his temporary team but also for parent club Chelsea."
halkooheji on Twitter:
"I'm positive Bolton are gonna beat Arsenal at the Reebok today. Arsenal hate physical teams."
henrybenryo on Twitter:
"As a Gooner, I just want to forget the title race and see us play our game at its beautiful best. Entertainment please!"
1507: I want to hear what you lot think too, obviously. So, put your Easter eggs (or what's left of them) down, and step away from the chocolate.
I'm Chris Bevan,
and you can tweet me at
using the hashtag
please. Or feel free to text me via 81111 (UK) instead.
1504: Surely even Wenger will have to admit the game will be up if his side fail to take three points from Wanderers, though, which makes it a must-win for them in my book. But Bolton, still reeling from
last weekend's Wembley nightmare,
will want to make up for their no-show in their FA Cup semi-final with a big performance in front of their own fans. I've got a feeling we are in for an Easter treat this afternoon - a potential Reebok Classic, perhaps?
1501: Hmmmm. Should we assume that Arsene hasn't glanced at a league table for a while then? Arsenal might be on a 15-game unbeaten run in the Premier League, and leaders Manchester United might still have to come to the Emirates but there are, ahem, a couple of reasons why people have already been asking him to explain why Arsenal have failed this season. Firstly, the fact that, even if they beat Bolton (KO 1600 BST) today, the Gunners will still be six points behind United with four games to go... and also their run of only one win from their last five league games since they crashed out of Europe and the FA Cup, which has seen Chelsea move above them into second spot.
1456: "We are fighting for the championship and I am always sitting in a position where you force me to explain why we fail," a defiant Wenger
told the media in the aftermath of Wednesday's pulsating 3-3 draw with Tottenham.
"For me it's not a comfortable situation because we are fighting in a period where the most important thing is to have belief in what we do and you keep saying 'why have you failed to win?'. Let's just play for it first and have a go. If there has been somebody better we will have to accept that. But at the moment I don't accept that there is somebody better."
1452: So, is this the day that the door finally slams shut on Arsenal's title hopes... or the start of their extraordinary late surge for glory? I wonder what Gunners boss Arsene Wenger thinks...
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