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William Gallas challenge angers Bolton boss Owen Coyle

Bolton were furious with the tackle on Mark Davies
Bolton boss Coyle felt that the tackle on Mark Davies was a red card offence

Bolton boss Owen Coyle claims Arsenal's William Gallas should have been sent off for a challenge that left Mark Davies with suspected ankle damage.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger apologised for the challenge that occurred in the build-up to his side's second goal in their 4-2 victory at the Emirates.

"It was closer to an assault than a tackle," said Coyle, whose side had been leading 2-1 at the time.

And Wenger said: "I am sorry if the tackle was not good and I apologise."

It is understood Gallas is unlikely to face any retrospective action from the Football Association.

France international Gallas appeared to catch Davies with a late tackle on the ankle in the 52nd minute.

However, Wiley deemed the challenge was legitimate and allowed play to continue, allowing Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas to level the scores at 2-2.

Davies, who was replaced by Gavin McCann in the 56th minute, later left the ground on crutches.

"There was no doubt it was a free-kick," stated Coyle. "It was a terrible foul and normally would have resulted in a red card.

Coyle incensed by Gallas challenge

"The referee is an honest man who will realise he has made a horrendous mistake.

"Arsenal carried on and scored and it puts fair play out of the window. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

"We got a lead deservedly but then we were put under pressure but I thought we deserved a point."

Bolton skipper Kevin Davies added: "I thought initially it looked a little bit naughty, there was no intention to play the ball and having seen it after the game it confirmed what I thought."

But, despite apologising for the challenge by Gallas, Wenger insisted his team were justified in continuing to play with Mark Davies out of action.

"To complain that we went on to play, I think that is unfair," said Wenger.

"The players did not even know what was happening behind them, whether the player has got up again or not.

"I don't believe you can kick the ball out every time a player is down when you win the ball. That is why they changed the rules.

"Remember against Everton, I did not think they should have kicked the ball out and it was a much more obvious situation because Denilson went down, they got the ball and might have gone 3-1 up.

Wenger responds to Coyle's criticism of Gallas

"I said after the game that it was OK."

However, Kevin Davies disagreed with Wenger's assessment.

"Maybe Arsenal could have put the ball out but we should have defended the situation better," commented the striker.

"I think Alan Wiley is a decent referee and will look at it after and be disappointed. I spoke to him about it and he said that he did not see it."

The match was the second in four days between the two teams after Arsenal won 2-0 at the Reebok Stadium on Sunday.

Wenger suggested that over the course of the two games his team had also been the victim of numerous fouls.

"Over the two games if you sit down and look at the tackles we got and the tackles we made I do not think that they are in a situation to complain about our play."

Goals from Gary Cahill and Matthew Taylor gave Bolton a 2-0 lead after 28 minutes but Arsenal pulled a goal back before half-time through Tomas Rosicky.

aHelloo My Name Is Vermaelen

And the Gunners took control after Fabregas scored the equaliser, with further goals from Thomas Vermaelen and Andrey Arshavin.

The victory took Arsenal to the top of the Premier League - with a superior number of goals scored to Chelsea - and Wenger praised the character of his players after they came from behind to win.

"It was a difficult night because Bolton played very well," added the Frenchman.

"We have a never-give-up attitude and a mental strength and quality as well. I feel that we will fight for every single point.

"I think that after we equalised there was only one team who would win the game but if Bolton play with that spirit they will remain in the Premier League."

Bolton remain in the bottom three and Coyle's first two games in charge have ended in defeat but he is confident they will improve.

"There is a lot to be pleased about but we know there is a lot to work on," stated Coyle.

"We were certainly deserving of points and at 3-2 I thought that we were the team in the ascendancy."

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Premier League results

20 Jan 2010 23:59 UK

Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 20 Jan 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Arsenal 22 34 48
2 Chelsea 21 34 48
3 Man Utd 22 30 47
4 Tottenham 22 18 38
5 Man City 21 12 38
6 Liverpool 22 14 37
7 Aston Villa 21 11 36
8 Birmingham 21 2 33
9 Fulham 21 2 27
10 Everton 21 -4 26
11 Stoke 21 -7 25
12 Blackburn 22 -16 24
13 Sunderland 21 -8 23
14 Wigan 20 -21 22
15 Burnley 21 -21 20
16 West Ham 21 -9 19
17 Wolves 21 -21 19
18 Hull 21 -22 19
19 Bolton 20 -14 18
20 Portsmouth 20 -14 14

see also
Arsenal 4-2 Bolton
20 Jan 10 |  Premier League
Wednesday football as it happened
20 Jan 10 |  Football
Wednesday's football photos
20 Jan 10 |  Football