Arsenal visit Reebok Stadium on Sunday knowing anything less than a win against Bolton would all but end their Premier League title hopes.Arsene Wenger’s men have let too many points slip in the second half of the season, and in their most recent game they were held to a 1-1 draw against Liverpool at the Emirates – a result that saw them fall to third place on the table, six points behind leaders Manchester United.
Aside from that performance, they have been held to draws at home this year by Blackburn (0-0), Sunderland (0-0), Newcastle (4-4) and Manchester City (0-0).
Although they are unbeaten in the league so far in 2011, draws have been the thorn in Wenger’s side – with five from their last six games.
Owen Coyle’s Bolton side enter Sunday’s clash with little to play for, sitting comfortably in mid-table but with a Europa League berth well out of reach.
They will, however, be eager to eradicate the memory of their dismal showing in Sunday’s 5-0 FA Cup semi-final loss to Stoke at Wembley.
In their only other encounter this season, Arsenal cruised to a 4-1 win at the Emirates on September 11 in a match that saw Bolton defender Gary Cahill dismissed just after the hour mark for a crude challenge on Marouane Chamakh.
Wenger’s squad is remarkably healthy for this time of the season, with only long-term casualties Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) and goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (shoulder) certain to miss out.
Coyle has a few more problems from the treatment room to concern him, with impressive midfielder Stuart Holden ruled out for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury and full-back Samuel Ricketts also unavailable.