The way I see it - Arsenal v Bolton Wanderers

Last updated : 05 January 2010 By Jason Hogan

Cast your minds back to the end of November when we were given a walloping by the Phoney Russian Franchise. Back then we were considered to be destitute with not enough character, strength and resilience to win a game of tiddlywinks never mind the Premier League.

But (with the exception of Man City away in the Carling Cup) a nightmare November gave way to a Delightful December on the domestic front. We beat Stoke and came from behind to beat Liverpool at Anfield. The only blemish we suffered was at Turf Moor when were held to a draw by Burnley. Redemption came against both Hull and Villa at The Grove and that was followed up by an equally convincing and heart- warming win at Fratton Park.

We started the New Year with a cup tie at Upton Park and to be fair I did have mixed feelings about it. I was fairly confident given our recent record leading up to the game but I wasn't over confident because as Man United can testify this WAS the Third Round of the Cup and anything could happen(God, I enjoyed saying that).

From our point of view, the game was fairly muddled in the first half. Our passing was terrible. Our conviction, as a team, was even worse. At half time we went in 1-0 down and to be fair I wouldn't have been amused even if we had gone in all square.

I said to myself half jokingly that Wenger needed to get the hairdryer out because make no mistake, we were in danger of going out at the first hurdle just like that lot from the Old Toilet.

We toiled up until the midway point of the second half. Messrs. Wilshire and Merida were on the periphery of the game to put it mildly .They were book given the hook by the boss and not before time, on came Diaby and Nasri

With 20 minutes to go the Hammers were involuntarily pushed further and further back and eight minutes later we were level. Vela tried a one-two on the edge of the box but in the confusion of crowded penalty area the ball broke loose to Ramsey who seized on to it and wasted no time in drilling in a left foot shot.

Whilst the pendulum was swinging towards Arsenal, momentum was severely in our favour. Diaby, who was the instigator of the rescue mission, was actually off the pitch being tended to when Vela swung over a cross and Eduardo met it with a looping header that caught Robert Green by surprise and nestled in to the top corner of the net despite Green getting a hand to it.

The comeback was complete and victory duly followed. But why, pray tell, am I droning on, recounting recent history I hear you ask? Well, it's quite simple really. We were supposed to be mentally crippled after the fiasco against the PRF, right? Well including Sunday's win at Upton Park I make it seven games without defeat and of that seven game unbeaten run we have won six. If that doesn't show character, I would love to see what does. And not for the first time we have come from behind away from home to win a game. If that doesn't show grit and determination what does? Other teams are credited with such things all when they have actually done a lot less. So, given our run and the manner in which we have achieved it, why the hell shouldn't I say such things about my club?

I know how things work. People do not use these words (grit, determination, etc)to define Arsenal. They use obtuse, lazy and warped stereotypes instead. But whilst I will accept the humdrum, unimaginative and woefully unoriginal sound bites given off by the press when we win, I am not going to sit here and devalue or understate a victory. And I certainly will not sweep those aforementioned characteristics under the carpet like the press do not when it means a lot to me. Because this win (at Upton Park) was important not just for qualification to the next round, it is massive for keeping momentum going.

Which brings me nicely on to our league game at The Grove where we will entertain Bolton.

When it comes to management I had no compunction when Mark Hughes was sacked by City but when you see the press but seizing on to a guy like Megson, stoking the fire and effectively egging on his knockers, you cannot help but feel sympathy for him. In effect, Megson was in a kangaroo court facing a trumped up charge and he never stood a chance of beating it.

Fat Sam's shoes always took a little filling I grant you but I think Bolton's fans were spoiled by Allardyce's relative success and Megson was always going to be unfairly compared to him.

The word is that Bolton old boy Owen Coyle is mulling over whether to become Megson's replacement. Well, it will be good for Bolton I suppose to get in one of their own but how it would go down with Burnley I really don't know.

The cup win over Lincoln was their first in eight matches and with Coyle possibly joining, the Trotters potentially have the chance to make a fresh start. And you never quite know what effect a new manager has on a side.

Ivan Klasnic is a chap we will have to watch. The highest compliment I can pay him is to say that he has made the kind of impact on loan from Nantes that Elmander, all £11 million of him, was supposed to have made. He has been prolific since his arrival and he scores all kinds of goals.

We will also have to contend with the irksome Kevin Davies and watch out for Tamir Cohen raiding from midfield.

I know we must be aware of the new manager coming in and how it gives an extra 20% to a side. But Arsenal's eyes must be focussed on the prize at the end of all this. Who would have thought that we could go above ManUre and right up the jacksies of the PRF. What that would mean in the wider world we will never know but it's a heck of an incentive.

Let's see if the lads are prepared to go out and take it. Come on you Gunners!!