Actually strange things could happen in any case because we had a realistic chance of topping the Premiership by the end of the evening and few saw that coming at the end of November. Certainly I didn't. But it's a funny old game and the only thing that's certain in our league is that nothing is certain. So some intriguing questions: If Fabregas was tripped in their box again would he actually get a penalty tonight? Could Taylor miss that many sitters again? Would Eduardo start and bag two more assists? Could Kevin 'the thug' Davies or Gavin 'madman' McCann avoid cautions? Could I last 90 minutes without abusing the ref? But far more importantly could we win by two clear goals and go top?
Despite it being a funny old game things were still not so funny in the treatment room where Nasri, Ramsey, Djourou, van Persie, Gibbs, Bendtner, Merida, Wilshere & I believe Senderos all seemingly reside. With Eboue and Song still away in warmer climes we're not quite down to the bare bones, but we're getting there. One major worry for me, and I suspect Wenger, is that some of those in the starting squad for tonight's game were not 100% fit but in need of pitch time before our avalanche of upcoming tough fixtures. Denilson and Clichy joined the ranks and Eduardo started up front.
Ideally we would have gone four goals up in the first twenty minutes, coasted the remainder of the game and rested all those players who needed resting, but the Premiership is just not like that is it? Quite apart from which we never ever do things the easy way. Hence this report is coming to you in a horse whisper due to 90 plus minutes of screaming at the inept Alan Wiley (You're too fat to referee being chant of the night) not to mention Kevin the **** Davies and the other Bolton dirt bags such as McCann.
What was really amazing about tonight's match was that Alan Wiley is considered fit to be a referee. That Kevin Davies can dive a minimum of five times and get a free kick every single time and he can also shove someone every time he goes in for an aerial challenge and get away with every single one. Some slight exaggerations may occur in this report but I really don't care - scumbags are after all scumbags and a crap ref is a crap ref.
A crowd of just 59,084 saw this one with the entire thousand missing from the very scabbily supported Bolton section - I'd suggest they get no tickets next season if they stay up. Prior to kick off football showed it's support for the victims in Haiti with a minutes silence and a pound from every programme being donated by the Club to the disaster fund.
Arshavin down the line to Diaby to Ed to Diaby for a shot. An Arshavin dribble and shot. A flurry of aerial challenges inour box and the ball finished at Cahill's feet who scored. 0-1 to Bolton with their first attack on seven minutes. This was a slow start by our lads as Bolton closed fast and harried. Or whenever Cesc had the ball kicked him or wrestled him to the ground. Taylor almost in after Davies (K) beat Diaby in the air. An Almunia solo browned a few trousers but he was always in control (cough). Arshavin to Ed almost.
Denilson who looked rusty did win a few good balls. Cesc in on goal but the ball was saved at his feet. Great tackle by Arshavin, a fine run and set up to Eduardo who fired over. Cesc on fire with a great battling run down the left, a big handball appeal against the men in dark blue before Arshavin shot just wide. Arsenal were well on top as Knight conceded a corner. A handball by Gallas in their box showed the balance of our attacking play. Arshavin was upended and Cesc found Vermaelen who got in a header. Cesc fouled yet again but Wiley was in white stick mode. 'You're too fat to referee'. Arshavin given offside as we battered them. Denilson on a theatrical Lee won a penalty which looked pretty clear cut and a touch dumb to give away. Taylor made it 0-2 from the spot. 28 minutes gone and this is when our match started.
Muamba on Rosicky for a very obvious free kick but Wiley waited until Arshavin was clear on the left before bringing play back. What a ****! Steinsson attempted to remove Ed's legs - free kick no card. Rosicky hammered in the back - free kick no card. Eduardo fired it in but it hit Arshavin's legs. Mark Davies wrestled Denilson to the floor for a submission - free kick no card. Muamba hauled down Fabregas free kick - no card. Davies (K) with a clear dive but the ref has words with Vermaelen as the crowd scream abuse at the man in the Chelsea shirt. Cohen cleaned out Rosicky from behind - free kick no card. Fabregas charged through the inside right channel (a bit of nostalgia - ask your granddad) rode a foul or two and found Rosicky to his right. It looked like Tomas was forced wide but he unleashed a truly stunning shot that beat Jaaskelainen all ends up. 43 minutes gone, 1-2 game on. The two minutes added time were a total insult given that Taylor was goading the Arsenal fans for about three minutes following his penalty and Jaaskawhotsit was taking half an hour per goal kick. Lee hacked down Arshavin - free kick no card. Denilson shot wide. Half time and there was a lot of steam coming out of a lot of ears but we were back in the game.
Fabregas fouled by way of change. Eduardo flagged on the goal line but the ball was clearly not out. Fabregas tripped for the billionth time and Muamba was shocked to receive a yellow card. Vermaelen fouled - nothing. Muamba fouled Fabregas again - nothing. Diaby lost the ball then fouled Taylor. Their free kick sailed over the bar. Kevin Davies fouled Gallas yet again - no free kick. The leopard had failed to change it's spots so Arsenal were up and at them now.
Davies (M) attempted to foul Gallas in the build up and got trampled on. Davies down - **** him, play on and that's exactly what we did. More lightning play in a condensed area as Cesc skips his way through gaps that didn't exist and it was 2-2 to a delighted stadium. And oh how they whinged! Davies stayed down received treatment and kick off was delayed by about a week, the entire time being spent by whinging Notlobs ranting at the hapless Wiley. It some how made the goal even better.
McCann on for the injured Davies (M) and to a man the entire crowd wept. Cohen left his foot in against the Verminator but threw himself to the floor feigning injury. A great left foot shot by Cesc tipped over by Jaasa. Rosicky to Eduardo, great ball but miss-hit by Ed. Ed was called offside, I was right in line and considered it a rather a poor call by the lino, I may have said something to that effect at an enhanced decibel level, possibly using slightly different words. Fabregas was everywhere, including making a crucial tackle on the edge of our box. I think Fab is almost becoming a combined version of Vieira and Bergkamp. Diaby won a corner. Cesc took it and Vermaelen leapt to head home. 3-2 and tantalisingly close to our required two-goal win now. Davies shoved Sagna in the back but as usual Wiley might as well have been at Anfield for all the good he was doing. McCann for a yellow that could have been a red as he wiped out Arshavin from behind. What a dirtbag!
A foul by Davies not spotted - is he perhaps a member of Wiley's family? Diaby with a massive tackle. Cohen with a rubbish shot. McCann took out Gallas on the edge of their box - seriously worthy of a second yellow. The Fabregas free kick clattered the wall and Denilson's follow up shot was saved. Diaby was limping badly and replaced by the cool, calm and collected Craig Eastmond. More clever stuff from Arshavin. Lee replaced by Klasnic. Davies flattened Almunia and amazingly even Wiley spotted that one. Fabregas down in their box for the third time in two games and yet again failed to get a penalty awarded. A Bolton free kick headed over, we were well on top but the game was no way over. Taylor shot wide.
A fast and furious move with some rat-a-tat-tat passing ended with Arshavin who then juggled the ball in their box and fired home our fourth goal. 4-2 and top of the league. Cue the inevitable chant.
Clichy showed his fitness by chasing down the ball, winning it and being awarded a yellow card. Handball by McCann, not seen of course. Rosicky replaced by Vela. Six minutes added time as Arsenal went into piss-take passing mode before Vela shot into the side netting. Theo replaced Ed. Davies won another free kick with another dive. An Arshavin solo failed to find the net as we broke in a very fast move. He used Theo as a decoy rather than giving him the ball to score, which was a shame. 'Taylor, Taylor what's the score?' Another corner which found Denilson on a late run. 4-2 final score and a happy crowd headed home, or at least all those who had ignored the fire drill.
We've played one league game more than some now, including the Chavs, but it's still quite delightful to be looking down on the rest. Whether we fall off the giddy perch sooner or later matters not, so long as we stay in contention. We may be teetering at the top right now but what really matters is where we are at close of play on May 9th. What a bummer it must be for the Totts - now a massive 10 points behind London's top Club.