Arsenal 3 Bolton Wanderers 0

It was a vital win, and Robin Van Persie’s 100th strike for the Gunners saw Arsene Wenger smile after achieving his second Premiership win of the season. The Holland striker’s 99th goal eased the worries early into the second half with his landmark strike on 71 minutes. Just to add gloss to the performance, Alex Song netted his first goal of what has been a stop start Premiership season for him, and we also saw that rare commodity a clean sheet too. But this is Arsenal, and amid all the joy, came some pain in the form of Theo Walcott limping off near the end with what appears to be a hamstring injury, and no doubt another spell on the sidle-lines.

Clean sheet

Bolton were reduced to ten men after David Wheater impeded Walcott as he raced through, but Arsenal were already in the ascendency at that stage. Van Persie will rightly get all the headlines, but mention must be made of an Arsenal defence who have been under much pressure having shipped in a massive 14 goals in their opening five Premiership games. Per Mertersacker, is getting to grips with the unique demands of the Premiership, with Laurent Koscielny, Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs also happy to put in a shift. However Wojciech Szczesny proved to be the rock at the back and one which showed all his worth with a brilliant one handed save from Darren Prately, with the scores 0-0.

Drilling

Comfortable going forward, Arsenal did not get the rewards their football deserved as Bolton held on with some fine defending from Wheater and some fine goalkeeping from Jussi Jaaskelainen. Gary Cahill was not in the starting line up, but after Gervinho misplaced a fine chance when clear from Mikel Arteta’s pass and Van Persie curled just wide, with Walcott drilling wide, the visitors were to ensure that the half was to finish goalless.

Arsenal relief

Forty seconds after the restart, the Gunners took the lead. Referee Mark Clattenberg played the advantage after Gretar Steinsson impeded Gervinho, and after a clever exchange with Aaron Ramsey, Van Persie beat Jaaskelainen at his near post. The relief at the Emirates was palpable, and the mood now considerably upbeat as Arsenal re-discovered their belief. Bolton had Jaaskelainen to thank for some further saves and then Szczesny denied Chris Eagles as ten man Bolton pushed for the leveller.

Song curler

Van Persie went close and we wondered if he would reach his Arsenal landmark strike. He was to achieve just that rifling in from Walcott’s cross. The England marksman then really should have got on the score sheet when one on one with Jaaskelainen, but it was left to Song to curl in the Arsenal third in the 89th minute from Sagna’s strong surge forward and cross. England manager Fabio Capello saw Walcott have a fine game, but had left when the Gunners 14 got injured. Both Wenger and Capello will now have to wait for the return a key player, but the win will instil confidence, and after his Carling Cup exploits, perhaps now Alex Oxlade Chamberlain will come in to show more of what he is worth