Bolton Wanderers 0 Arsenal 0

It was not the scoreline that Arsenal needed, but after three consecutive Premiership losses, a point in the stalemate at the Reebok represents improvement of sorts. But one Premiership point from the twelve available from their past four matches is form conducive to relegation and not form of a side with Champions League aspirations. Once again, it was the familiar scenario. The Gunners blitz the opposition, create a wealth of chances, but fail to take them only to suffer the consequences later. Here, later came in the shape of a penalty appeal, not upheld when Wojciech Szczesny challenged Mark Davies. The Poland stopper will be pleased that he kept a clean sheet, but when your side possesses the Premiership’s top scorer, not getting on the scoresheet is poor show.

Glaring miss

Not that Robin Van Persie didn’t try. We know how he can conjure up moments of magic that leave you spellbound, but having stuck the post and the bar, Arsene Wenger was to experience another night of frustration in the north. Theo Walcott will have to learn quickly that a goal every now and then is not the standard from a player who hopes to feature as an out and out striker. One glaring miss with only ‘keeper Adam Bogdan to beat, after being put in by Alex-Oxlade-Chamberlain’s excellent pass about summed up the frustration the England man felt, and he also failed to pounce late on after Van Persie conjured a lob from the edge of the area, which agonisingly came back off the bar.

Promise

The home side provided a threat of their own through David Ngog and Gretar Steinsson, but it was a desperate finish and finishing from the Gunners when the ball would just not go in. Some fine work from Bacary Sagna and Van Persie – who had earlier seen David Wheater clear his effort cleared off the line – could only find the post this time. Another game of power and promise, with a flashing 30 yard drive from Oxlade-Chamberlain wh once again showed that he was in the mood. But would see his effort just clear the bar. Walcott should watch and learn. It again showed the Gunners intent, but even the introduction of Thierry Henry with 20 minutes to go would not sway the match in favour of the Gunners.

After a four month absence, it was good to see Sagna on the right. He has been a sore miss, as has Kieran Gibbs and Andre Santos at left back. Alex Song continues his silent no nonsense midfield strong man duties, and he made the difference when called upon when the Wanderers started to wonder if they could assert themselves.

Waiting

Wenger remarked that Arsenal will have to face every game as a cup match from now on, and with injured players returning, the cause may be helped. Waiting has been Wenger’s worry,but when your squad is depleted, you cannot afford to wait, and not reinforcing in the January transfer window could come to rebound on Wenger. On this form, he and Arsenal could face the real prospect of a finish outside of the top four fore the first time in 15 years. And that would be nothing short of disaster.