I’m feeling a little smug sitting on top of the league. Can we stay there?

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Well it does feel good sitting on the top of the pile does it not? You could not have written a better script for this could you? 11 points behind a month ago and playing 4 teams all in the top 5 in the next month to stay in front, wow!

Well it simple, win them and the title’s ours, don’t win them and who knows, but if we beat them we will put daylight in there, this is so close we can touch it, we have held it together well, we have learned to scrap and that game against Bolton showed that in spades.

We have a few stars in the making in Craig Eastmond and Aaron Ramsey and we have a few that are not improving, and we know who they are, don’t we?

However, we have lost our ability to hold the ball up, knock the ball down and win headers from corners, crosses and free kicks.

Arsene, we can win the league, for the first time since 2004 we actually look like we can win the league, if we signed a world class striker, we would win the league.

I like Edin Dzeko, I would go and get him, but you must know plenty of others that could do the job, even an Adriano would do it, we are that close it would be such a shame to lose out.

The Chavs have lost their big guns, the Mancs are short of centre backs, Liverpool are all over the shop and Villa aren’t good enough, we will never have a better chance, this is it.

Please get the cheque book out and seal the deal for us, let’s not have another season of near misses.

I think signing Sol was a good move, though I still think we need a strong tall centre back, the summer is fine though, we can wait.

I still think we need a keeper, but I also believe Fabianski can do that job, when Robin gets back we’ll be okay but only until he gets injured again and Bendtner isn’t ready for the number one role yet, but I do like him, however I think you know we need one but are reluctant to buy.

I really got excited by the silly Dzeko rumours yesterday, but I knew deep down they weren’t true.

Anyway, we are top of the league and that I’m going to enjoy until we aren’t. Hey who knows, we may well stay there until the end, that would be good wouldn’t it!

Have a great day Grovers, tomorrow we get into FA Cup mode!

P.S. If you get the chance, check out resident Grover, Suga3′s new site ArseGunn and get on over to Wrighty7 to read his thoughts on Cesc v Stevie G!

Geoff

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A good old fashioned Gallic challenge! / Midfielder on the cards

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ALmunia
Sagna   Gallas   Verm   Clichy
Fabregas   Denilson   Diaby
Rosicky   Eduardo   Arshavin

Before the game, a minutes silence was held for the victims of the Haitian disaster. Impeccably observed.

Diaby and Arshavin tested Jussi early on with relatively meek shots.

Clichy caused an upset when he hoofed a clearance as far as the edge of the box, Davies manager to get on the end of it, Cahill slotted it home. What a disappointing start and a disappointing return to action for Gael.

Fabregas nearly beat the keeper from a tight angle. Soon after Diaby lost the ball from a weak pass to Arshavin, he ran the length of the pitch, retrieved it, looked up and played a dream pass to Eduardo who was unlucky not to score. Way to recover Abou!

Arshavin went close again after picking up a deflected Diaby pass. Arsenal were getting closer but had to improve their finishing.

Diaby made a sloppy foul on the edge of the box. Almunia did well to get down to Taylors freekick.

Arsenal conceded a corner, Sagna clears to the 18 yard box, Chung picks up the ball and Denilson clattered him. Very poor defending. Almunia couldn’t keep the penalty out despite going the right way and getting an arm to it.

Up the other end, Fab faked a shot, laid off Eddy, but he couldn’t get it past the Finnish keeper. Arsenal continued to press for a goal, something you felt they needed in the first half if they were to nick a win and sure enough it came. Rosicky ran at the Bolton defence, cut the ball outside his marker and smashed supremely inside the near post! The vital goal we needed…

The next half was a pivotal moment in our season. Heading into the nastiest patch of games in a long time, we’d need all the confidence we could muster. Nothing but a win would do. We had to meet the challenge if we were to keep up with our top 3 enemies.

There were many nervous Grovers, I had to remind them of the inspirational Malians who with 11 minutes to spare, scored 4 to level the game. If they could do it, we could… I was hoping the below video was Arsene Wenger’s team talk…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZ2HcRl4wSk&hl=en]

With the half time grovetalk done, we were set to go!

Bolton had the first chance of the half when Diaby fouled and gave Matt Taylor another crack at our goal.

The next key moment came when Gallas stepped on the ankle of mark Davies, won the ball, laid it off to Arshavin who lost the ball, it bobbled to Fabregas who slotted it between the legs of the keeper! GEEEEETTTTT IN!

Did I feel for Davies? Yes. Did I feel for Bolton? Not a bloody chance. I’ve put up with 10 years of their bully boy tactics, it was great to see them lose out because of a bad challenge. Just desserts I believe they call it in the restaurant trade?

Arsenal continued to pressure Bolton, Eddy going close, Cesc still pressurising and pulling strings like a red bull induced banjo player.

Then the break through came. Bolton failed to clear a corner, Vermaelen let it run past him then power sliced it in! What a great goal, the £10million man scored the most important goal of his career! We were back in it! We did it!

Well, maybe not…

Davies was continuing to menace our defence. The white Drogba was cushioning down headers whenever a high ball flew his way. We were going to have to up our game if we wanted to keep the score the same.

Fabregas had a shout for a penalty and although by the letter of the law it was a foul, there was no way he was controlling the ball.

Diaby picked up an injury, which meant Eastmond entered the game. The injury crisis had entered code red status. If Wenger doesn’t think it’s a good idea to sign a player now, he’s lost his marbles. Heading into the nasty period with just Eastmond and Denilson in the for defensive cover would be suicidal. Get on the blower Arsene and get Behrami in.

Clichy did his best to relive his first half calamity by clearing high to 3 Bolton players in the 6 yard box. Klasnic went close with a rasping shot. Why he didn’t start is beyond me.

Arsenal finished the game off when Cesc played to Eddy, who flicked to Arshavin who took the ball away from goal and smashed it into the net. A superb goal!

Arsenal played out the remainder of the game on top. The 4th official flashed up 6 minutes of injury time, a number I wouldn’t have felt comfortable with had we only been one up!

The whistle blew, we were top of the league!

Arsenal didn’t just beat Bolton, we battered them. Our team of missing spine has turned into a team of tough tackling beasts who are prepared to rough it. We showed superb character to come back from two down, a Grove first. We never gave up and proved to the world we are in this for the long run. The first half wasn’t the best, but we still created. The second half was the most jealous I’ve been in a while as I wasn’t in attendance!

Make no bones about it, that was the most important result of the season. We head into the nasty period high brimming with confidence, in form and in contention.

Life couldn’t be better, actually it could, Spurs lost as well!

Ratings

Almunia: Claimed his crosses quite well, had no chance for the goals. Reasonably quiet game considering the score line. Made a superb save from Matt Taylors freekick. No chance with the goals despite what some will tell you. Penalties are luck of the draw, the second one, well, if he’d dived, it’d have been a guess, stand tall was his only option. 7

Clichy: A very shaky return to the game. I know Traore had a shocker in the last match, but nothing compared to the mare Gael had. He was responsible for the first goal and he nearly replicated the mistake later. I’ll put it down to rust… not a seasons worth of poor form continued. 5

Sagna: A solid game, poor and unnecessary crossing. Especially against the height of Bolton. 7

Gallas: Had a torrid time dealing with Kevin Davies aerial threat. Hardly won a header. Good solid tackle from him on the Bolton player… when you both go in 100%, injuries can happen. Bolton need to stop being girls about it and man up. British fairies, we need more French players in the Premiership. Jokes aside, it was an accident, no one died. Like Wenger said, lets put a video together of the tackles from both games and see whose were worse. Actually, how about a video montage of the last ten years? It’s amazing the disgust evident amongst commentators when an Arsenal player makes a poor challenge. 7

Vermaelen: Scored the most important goal of his Arsenal career with a super strike. Struggled in the air today, but I guess if Bolton do anything well, it’s winning high balls. 7

Cesc: The best centre midfielder in the world at the moment, without doubt. Ran the show today, picked us up when were down and lead by example. Superb. 9

Denilson: Sloppy, sloppy penalty to concede. His game did pick up after that but it was still littered with basic errors. He is fresh back in the team and it will take a while to get back, I just worry how badly he’ll get punished by the top teams if he continues to stutter in the coming weeks. I’m yet to be convinced by this man, but there’s always time for a flump. 5.5

Diaby: I thought he was having a superb game. He’s beginning to add defensive responsibility to his game and he is continuing to use his giant frame to his advantage. I’m gutted he’s picked up an injury, especially as we know that’ll be him out for at least a month if his track record is anything to go by. Also had an assist. 8

Arshavin: As we don’t have a target man, we have to make sure the passing is intricate and difficult to deal with up top. Tonight, he helped that process along and finally got himself on the score sheet (plus an assist). A good game, though I feel we should possibly be seeing more of his brilliance on a regular basis. 7.5

Eduardo: Again, he’s never going to win the physical battles but he has a faster brain than most. His passing was good tonight and he carved himself out a number of chances which I can assure you will begin to drop in during the coming weeks. Another assist for the Crozillian. 7.5

Rosicky: I’m falling back in love with this mans skills. He opens up teams with his vision, superior movement and quick turn of pace. He scored a lovely goal today and helped keep things ticking over up front. He’s a trier as well, which makes him doubly important for us. 8