Robin van Persie nets 99th & 100th goals for club before late Song strike against 10-man visitors
Gunners come out on top as fruitless first half performance is followed up by rampant second half in which Dutch goalscorer and Theo Walcott shone
Robin Van Persie scored his 100th goal for the club, as his well-taken second half brace settled affairs, with David Wheater’s red card proving a decisive moment.
The result brings the Gunners a much-needed clean sheet, but stretches Owen Coyle’s Premier League winless streak to five games.
With less than two minutes on the clock, Arsenal’s rearguard stability was already being questioned, with Wojciech Szczesny clawing away a smartly executed volley from Darren Pratley just inside the Gunners’ area.
The shock seemed to startle the home side into life yet, though they were on the front foot, Bolton’s two compact banks of four made it difficult for the hosts to craft genuinely threatening opportunities.
Chances were few and far between in a game that became characterised by both teams’ inability to really stamp their authority in the middle of the park and proceedings developed into a war of attrition.
On the stroke of half-time David Wheater did brilliantly to deny Van Persie after some smart work down the left by Theo Walcott before the pacy winger then went close himself with a curling effort after cutting in from the flank that was wide by a whisker.
It took moments for Arsenal to find the breakthrough after re-emerging after the break. Aaron Ramsay fed the ball into Van Persie on the edge of the box and after going the long way round the Dutchman lashed his left footed effort into the near post giving Jaaskelainen no chance.
Bolton’s task was made all the harder ten minutes on, as David Wheater was shown a red card for hauling back Walcott when through on goal, though the Gunners livewire made the most of the minimal contact.
From there on in it was largely one way traffic as Arsenal peppered Bolton’s goal with efforts.
Jaaskelainen made a great double save to deny Van Persie before reacting brilliantly to once again deny the goalscorer as the home side’s captain powered a goalbound header after the ball was stood up at the far post by Walcott.
Arsenal’s lively duo were not to be denied in the 71st minute though, when Walcott fired a low cross in from the right touchline that Van Persie merely had to apply the finishing touch to to double his side’s lead.
Walcott should have done better when through on goal with just Jaaskelainen to beat but Alex Song put the icing on the cake, scoring Arsenal’s third with a well taken right footed effort from just inside the box as the home side coasted to victory.