In the past two seasons, Bolton have beaten Arsenal on three occasions. During season 2005/6, Sam Allardyce steered the Wanderers to a 2-0 league success and a 1-0 FA Cup win over the Gunners. Last year, it was more of the same, with the Trotters storming to a 3-1 win in November. It was clear that Bolton’s direct and physical style of play caused problems for Arsene Wenger’s team.
Perhaps it was therefore no surprise to see Allardyce’s new club Newcastle bring a halt to Arsenal’s winning run on Wednesday evening. The Magpies were full value for their point in a 1-1 draw, although their style of play reminded Wenger of a certain Lancashire team.
He said: “It was exactly the same type of organisation and the same type of play, very direct, very committed and in a 4-3-3.
“You could feel before the game there was a crisis. I anticipated a different game because you could see that no matter if there were differences within the club, it looked like they had made a real union to win this game and fight.”
Perhaps the Newcastle players should have considered making ‘a real union’ long before the month of December. At least this result will take the supposed heat off their manager, who has barely been given any time or patience from the fans to turn things around at St James’ Park.