Welcome to a new feature on Arsenal.com - Talking Heads.

Before and after every first-team fixture our MatchDay Show team - and an Arsenal blogger - will have their say on the match.

Arsenal take on Bolton Wanderers in the Carling Cup on Tuesday and our Talking Heads for this game were Dan Roebuck, Adrian Clarke and Tim Bostelle from 7am Kick-Off.

Read on for their post-match thoughts and recap what they said before the game.

Dan Roebuck - Arsenal Live

Arsenal did themselves proud on an enjoyable night at the Emirates. I suspected that Bolton might have the edge after packing their bench with first-team regulars and those fears grew when Muamba caught the home side napping. But you have to take your hat off to Arsenal for their response. The youngsters toughed it out but Andrey Arshavin provided the inspiration. He loves that free role behind the main striker and I wonder if he'll get another chance there soon. Ju Young Park was a good foil for Arshavin with his intelligent running and, although he found himself offside a few times, he was in the right place at the right time to convert the Russian's pass for the winner. Yossi Benayoun also impressed me while Nico Yennaris did not look out of place on his debut at right back.

As usual we'll get a mix of youth and experience in the Arsenal side tonight and I think they have a tough test on their hands against a Bolton side that will no doubt have the angry words of Owen Coyle ringing in their ears. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made the difference in the last round against Shrewsbury and it will be interesting to see whether the home side can pick up where they left off in that game because this group of players rarely play together. Chuks Aneke has been in fine form for the Reserves so I hope he gets some game time and Ju Young Park - so prolific for South Korea - is another one to watch. I've got a funny feeling we'll need extra time though - and maybe even penalties.

Adrian Clarke

Bolton made life difficult for Arsenal with a fully-committed Carling Cup display so I’m sure Arsène Wenger will feel extremely proud of his team’s victory. It was a decent performance too, and I was especially pleased to see Ju Young Park get off the mark with a wonderful curling finish that was a fitting reward for his movement and work-rate on the night. Another plus was the smooth return of Thomas Vermaelen who didn’t put a foot wrong but the star turn in my opinion was Andrey Arshavin. The Russian revelled in his role behind Park and was a constant menace with his vision and creativity. Many fans wondered if that position would suit Arshavin and I think we found out that the answer is yes.

The feel-good factor is slowing returning thanks to a decent run of results so it would be lovely if the sequence continued with a cup victory over Bolton Wanderers. Owen Coyle is unhappy with his own side’s form so whichever players he picks, I expect them to give a committed, whole-hearted performance in a bid to impress their boss. As for the Gunners I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Ju Young Park and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in action as they attempt to catch the manager’s eye. If they do perform well I can see both men being given more opportunities in the coming weeks. The need to win a trophy remains high so this is another big game for Arsenal and I can’t wait to see how it all pans out.


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I was hoping for gifts and I wasn't disappointed. Arshavin gave us the biggest present of all - played in his favourite position behind the striker, the Russia captain showed what he could do for Arsenal by scoring the equaliser and creating the winner. The next surprise was Park - his movement was breathtaking, not least when he finally scored. Dropping off the centre half like that into space, receiving the ball, and curling a shot past the keeper was striker gold. I almost hate to say this, but Park reminded me of Eduardo in the way he moved, his finishing, and in his awareness of where to be on the pitch to receive the final ball. Finally, credit is due to Arsenal's defence who might have looked shaky at times but did enough to keep the lead. Miquel was a surprise at left back and did well enough, Vermaelen was substituted but just as a precaution, and Fabianski made a crucial save to keep the tie in our favour. And so we progress to the next round where surely Arsène will unveil something new. Gotta love the League Cup for that, haven't you?

My favourite part of these early rounds of the League Cup is that team selections are like Christmas morning: I wake up and rush downstairs to shake my RSS feed for a clue. Getting no hints, I then sit around for a few unsatisfied hours wondering what could possibly be hidden inside such wonderful wrapping and waiting for the official word from Arsenal.com to tear into the presents. When the moment arrives all the presents are unwrapped at once and us kids all start chattering about how much we love our brand new (OK, like new) Vermaelen. Whomever Arsène lets us unwrap on Tuesday morning should be wary of a Bolton side looking for a way to get their season on track. On Sunday, Owen Coyle's boys heard a chorus of boos as Sunderland handed them their fourth consecutive home loss. And after the match Coyle and Gary Cahill both publicly chastised the team. Given that Bolton's best results so far this season have come away from the Reebok and with nowhere to go but up I expect them to give Arsenal a real fight. I can hardly wait.

* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source
26 Oct 2011