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 took on Bolton Wanderers in the Premier League on Saturday and our Talking Heads for this game were Dan Roebuck, former Gunner Stephen Hughes and Tim from Arse2Mouse.

Read on for their pre-match thoughts and come back later for their post-match comments.

Dan Roebuck - Arsenal Live

That was more like it. I called for the 'real Arsenal' to stand up on Saturday and they did just that in the second half against Bolton. OK, the red card gave them space in which to flourish and Van Persie's first goal settled the nerves that were evident before the break but it was good to Arsenal knocking the ball about with verve and imagination. Szczesny deserves a mention for a stunning early save - conceding them would really have tested the character of Wenger's side - and Koscielny and Mertesacker dealt well with Kevin Davies. Alex Song was probably the man of the match and Theo Walcott, despite missing some glorious chances, looked lively. Long may it continue.

Arsène Wenger's side have done well in the cups so far but it's time for the real Arsenal to stand up in the Premier League. I'd have rather been on a Mediterranean beach than on the Old Trafford pitch last month but that humbling is well and truly in the past now and, although Blackburn exposed a few defensive frailties at Ewood Park, Arsène Wenger's side were very accomplished going forward and should have won the game. They started like a train last weekend and if they can dig deep in defensive areas I can see them picking up three points against Bolton this Saturday.

Stephen Hughes

I expected it to be a difficult game and it certainly looked that way in the first half. Szczesny had to be very sharp to make that early save and I thought Bolton closed Arsenal down well before half time with Muamba keeping Ramsey very quiet. But it all changed after the break - Van Persie's opener settled Arsenal's nerves, Wheater's sending off saw Muamba sacrified by Owen Coyle and that freed up Ramsey to pick his passes more and more. It ended 3-0 but it could easily have been five or six. It was good to hear Arsène Wenger's name being sung at the end - hopefully this is the result that sees Arsenal turn the corner.

This will be a very difficult game. Bolton are a good side and they had a good win in midweek in the League Cup. They play a bit more football now Owen Coyle is in charge, they like to get the ball down and I like their new signing Chris Eagles, while Kevin Davies is a perennial threat. As for Arsenal. it's hugely important to get a bit of confidence and you only get that by winning games. The back four will improve and understand each other more with every game they play - the likes of Mertesacker and Santos are still settling in - but they have got to learn quickly. Points are a must now and Arsenal will need to work hard without the ball to keep Bolton at arm's length this weekend.


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Three points, three goals and a clean sheet was just what the doctor ordered. And by ‘doctor’ I mean ‘depression counsellor’! It was the proverbial game of two halves I suppose. After watching the first I wasn’t sure we’d ever score again, but in the second it’s fair to say we could have had five but for some shonky finishing from Theo. The real story, though, is of course RVP notching his 100th goal. I said he’s looked isolated recently, but there’s no doubting his weapons-grade talent or his love for the Arsenal. He’s currently our most important player by a distance in my opinion and it's vital to get his signature on that all-important contract extension.

I probably feel as much trepidation as excitement going into league games these days. Being an Arsenal supporter on this current run is what I imagine being married to a Victorian hysteric was like: of course you still love the old girl, but you just hope that when you invite her down from the attic twice weekly she doesn’t flip out and smash the good china. Saturday sees us re-acquainted with another supposed summer centre back target, so let’s hope we don’t gift Cahill any good fortune. Formation-wise, I’d love to see RVP playing off either Chamakh or Park, as the skipper has looked isolated at times. Reports of Owen Coyle gussying up Bolton’s style have proved to be, well…  nonsense - so I expect this to be another bruising 90 minutes. Just don’t call it a six-pointer.

* 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 Sep 2011