Bolton 0-0 Arsenal: Gunners at sixes and sevens
Published 22:08 01/02/12 By David Anderson
Never mind the Champions League, Arsenal cannot even be sure of a place in the Europa League on this form.
Their failure to beat Bolton, as they had done seven times in their previous nine league meetings, means their miserable start to 2012 continues.
The misfiring Gunners have still to win in the Premier League this year and they have picked up just five points from their last six games.
Any wonder they have slipped to SEVENTH in table and they are now five points adrift of a top-four place - the minimum requirement for Arsene Wenger and Gooners fans from any season.
Their proud record of having played in the Champions League for the last 14 consecutive seasons is under grave threat.
Today is Groundhog Day and like Bill Murray, Arsenal are being made to live the same day over and over again.
Yet again, they played their pretty football and created chances, but could not turn them into goals or wins.
It might even have been worse and Wojciech Szczesny got away with a challenge on Mark Davies, which could have been adjudged a penalty.
They will feel they deserved that little bit of luck after Robin van Persie twice hit the woodwork.
Bolton were worth a draw, which maintains their revival, and Owen Coyle's men are two points clear of the drop zone and breathing a little easier.
Arsenal began determined to avoid clocking up a fourth consecutive league defeat, which would have been the worst run of Wenger's reign, and twice went close early on.
Van Persie showed great vision to play Aaron Ramsey in through the middle with a defence-splitting pass, only for the stretching Welshman to hit his shot straight at Adam Bogdan.
The Dutch star then cut inside from the left and teed up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the youngster slipped, hitting his shot wide.
Bolton stirred and David Ngog twice went close and he was denied by Szczesny before he poked a second effort just wide, courtesy of David Wheater's delightful backheel.
Arsenal fluffed a gilt-edged chance when Oxlade-Chamberlain played Theo Walcott clean through and the England forward's shot was touched wide by Bogdan.
It was a good stop by Bogdan, but Walcott's miss will only have given ammunition to his critics, who claim he isn't a good finisher.
Once again Arsenal's insistence in being over-elaborate in their play nearly cost them and Szczesny went close to giving the ball away to Ngog as he tried to play it out short.
Just like on Sunday against Aston Villa, the penny seemed to drop and they suddenly stepped it up a notch, going close three times in quick succession.
Van Persie directed Bacary Sagna's inviting right-wing cross against the near post with his right boot from five yards out just after the hour mark before Bogdan did well to touch a stinging drive from Oxlade-Chamberlain over the top.
Then Vermaelen headed over from van Persie's cross in another threat to Bogdan's goal.
Van Persie did everything he could to score and he was denied by the woodwork again when his deft chip came off the top of the bar 11 minutes from time.
Bolton finished the stronger and Davies was denied by Szczesny, legitimately or otherwise, three minutes from time as he bore down on the Arsenal goal.