Arsenal give goaless gift to Bolton as they fail to close the draw nearer to top four

Bolton 0 Arsenal 0

Arsenal missed the chance to close the gap on the Barclays Premier
League's top four after being held to a goalless draw which gave Bolton
another priceless point in their relegation battle.

The Gunners dominated proceedings at the Reebok Stadium with Robin van Persie twice being denied by the woodwork but they failed to take a number of other chances.

With Newcastle beating Blackburn it meant Arsene Wenger's side dropped to seventh in the table, while Wanderers, still just above the drop zone, edged two points ahead of Rovers.

Arsenal have now taken just one point from their last three away matches, although they marginally improved on their defeat at the Reebok last season.

After earning six points from a possible nine in January Owen Coyle's side are playing with confidence and recorded their first clean sheet in 12 league matches dating back to November.

That was partly down to Arsenal's failure to take advantage of their dominance, particularly early on, and partly to the frame of the goal in front of the travelling support.

The Reebok Stadium witnessed virtually one-way traffic in the first 20 minutes.

Arsenal's best chance was their first when Van Persie had his header cleared off the line by David Wheater in only the ninth minute.

The home side, so organised and determined in their last league outing on this ground when they deservedly beat Liverpool 3-1, struggled to get a foothold as their opponents made all the running.

Wheater again denied Van Persie, this time by blocking his shot, after Theo Walcott had shrugged off Sam Ricketts to cross before the Holland international turned provider for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain only for the youngster to blaze over from a good position.

Unusually Van Persie was wasteful after making some space on the edge of the penalty area and Adam Bogdan was relieved to see the ball sail over his crossbar.

From that point the Gunners' influence on the game began to wane and David Ngog should have made them pay by converting either of two good chances.

Having held off Laurent Koscielny his narrow-angle shot was parried away by Wojciech Szczesny but an even better chance went begging just after the mid-point of the half.

Wheater's knock-on left the Frenchman with only the goalkeeper to beat but although he achieved that his shot rolled past the far post.

Walcott had even more time with his chance after racing on to Oxlade-Chamberlain's through-ball but Bogdan did just enough to deflect the ball for a corner.

The second half began at a much more lively pace but again Arsenal gained the early upper hand with Mark Davies blocking Walcott's shot inside his own area.

Van Persie almost opened the scoring when his touch from Bacary Sagna's right-wing cross rebounded back off the near post while Koscielny headed wide the Dutchman's corner.

Aaron Ramsey was next to stab wide as Bolton continued to ride their luck inside their own penalty area.

Ngog almost got on the end of a Martin Petrov cross but was crowded out and it proved to be his last involvement as he was replaced by Kevin Davies.

With 10 minutes remaining Van Persie, for the second time in the half, was denied by the frame of the goal as his delicately-weighted chip had the beating of Bogdan but not the crossbar.

Szczesny's challenge on Mark Davies had the home crowd appealing for a penalty with a couple of minutes remaining but referee Chris Foy saw nothing wrong.

The midfielder also fired wide before the end as the hosts launched a last-gasp bid to snatch victory and it was they who left the field the happier after securing another point towards survival.

PA

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on