Two under-strength teams will compete for a place in the Carling Cup fifth round at the Emirates Stadium this evening, with both Arsene Wenger and Owen Coyle shuffling their packs ahead of crucial Premier League fixtures at the weekend.
Arsenal’s squad for the game is shorn of the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Gervinho, Per Mertesacker, Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and Mikel Arteta, with Wenger looking ahead to the game against Chelsea on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Coyle has confirmed that the likes of Adam Bogdan, Gretar Steinsson, Ricardo Gardner, Mark Davies, Fabrice Muamba, Gael Kakuta, Tuncay and Ivan Klasnic are set to feature in north London, with the Trotters preparing for a trip to Swansea on Saturday.
Crucially, it is Arsenal who look to be least affected by the personnel changes, with Andrey Arshavin, Sebastien Squillaci, Emmanuel Frimpong, Yossi Benayoun, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Francis Coquelin, Ju Young Park and Lukasz Fabianski still in line to play.
They will also be boosted by the return of key defender Thomas Vermaelen, who has missed the last two months following surgery to an injured ankle.
And to this the fact that Arsenal boast home advantage and the Gunners are justifiably 1/2 favourites to win the match in normal time, with the draw priced at 13/4 and a Bolton victory at 5/1.
Arsenal have now won six games in a row at the Emirates, with a 3-0 win over Bolton included in this run.
Meanwhile, the Trotters have lost six of their last eight games, conceding 21 goals in the process.
However, Wenger’s decision to rest Van Persie means Arsenal’s margin of victory is unlikely to be as wide as it was when the two teams last meet, with the Gunners unlikely to be fully firing in front of goal given they are without their main attacking threat.
The Dutchman has scored six of Arsenal’s last 12 goals and illustrated his importance as Arsenal’s go-to man when he scored twice late on in Arsenal’s win against Stoke on Sunday having come off the bench.
Arsenal will still pose a threat going forward – not least from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, their in-form former Southampton youngster – but with likely front-man Park without an Arsenal goal to his name to date it is likely to be a low-scoring affair.
With this in mind, punters could consider having a flutter on Arsenal to win a game with fewer than 2.5 combined goals at 333/100, making a successful £25 free bet on the outcome worth £108.25.
The free bet is available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
And with Vermaelen back to bolster the Arsenal defence and Bolton only managing two goals in their last four matches, a home win to nil also looks tempting at 33/20.
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