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Gunners reach the summit

ARSENAL (4) vs. BOLTON WANDERERS (2)

ARSENE WENGER’S young Arsenal side showed the character of champions as they clawed their way back from two goals down to hit the Premier League summit.

Gary Cahill and a Matthew Taylor penalty fired the visitors into a shock 2-0 lead inside the opening 28 minutes to leave the Gunners in disarray.

But Wenger’s men weren’t to be denied and comeback strikes from Tomas Rosicky, Cesc Fabregas, Thomas Vermaelen and Andriy Arshavin handed them the two-goal advantage needed to leapfrog Chelsea at the top of the table on goal difference.

It was a show of mental strength to delight boss Wenger, who is backing his men to take the title race all the way. “Chelsea have a game in hand, but it is good,” he said. “We had two difficult games against Bolton with a new manager, two cup games almost, and our mental and physical strength was tested again tonight.

“We are certainly much more physically resistant. Physically, you are never better tested than against Bolton.”

Wenger also moved to defuse a row over William Gallas’ controversial tackle in the build-up to Fabregas’s goal, which left Bolton’s Mark Davies with a suspected broken ankle.

New Trotters boss Owen Coyle insisted it was “closer to an assault than a tackle,” but Wenger replied: “I am sorry if it is a foul, but it didn’t look dirty from outside.”

Cahill gave the visitors a dream start when volleying home from Kevin Davies’ flick-on before fit-again Denilson hauled down Chung-Yong Lee in the box on the half-hour and Taylor made no mistake from the spot.

Bolton’s plan to close down Arsenal seemed to be working until Rosicky halved the arrears with a neat 18-yard effort just before the break, breathing fresh new life into the hosts.

Within seven minutes of the restart, Fabregas controversially pulled the Gunners level, despite furious Bolton protests, before Vermaelen fired the Gunners in front with a half-volley.

Then, with five minutes left, Arshavin slotted home the fourth to take the Gunners to the top of the pile.
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