Bolton Wanderers 0
- Fabregas 28,
- Fran Merida 78
Arsene Wenger brought back Cesc Fabregas into the heart of his midfield and gave Londoner Craig Eastmond his first full start for the Gunners. However, there was no place in the squad for Sol Campbell, who joined the club on a free transfer earlier in the week.
Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas produced an impressive display on his return from injury to spoil new Bolton manager Owen Coyle's 'homecoming' at the Reebok Stadium.
The Spain midfielder, who missed three matches with a hamstring injury, scored his 10th league goal of the season in the 28th minute after a neat one-two with Eduardo.
Fabregas had been quiet after the break but when he did take control again it set up the second goal 12 minutes from time.
His surging run into the penalty area allowed Eduardo to cross to the far post where Merida side-footed home.
That clincher was Mérida's first league goal. It is still unclear whether he will sign a new contract when the existing one expires in the summer. If Wenger is hopeful of his signature it will be because the player would be foolish to turn his back on Arsenal, even if there are doubts as to whether he can establish himself fully. Even experienced figures seem to feel a rising excitement.
Arsenal's victory moved them to within three points of league leaders Chelsea, and with these two teams due to meet again at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, Arsene Wenger's side could well take over at the top in the next few days.