Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Arsenal: Zzzzzzzzz

Today, we sit in seventh place after one of the most skull-fuckingly boring 0-0 draws in the history of this esteemed game. Honestly, this made me long for the days of scoreless Boxing Day draws away to Coventry City or Wimbledon back in the early and mid 1990s. Worse than the match itself however is the fact that this late in the season, the Champions League looks like the same kind of hopeless lottery-ticket dream that a fourth-tier side has away at Old Trafford in the third round of the FA Cup.

The lack of squad depth in many positions meant that, despite the fact that we just played on Sunday, there was no rotation in the squad. Bacary Sagna made a first start back from injury, but other than that it was essentially our starting XI.

We should have won this game. As dire as much of it was, the Gunners could have been 2-0 up and off to the races inside of 15 minutes. Whether it's tired legs or just the fact that everyone not named Robin van Persie is highly flawed in their finishing, we spurned chances that just about any other team in the league would have finished at least one of.

It's so frustrating.

Arsenal had the better of the opening exchanges, and started to pour it on from the 8th minute on. The first warning shot was a downward header from van Persie that had Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan (who looks to be taking Jussi Jaaskelanien's job) caught flat-footed. Sadly, David Wheater was there to hack it off the line with a minimum of fuss.

That wasn't the big chance, though. The next few minutes saw two glorious chances that should have been buried. A minute after RVP came close with that header, he turned provider and played in Aaron Ramsey with a killer diagonal ball. The Welshman beat the offside trap and was in alone, but he toe-poked a dismal, tepid effort straight at Bogdan.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had caused Bolton some problems by cutting into the middle from the flank, allowing overlaps from other midfielders or Thomas Vermaelen. The 12th minute saw this bear fruit again, as Mikael Arteta passed to the Ox in the middle. In turn, it was sprayed out left to the overlapping van Persie, drawing just about everyone in a white shirt in the stadium. He put it onto his right, and played a perfect dragback back to Ox in the penalty area. Unfortunately, he panicked and dragged his shot well wide.

For 78 further minutes, Arsenal vaguely probed around the edges of Bolton's penalty area, often populated by 9 Praetorian Guard members in white. I mean, I was stuck at work until almost 9 today, and had I known what awaited me on my DVR, I would have stayed later.

Bolton did hit back once every great while on the counter. Early on, a few long balls from Chris Eagles resulted in 50-50 battles that Laurent Koscielny badly lost to David N'Gog - luckily, the latter is extremely shit at football and couldn't do much with it. Wojceich Szczesny saved fairly well on one of them, but other than that the young custodian's contribution to the game was mainly shanking passes out of bounds and nearly getting the ball nicked off of him while trying a bit of Brazilian dribbling in his own penalty area.

Theo Walcott had our last chance of the match in the 26th, having been played in by the Ox. It's amazing, just having seen Ramsey try and fail to nutmeg Bogdan a while before, he tried the same exact thing with either corner of the goal gaping. How are we so goddamn bad at finishing? You'll be stunned to know that Bogdan got enough on it where it hit the inside of his leg and went out for a corner.

I am only partially being facetious when I say that I would expect at least 3 members of my Sunday night rec-league team to make better efforts at finishing in those spots than Walcott and Ramsey did...and that's just among the girls.

The second half was much like the first, minus most of the scoring chances. RVP was unfortunate to hit the post with a volley in the 61st, and his beautiful chip in the 80th had Bogdan beaten all ends up but hit crossbar instead of twine. The way this season has gone, would you have expected anything else.

Oh, and Szczesny absolutely fouled Mark Davies in the penalty area right at the end of normal time. How that wasn't a penalty, I have no idea - we really got out of jail there.

It's truly amazing - as much as Sunday's game enervated the Arsenal fanbase and made us believe we really could kick on, this effort has drained it all away. I hate to keep harping on it, but the fact that a club with our resources has a squad so threadbare that we have to play all the guys who played three days ago and we don't have anyone to come on and change the game is somewhere in the range between disgraceful and a dereliction of duty.

Riddle me this, Gooners. If we win the UEFA Cup next year, how stoked will you be about it? Even worse, if we manage to make a final and then Galatasaray it again, would that be even worse than anything that's happened this season?

Sigh. Just.................sigh.

The Modern Gooner Player Ratings:

Szczesny 6, Vermaelen 6, Koscielny 6, Mertesacker 6, Sagna 8, Oxlade-Chamberlain 7 (Henry 6), Song 6, Arteta 6, Ramsey 6 (Rosicky N/A), Walcott 6, van Persie 7

Man of the Match: He faded a little at the end, but Bacary Sagna made a welcome return to the first team with a storming performance on both sides of the ball. He was the lone bright spot on the day.