Arsenal's title bid in tatters after Bolton defeat

LONDON, April 24, 2011 (AFP) - Arsenal blew their last chance to get back in the Premier League title race as the Gunners were beaten 2-1 at Bolton on Sunday.

Arsene Wenger's side needed a victory at the Reebok Stadium to have any chance of catching Manchester United, but Daniel Sturridge put Bolton ahead and Tamir Cohen headed a last minute winner after Robin van Persie's equaliser.

AFP - Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger reacts after the final whistle of the game

Arsenal's first defeat in 17 league games leaves them nine points behind leaders United with only four games to play and their hopes of a first trophy since 2005 are over for another year.

Once again Arsenal were punished for their defensive frailties as Sturridge put Bolton ahead in the 38th minute.

Gary Cahill out-jumped Gael Clichy to head goalwards from a corner and the ball may have crossed the line before Samir Nasri cleared, but Sturridge was on hand to head home for his seventh goal since joining on loan from Chelsea.

Bolton should have increased their lead straight after half-time when Sturridge won a penalty with a theatrical fall after minimal contact from Johan Djourou.

But Kevin Davies's tame spot-kick was saved by Wojciech Szczesny and Arsenal equalised two mintues later as Van Persie fired in from the edge of the penalty area.

In the process Van Persie set a new Premier League record as the Dutch forward has now scored in seven successive away games.

Yet Arsenal wasted a host of chances to take the lead and Bolton took advantage when Cohen got in front of Djourou to power a header past Szczesny in the 90th minute.

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