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Marc Bola returned to face Arsenal with Blackpool last Wednesday, after leaving the Gunners over the summer, and he’s admitted that he was delighted to get a chance to play at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal overcame Blackpool in a 2-1 victory that ended up being closer than expected, after a red card to Matteo Guendouzi brought the away side back into the game. Despite the defeat, Bola still feels the trip was ultimately a positive experience, as the team gave a good account of themselves.
“It felt a bit like training because I’ve known these boys for so long,” Bola explained. “It was just good to get out there at my dream club. It was a good experience for me. We hung in the game and we were applying pressure, so I think they had to make changes. We did really well and we’re pleased with ourselves.
“It was a good experience for all the boys and I’m just proud to have been on the pitch to play against my old club.”
Bola is a left-back who grew up supporting Arsenal and joined the academy when he was 13. He remained at the club until he was 20, going on a couple of loans to Nott County and Bristol Rovers, but eventually had to move on after the Gunners cut him loose over the summer.
At the time, the competition at left-back was simply too great. Nacho Monreal had a starting spot, Sead Kolasinac was challenging for the position as well, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles was a capable backup.
Ironically, all three ended up injured. Bola might even have had a chance to play for Arsenal against Blackpool if they’d hung onto him. That’s just how football goes sometimes though. At least the defender got to play at the ground of his childhood club with his new team, and let’s hope he has a great season.