IT is getting to be an all-too familiar tale for Owen Coyle – one of red cards putting his side at a disadvantage and defensive mistakes gifting goals to the opposition.

The Wanderers boss insists this story can still have a happy ending, but if the first chapter is anything to go by, there is a lot of work to be done.

This latest plot twist, a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal, came about as a result of some suicidal defending after the break that gifted Robin Van Persie an opening goal.

David Wheater then continued on a similar theme by pulling on Theo Walcott's shirt to earn himself a straight red card from referee Mark Clattenburg.

After that is was simple case of numbers as Van Persie racked up his 100th Arsenal goal before Alex Song made it three in the final minute.

And so it was a familiar explanation delivered from Coyle after the game in the smart corridors of the Emirates Stadium – a ground where Wanderers are still yet to win.

“It doesn't help when you've got 10 men every week,” he told The Bolton News.

“Anybody who was here could see how good we were first half, we were very comfortable in the game.

“We gave ourselves a platform to go on and win but it's very obvious that when you shoot yourself in the foot like we did 43 seconds into the second half, you give yourselves too much to do.

“If two or three people could have done something different then it would have been avoidable.”

Once Wheater had become the second Wanderers player in successive weeks to see red, after Ivan Klasnic against Norwich, Coyle admits the game was effectively lost.

“At 1-0 we were still in it and making chances, as we did when Eagles went through.

“When we went down to 10 men it gave Arsenal the lift and that's how the game panned out. We had to try and get forward and that left gaps, and they are probably the best in the whole Premier League at playing on the counter attack.

“My disappointment was in the goals we conceded because I think they were avoidable.”

Coyle's luck was summed up when David Ngog – in for skipper Kevin Davies – was helped off the pitch after only 20 minutes after a clash of heads with Gunners defender Laurent Koscielny.

“We're all disappointed to have lost a game, but you have to give it a bit of balance and realise that we've had some bad luck,” he said. “Within the game we lost David Ngog when Koscielny battered him in the back of the head. We got a free kick for that, which was great.

“These things tend to go against you when you are down there. But we know what to do – you come back in, work hard and it will turn round. We have a very good team.

“It was always going to be a tough start. We've played four teams who will finish in the top six.

“It would be different if we had got three points having played six teams we expect to finish in the lower reaches.

“Ultimately, I don't get carried away when things are going well and equally I don't get too down when things are going badly.”