Wigan 2 – 2 Arsenal report: The ref was clueless, yes but we have ourselves to blame

December 29, 2010

Well it proved to be a tricky fixture after all. Simply angered by this performance. We have no one but ourselves to blame for this along with the ref who played a major part but it would not have ended like this had we just shown some urgency today.

We started slowly, Wigan were making us look ordinary on the counter, upfront Arshavin and Bendtner were lazy, at the back we were leaving spaces open, in the middle  our players were taking  a nap, the ref had no idea he was refereeing and in all this Wigan took the lead through a penalty that was never a penalty.

We woke up somewhat but still were far from our best. Bendtner somehow got a shot in on goal that was saved by the keeper. The ball went to Arshavin who amazingly put it into the back of the net with an overhead kick. We were leveled. Minutes later Arshavin won the ball, powered down the middle, gave the ball to Bendtner, who was lucky that the ball stuck to his feet, and he slid the ball into the back of the net. We were leading now; surely we would wake up.

However, we returned from the break and started similarly. Wigan were having a go at us every time they got the ball. We should have killed off the game and we did get the chances. Arshavin missed a one-on-one after Wilshere did a one-two with Chamakh and lobbed in a perfect ball for Arshavin. Chamakh had a couple of headers off target.

And still we were not comfortable at the back. N’Zogbia had a chance to level up the scores but Fabianski did brilliantly to keep us in the game.

Wigan were reduced to 10 men when N’Zogbia was sent off for head-butting Wilshere. We now just had to keep the ball but as always we cannot live without making goal-conceding-mistakes. Wigan got a corner which was flown in to the far corner. Fabianski went for it but never reached there. He was caught off line as the ball flew back in and Squillaci, while trying to keep the ball from reaching the Wigan player headed it into the empty net.

When it seemed we will get the maximum points we did that. Anyhow, Wenger woke up after this as he sent Walcott and Nasri in.  

We tried and tried till the end but never got close to netting the winner. The ref made sure of that as we were denied penalty in a scenario similar to one in the match against Tottenham, where tottenham were awarded a penalty after Fabregas handled the ball while standing at the wall.

The final whistle blew with the final score 2 all.

Thoughts:

Well we didn’t show up the way we should have after beating Chelsea. We were far too casual. We created less and never got our game going. Arshavin and Bendtner were anonymous for the whole games. They did get the goals but you have to be involved at all times. Our midfield was just absent. We weren’t holding the ball for long and at times gave it away cheaply.

The ref was very incompetent and some of his decisions were bizarre.

Fabianski again showed that he is not good in making decision on the high balls. That is now two goals in three days for not being able to make up his mind. He leaves his line to catch the ball, stops midway in no man’s land, ball flows past him and the opposition has an empty net to aim at. Only this time it was Squillaci. It’s just not acceptable. The defence maybe was partially at fault but the keeper is the one that marshals the defence and at the moment Fabianski is not doing that.

I also feel that Wenger got it wrong with the starting lineup. There was just no balance. To start Denilson alongside Diaby, who is returning from injury is just plain wrong. He also was very late in making the substitutions. It was quite visible that we were having difficult times out there. We should have either scored the killer goal by bringing in Walcott for Bendtner or brought on someone like Song early in the second half to give some stability at the back, if we were to defend the score. Wenger did nothing and when Wigan equalized, Wenger then sent in Nasri and Walcott, by then it ws too late.

In conclusion, it is two silly points dropped and I hope it doesn’t bite us in the end. We still are in it and let’s not be put off by this result. We have two important games coming up and we have to deliver in them. No more mistakes please!!


Theo Walcott on the emphatic win against Chelsea: ‘It was great to be part of that’

December 29, 2010

Theo Walcott had a very influential game against Chelsea as we defeated them in an emphatic fashion on Monday night. Walcott got an assist as well as scored the third goal that proved to be important in the end.

Speaking about the match he said that it wasn’t easy at all and it was all down to the whole team getting everything right that got the result. The attitude matters in such games and it was visible that we clearly wanted the win.

Walcott said that it feels nice to be a part of the team as they overcame the Champions by dominating the game for most parts and he further praised the fans for the atmosphere.

In the match with Manu we looked ordinary but against Chelsea we were a changed team as Walcott declared Arsenal’s performance against Chelsea as their best of the season so far.

As for conceding the goal he said that a win matters most. Walcott admits that it might have led the fans to think about the Tottenham outcome but we held on. Had we not missed our chances the scores would have been different and Walcott doesn’t mind it as long as the three points are taken. Walcott just wants that they continue with the winning and increase their points.

And hopefully it will bear some fruit at the end.

Walcott said:

“I wouldn’t say it was easy but I thought everyone got their jobs right. It was nice to get a win against a big team and against the champions. It was great to be part of that. It’s a dream really.

You could sense the atmosphere. The fans were right up for it, just like the players were and we just didn’t let Chelsea play.

It was nice to see an Arsenal team actually do everything right and hopefully we’ll just continue to do that.

In the Manchester United defeat [a fortnight earlier] we had spells where we weren’t at our best. But I think this was our best.

When they got their goal our fans might have been thinking ‘here we go, Tottenham all over again’. That scenario, but we managed to hold on and missed loads of chance. It could have been 5-2, 5-3 but a win is a win. We got three points on the board and we just have to keep on clocking them up.”


Wigan vs Arsenal preview: Go gunners!! Take the next step.

December 29, 2010

Two days back we had a massive win against Chelsea. The joy of it is still fresh. Yet today we have an away game and we cannot afford to lose this one. We have taken our big step and now we need to follow it up with another win. And it will send the message out that we are here for sure and we are gunning for glory this season.

But first we must not get carried away and approach the game with the same attitude as we did against Chelsea. Games over a couple days can be tricky as Man Utd found out yesterday and we must be focused. We need to build on the big win against Chelsea and hammer Wigan out of DW stadium, or else just get the three points in whatever manner we can.

The starting lineup is again going to be a tricky business as we have further two games in seven days and Arsene would have to keep the players fatigue in mind.

We can keep the same team that was out against Chelsea except for Fabregas who is suspended. Rosicky can come in his place or we can put out a different team. Whatever Wenger chooses, we would need another top class performance from everyone.

I would prefer that we drop RVP and Djourou as we can’t afford to lose them. They should have a rest before the next match. We have Chamakh and Squillaci who can come in for them.

I would also prefer to keep Walcott as he needs a run of games and start with Nasri on the left. In the centre bring in Rosicky, keep Song and change Wilshere with Diaby, as he also needs a run of games.

At the back I will keep Clichy as we have no other options. I still have my doubts on bringing in Eboue for Sagna as too many changes can sometimes prove to be a liability.

As for the keeper, play Szczesny as he is better in making decisions on the high balls.

So my team would be: Szczesny, Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Rosicky, Diaby, Walcott, Chamakh, Nasri

We can sub Nasri, Song and Walcott later when we have the game in control or as the situation is.

As for the game, we need the same approach, the same desire, the same hunger and the same team effort that we saw against Chelsea. We cannot afford to take them lightly and we cannot afford to switch off.

I have no doubts that we will get the three points that will take us joint top. However, doing it in style will make it sweeter.

Go gunners!! Show the world that this season is ours. We all are behind you.