Arsenal 1 (Vermaelen 21) – Wigan Athletic 2 (di Santo 7, Gomez 8 )
Man of the Match – Victor Moses (Wigan Athletic)
I am at a loss of words to say, in the least.
Last night was a representation of what can be so shambolically Arsenal. When the fans really expect a win, over a team that is stuttering at the bottom of the table, we go ahead and lose the game. And it was not a lack of talent, but a lack of determination, last night.
Take nothing away from Wigan though. They have given themselves a great chance to survive in the Premier League, with wins over Liverpool, Manchester United, and now, Arsenal. And, they deserved every bit of the 3 points, they earned last night.
No major injury worries ahead of the game. Jack Wilshere, is however, ruled out for the rest of the season, and also for the European Championships, which I believe, must be a huge blow to him. Laurent Koscielny remained suspended for this game too, meaning there was a place in the starting lineup for brother of calamity Johan Djourou. There was also place in the lineup for inform Israel captain Yossi Benayoun, while Andre Santos continued at left-back, with Arsene Wenger deciding not to risk young Kieran Gibbs.
Arsenal did all the early running, with Thomas Vermaelen’s long range effort, ambling just wide. Yossi Benayoun’s fine header was parried away by Oman international Ali Al-Habsi, who has been sensational for Wigan this season. Arsenal maintained the early pressure, as they won some early corners. It came to their own undoing, as the Gunners sent everyone forward. Wigan cleared the lines off one corner, and broke away brilliantly.
It was like clockwork, as James McCarthy, Victor Moses and Jordi Gomez all linked up, before Gomez set up the on rushing Argentina striker Franco di Santo. His initial effort was blocked by an alert Szczesny, but the ball fell perfectly to him, and he finished off to hand Wigan the lead, and end his 17 game goalscoring drought.
Before Arsenal could settle down, after the goal, Victor Moses took on Bacary Sagna, and beat him for skill to set up Jordi Gomez. His first effort was saved by Szczesny, but Gomez didn’t miss the second, and Wigan were 2-0 up at the Emirates in under 7 minutes.
There was more concern, as Mikel Arteta was forced off due to an injury, and according to some reports, his season could be over. He was replaced by Aaron Ramsey.
Arsenal’s response was swift, as they stepped up gears in midfield, with some decent moves. Vermaelen jumped too early for one effort, while Benayoun had another off his header’s clipped brilliantly by Al-Habsi. Tomas Rosicky then fed a delightful cross, and it was met powerfully by Thomas Vermaelen, who headed home.
Johan Djourou shot narrowly wide, and then, Tomas Rosicky played a 1-2 with van Persie, before completely skying his effort.
The second half was almost the same story, with Wigan playing a fine containing game, and even enjoying fair amounts of possession. Arsenal never really threatened Al-Habsi, as Antonin Alcaraz and Gary Caldwell stood firm. In fact, Wigan had the more clear scoring chances of the second half, with Moses terrorizing the naive Arsenal defence.
On one occasion, he was clear of the defence, but shot too early, for Szczesny. He later played a fine ball for Gomez, but the volley was poor. Wigan employed some time wasting tactics, towards the end, much to the frustration of Arsene Wenger and Arsenal fans, but the bottom line is, we really didn’t deserve to win the game.
Arsenal threw on Gervinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but their inexperience in such circumstances, was clear for everyone to see.
The task doesn’t get easier, as next up is the in-form Chelsea.
Szczesny (7) – Not really to be blamed for both the goals.
Sagna (6) – Had a poor game. Was literally owned by Moses and Beausejour.
Vermaelen (6.5) – His attacking instincts seem to be costing the team a bit at the back.
Djourou (6) – Guilty on both the ocassions. Could have been guilt for more, but was saved by Moses’ inexperience.
Santos (6.5) – Was never threatened, and did help a bit in attacking.
Song (6) – One of his worst games this season. Lost the ball far too many times. Seems to have lost that extra yard of pace too.
Rosicky (7.5) – The workhorse in the centre of midfield, and assisted Vermaelen’s header.
Arteta (No Rating) – Played too less, to get a rating.
Benayoun (7) – Can’t fault his workrate. Does tend to overdo things a bit at times. His two fine headers were brilliantly kept out though.
Walcott (6) – Lack of effort, or lack of skill, I really don’t know. Just didnt perform yesterday. Beausejour had him pocketed.
van Persie (7) – The frustration seems to be getting to him. Didnt have a good game either.
Ramsey (7) – Worked hard all night, but nothing going his way right now. Seems to overplay a bit, and suffers as a result of that.
Gervinho (6) – Rarely got on the ball, to make a worthy impact.
Chamberlain (6) – No impact from him, either.
Overall Team Rating – 6.50