View From The North Bank: Arsenal 1 Wigan 2
It wouldn’t be Arsenal if we didn’t make it hard for ourselves now would it. A disjointed couple of minutes put paid to three points that would’ve eased the pressure in the race for third place. But Wigan are scrapping for survival and are one of the leagues’ in form teams. Fair play to them.
Not enough credit has been given to Wigan, who stuck to their task and allowed few of those pockets of space that Van Persie and co love to play in. In fact, Van Persie was marked so tightly by Gary Caldwell, he felt he earned the right to choose which hand he wanted to shake. That incident has been blown out of proportion, much like the predictable hyperbolic reaction to a disappointing defeat from some Arsenal fans.
Roberto Martinez’s team were bold in their approach, catching Arsenal out like a naive pensioner diddled into a time share. Breakaway goals have been a side helping for this tepid of seasons and Arsenal were caught cold twice here. For both goals Wigan were afforded the time and space to attack, and even though both should’ve been cut out at source (Sagna the main culprit for me on both), I feel Szczesny should have stopped both goals.
After conceding two quick, soft goals and losing Arteta to what looks like a fractured ankle, Arsenal began to wake up: yet again Rosicky was the catalyst. Al Habsi – Wigan’s man of the match in terms of time wasting – made a couple of decent saves before Vermaelen notched a solid header from a fine Rosicky centre. Djourou then hit a shot marginally wide when he should’ve hit the target.
The first half continued as a wave of attacks amongst a plethora of poorly taken corners (one from Van Persie that resulted in the first Wigan goal). Despite a determined opening five minutes of the second half, Wigan stood up resolutely to a tired looking Arsenal, annoyingly devoid of creative ideas. As Wenger said post match: ‘in the second half we dropped our level, lost our team play, our cohesion and tried too much individually’.
We were poor in the second half. Insipid in fact, but the inevitable Twitter inquest following the match was all too familiar. The squad isn’t as bad as the Wenger Out Mob would have you believe and also it isn’t as great as the staunchest of Wenger fans believe also. It’s somewhere in between. Still need reinforcements to become title challengers next year, as was evident when Arteta hobbled off. On came the Emirates’ latest darling, Aaron Ramsey. Terribly out of form. We have little other options.
Other notes from the game: Mikel Arteta is pivotal (thanks to @GarethDParker) Andre Marriner is not very good at refereeing; away teams tend to time waste at the Emirates (the blame lays with the refs for me here); when Song doesn’t play well, neither do Arsenal; Victor Moses is good; the Carlsberg still tastes flat.
At least this latest Arsenal catastrophe means our season is still alive! In other news, according to sections of the North Bank, Walcott is still a c**t. Oh and the last time I checked, the world is still turning on its axis.
Meanwhile Wenger also told the world what wearethenorthbank.com told you all in January. That Wilshere will not play this season. Wenger has also ruled him out of the Euros, which is disappointing for an obviously patriotic Wilshere but good for Arsenal.