Arsenal suffered a big blow in their bid to secure a third place finish after Wigan recorded a well fought 2-1 upset win at the Emirates. While there was a strong hint of a comeback on the cards when Vermaelen scored after in the 21st minute, the two early goals were enough for the visitors walk away with all three points as Arsenal couldn’t convert their first half chances and failed to exert any pressure in the second half.
As well as the disappointing loss, Arsenal suffered another massive blow as midfielder Mikel Arteta was forced to leave the field in the early exchanges. In the post-match press conference Wenger confirmed that the Spaniard had suffered a serious ankle injury and it seems likely he will be out for the rest of the season. All I have to say is that Ramsey better bring his ‘A’ game in the upcoming clash against Chelsea because in the six games this season we have played without Arteta, we have recorded five losses and a draw.
The Gunners will lamenting poor defence for the opening two goals and many Arsenal fans will be glad Koscielny is set to return. Admittedly Sagna had an unusual off day today and was linked to both Wigan goals. Victor Moses gave the Frenchman a torrid time down the right and all we can hope for is that he bounces back against Chelsea. Djourou too was caught well out of position after ball-watching for the first goal and overall produced a poor performance allowing Moses to get on the wrong side of him far too many times.
Wigan definitely came to the Emirates with a game-plan and executed it very well. Upon taking their early lead the Latics ensured that Arsenal could not play their usual game up the middle and often crowded the top of the penalty box. In recent weeks Benayoun drifting in has been an immense help to midfield, but with Wigan piling bodies in the centre it didn’t prove to be effective. With Wigan defending deep in their territory, Walcott to proved to be ineffective as no space was given in behind defence for the speedster to run into.
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It is a shame again that Arsenal must go into a big match on the back of a very disappointing loss. On the positive side, I guess we can say that we have come back before from bad losses, most recently last week against Manchester City after previously losing to QPR. Hopefully the Gunners will be able to do it again when they come up against Chelsea or they will face a massive fight to retain a Champions League place.
on the performance…
We made it difficult for ourselves because we had quite a good start but we defended horrendously for the first and second goals. Everybody involved was included for the first and the second goals. On top of that we conceded a second goal with 10 men on the pitch.
It took us too much time to change and it was absolutely unbelievable. We conceded the first when Arteta was out and we could not put the player on because he is not ready. That penalised us for the second goal and after that we had a mountain to climb.
I felt in the first half we had enough chances to come back to 2-2, but the second half we dropped our level, lost our team play, our cohesion and tried too much individually. There was not enough petrol left in the tank anymore. We didn’t see anyone who could make a difference. They defended well. We had a tremendous amount of possession but didn’t create a lot in the second half.
on the Arteta substitution…
It is the fact that when a player is injured, if he stays on the pitch you have time to bring [a replacement] on. It was a misunderstanding because he walked off and Ramsey was not ready. The players think they will not come on in the first half, so they are not ready. Basically we played with 10 men, which should not be the case when a player is injured. Arteta had to come off but if he sits down on the pitch he can come off as well.
on Arteta’s injury…
It is an ankle problem. It looks quite a serious one. We have to scan it tomorrow, it is too early to say tonight. But it doesn’t look a little ankle sprain. It is a serious one.
on the second-half display…
We have given a lot over the past two or three months and we were not sharp. Is it mental or physical? It is hard to know why. I felt in the first half we had quite a good response to being 2-0 down, but in the second half there was not a lot to come. We finished with Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky,Gervinho and Van Persie offensively and we didn’t create a lot.
on the strength of the Premier League…
Everyone is in the same situation. You could see with Tottenham against Norwich, Manchester United at Wigan, us against Wigan. You have to realise that every game is a decisive moment for everybody. You have to be prepared not to be 1-0 down, to be 2-0 down, not like that. When you see the goals we conceded recently, we did not concede these kinds of mistakes.
on the Chelsea game…
It is a massive and vital game for us. We need to recover from the massive disappointment of tonight first, then prepare mentally for the next one.
Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs
Walcott Ramsey Benayoun
Van Persie (c)
Wojciech Szczesny | 6.5: Could not be blamed for either of the goals and was extremely unlucky not to save the first. Made a good one on one save against Moses
Bacary Sagna | 5.0: An off day for the Frenchman who was turned inside-out by Moses at times. Contributed to both Wigan goals and overall a performance to forget.
Johan Djourou | 5.0: Was caught badly out of position for the opener and was caught in bad positions for many of Wigan’s effective attacks. (74′)
Thomas Vermalen | 7.0: A solid performance by Vermaelen who looked to spark the Arsenal comeback with a powerful 21st minute headed goal. Faced some trouble when faced up against Di Santo but stood up to the task well.
Andre Santos | 6.0: Was quite effective on attack, showing great trickery. In saying this though he did have a few bad touches and poorly executed passes which didn’t help the team.
Alexandre Song | 5.5: Found it hard going breaking up Wigan’s attacks at times. Tried to find the gaps in the Wigan defence, but it proved to congested.
Tomas Rosicky | 7.5: The experienced Czech was the most creative Arsenal player on the pitch and was the foundation for many of Arsenal’s chances. A shame that only one of the chances he created went into the back of the net though.
Mikel Arteta | N/A: Forced to leave the field with a serious ankle injury in the opening exchanges of the match. (8’_
Theo Walcott | 5.5: Was kept very quiet by Beausejour and unfortunately didn’t have any space to run into as he often likes to do as Wigan defended deep.
Robin van Persie | 6.0: A night to forget for the Dutchman who failed to get into any dangerous attacking situations. Did well to get off some good passes to other players though.
Yossi Benayoun | 6.5: A solid effort from Benayoun who did very well to get two headed shots on target. Was very unlucky to get the second header saved. (60′)
- Notable substitutions
Aaron Ramsey | 5.5: While the Welshman didn’t make many errors, he was often slow distributing the ball and lacked the penetration Arsenal needed. (9′)
Gervinho | 5.5: Couldn’t find a way passed the Wigan defence and help find Arsenal an equaliser. (60′)
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | 6.0: Was relatively uneffective in the advance midfielder role losing possession on a couple of occasions and producing a couple of wayward passes. Did well to dig out a couple of good crosses though. (74′)
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