Arsenal 1 Wigan 2 | Will we ever learn?

Here we go again. Looking over their shoulders and seeing some daylight to the chasing pack, Arsenal decided total commitment wasn’t necessary this evening and started off casually, certain that merely going through the motions would be enough to see off little Wigan.

Except Wigan had more quality than Arsenal realised and a bucket-load more desire, and before you could say “What the f..” we were a goal down. Not only that, but it came from our own corner! I mentioned a few weeks ago that we are far too gung-ho in the early stages and this time we paid for it as Wigan swept up the field to take a shock lead.

In fact it was such a shock to our arrogant players that Wigan were able to score against us that we lost concentration again immediately and found ourselves 2-0 down inside eight minutes. Moses made Sagna look like a mug on the byline and cut the ball back to Gomez, who profited from very untidy defending by Djourou, Vermaelen and Szczesny to tap it in.

I couldn’t believe what I was watching. Not because Wigan were two goals up, but because Arsenal had under-estimated supposedly inferior opponents yet again. Only two weeks ago we went to QPR expecting to be given all three points without breaking sweat and had our arses spanked — now it was happening again.

After the QPR game Wenger had said “Maybe we sensed it would be easier than usual and once you have that in your heads it is difficult to come back to reality.” He may as well use that soundbite again for this match because it’s exactly what happened tonight. This was a seriously annoying case of deja-fucking-vu as we suddenly realised we had a match on our hands and belatedly started to play good football at a high tempo, closing our opponents down quickly and pinning them back.

The only thing was that instead of doing this from the first minute at 0-0, we were doing it from the eighth minute at 0-2. And that’s ultimately why we lost the match — because we didn’t approach the game in the right manner from the kick off. Idiots.

To compound matters Arteta limped off and was replaced by Ramsey, yet still we laid siege to the Wigan goal for the rest of the half. Benayoun had a header tipped over before Vermaelen pulled one back with a great header from a pinpoint Rosicky cross. Then Djourou struck a shot inches wide, Rosicky blazed over after a neat one-two with van Persie, and Santos showed good feet in the area but curled an effort just over.

Wigan go 2-0 up against Arsenal

Song: "Hey, Wigan have scored! They can't do that can they boss?"

Wenger was cutting a very agitated figure on the touchline as he watched his side playing well without reward and as the halftime whistle went Arsenal could easily have been 4-2 up. For that reason confidence was high that we could turn this around after the break and we started well, Santos getting free and firing a shot in which was deflected and fizzed inches away from van Persie’s boot.

But Wigan were having chances of their own on the counter as our kamikaze defending continued. Moses outmuscled Sagna and brought a diving parry from Szczesny before a long throw from inside their own half somehow found Moses clean through, but he shot straight at the keeper.

By now we were running out of ideas, although Santos should’ve done better when he horribly miscued a cutback from seven yards. Wigan were looking more and more comfortable and by the end were creating the better chances. Their work ethic and commitment to their gameplan was first class and a tribute to their talented young manager Roberto Martinez.

By contrast our manager didn’t cover himself in glory by constantly complaining on the touchline and then botching his substitutions once again. How the off-form Gervinho gets on before the Ox appears mystifying, until you remember that Wenger doesn’t make substitutions according to form — he adheres to his ridiculous pecking order which means the Ox stays bottom of the list because he is the youngest, and Walcott stays on the pitch no matter how poorly he’s playing because he’s been at the club a long time.

So when the Ox finally came on he had to play in central midfield, where he tried to go on a few trademark runs but was forced to start too deep and was easily dispossessed by the time he got to the area. I accept he will become a central midfielder in the future, but in the here and now he is a skillful dribbler with blistering pace and (unlike Theo) confidence in his ability to run at players. So he should’ve replaced Benayoun, instead of Gervinho, so that he could attack Wigan from the left wing, an area in which he could do some damage. Unfortunately we had to witness Gervinho bumbling about out there while the Ox was kicking his heels on the bench itching for a chance — madness Wenger, madness.

So we’ve thrown away a golden chance to all but wrap up third place and now must regroup for the visit of Chelsea on Saturday. It may sound strange, but I am totally confident we’ll beat Chelsea. Why? Because we’ll be up for that one. Like I’ve said many, many times before on this blog, we have no problems getting up for the glamour games. This defeat will sting us and we will focus properly to beat Chelsea, just like the QPR defeat stung us and we beat Manchester City straight afterwards.

I honestly thought we had cured this mental deficiency of taking ‘little’ teams lightly, but seeing it happen again just a couple of weeks after QPR makes me feel very let down as a supporter. Blackburn, Fulham, Swansea, QPR and now Wigan have beaten us because we were complacent. All I ask of the team is 100% commitment in every match and if they can’t do that they should fuck off to China or the MLS, because it’s no good going on a wonderful run of form only to ease up because the finishing line is in sight — in fact it’s downright criminal.

So please Arsenal — sort the mental side of your game out before it’s too late.

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Comments
  1. Goons_with_Guns

    Blame on Wenger and no one else for not preparing the players.

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  2. Dagsofoz

    Well written,as well experince and paid manager why cant Wenger pick up on these train crashes before they happen, he is with these guys 24/7 but cant still pick up on their body language.
    He also seems to have this thing about running Walcott and Ramsey however things are going, as if to say I know now shut up

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    • David

      I dont have a clue what you’re talking about

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  3. firman

    good post. this kinda result has been happening for the last 7 years. i dont think we will learn..

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  4. Bradster

    Good post. Still Wenger has no solution for park the bus coounter attack. Only the manager should decide tactics AKB’s so it’s his responsiblity. As is not having someone to help RVP in scoring goals because yesterday he was tired in all aspects.
    I also wonder how poor we must be playing to need TV to push so much, even to play as striker to score in open play. Perhaps we should swap TV to midfield and put Song at the back.
    Song disappointed me yesterday, he was also edge of their box and pushing when needed as a DM, then again in no mans land struggling to get back and needing to put in a foul. Then another occassion when needed to push out of the back he sat and TV needed to bring it out and shout at Song to do some work.

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  5. gerg

    Wenger is indeed maddening. I love the way he runs the organization, but I loath his field level decisions. There was not a lot he could do about Arteta leaving early but Ramsey was the only midfielder on the bench and his form of late has been poor. I would never replace Benayoun with Gervinho; the talent gap is wide. Instead Walcott should have been replaced by the Ox, who has the muscle to press the compact Wigan defense. Due to Ramsey’s poor form why hasn’t Oguzhan Ozyakup been promoted to the bench. He could have replaced Arteta. Why not? Doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result is termed “insanity” and Wenger is becoming famous for this approach.

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  6. DanS

    Will we ever learn? Not as long as we keep getting by on finishing 3rd or 4th in the table, and cashing those Champions League checks. As long as that is acceptable to the board, and it appears to be, then yes expect multiple games like this year in and year out. It’s just frustrating.

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  7. David

    Wigan are gettin’ good beating Manu and Arsenal

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  8. Alex

    April 18, 2012 at 5:23 am · Reply
    Will we ever learn? Not as long as we keep getting by on finishing 3rd or 4th in the table, and cashing those Champions League checks. As long as that is acceptable to the board, and it appears to be, then yes expect multiple games like this year in and year out. It’s just frustrating.

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. David

    I’m listening to the arsenal match and it says this is u useless match

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  10. David

    I’m listening to the arsenal match and it says this is a useless match

    Agree or Disagree?   Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0