Wigan 0-1 Arsenal | A tale of two penalties

Arsenal made it three wins on the bounce with a hard fought win in a match that in truth could’ve gone either way.

Wigan will justifiably claim that Gibbs’ handball in injury time was as much a penalty as the one given for a foul on Walcott from which Arteta slotted home the only goal of the game. They also missed the best chance of the match when Kone outpaced Mertesacker in the first half leaving him one on one with Szczesny, but he scuffed his shot wide.

At the other end Al Haabsi had to be alert to keep out efforts from Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain, but that apart there weren’t really many clear cut chances as both sides struggled to open up the opposition. Szczesny had to kick away another Kone effort, but overall the quality of the final ball was poor, particularly from the hosts. Their two wingbacks Beausejour and Staam had plenty of possession in good areas, but often chose the wrong option or put in poor crosses. I’m concerned as to what higher calibre opponents would’ve done to us — Ribery and Robben would’ve run riot.

Mikel Arteta slots home a penalty against Wigan

Arteta slots home our third penalty in four games

One wide man who did impress was Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose speed and willingness to run at defenders was at the root of the few chances we created. It makes such a difference having a pacy, attacking player on the right flank instead of Ramsey and makes you wonder why Wenger insisted on playing the Welshman out there so many times this season. I hope the penny has finally dropped.

With chances at a premium I felt sorry for Theo, who wasn’t getting much service. Playing up front again after illness ruled Giroud out, Walcott had a couple of half chances and drew a decent save from Al Haabsi early in the second half. He also won the penalty, but will have learned that not all Premiership defenders are as accommodating as Reading were on Monday.

But three points is three points, however we’ve played, and two away wins in a row is always welcome. Any celebrations that we’re back on track need to be kept in check though as we played the teams 20th and 18th in the league and needed some kind treatment from the ref to win today. Credit is due for getting the wins, but six points was the minimum requirement for a team with top four aspirations.

A better barometer is how we handle January, when we play Swansea in the FA Cup and then Man City, Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool in the league. Before then we have Newcastle and Southampton and I think six points are a must to set us up for that tricky run of games in the New Year.

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Comments
  1. davi

    “It makes such a difference having a pacy, attacking player on the right flank instead of Ramsey and makes you wonder why Wenger insisted on playing the Welshman out there so many times this season”
    It’s because it worked a treat in the first big game (Man City?). Wenger has often selected an attacking midfielder out wide and I suppose Ramsey falls into that category. I think the problem has been more that Aaron’s form dropped since that game, rather than the tactic being a particularly bad one. He always seems to do well when we need to close a game out, though.

    BTW, I think if Wigan continue to play like they did today, they will give any side real problems. Remember at the end of last season? NO ONE could handle them, so don’t forget that they do have real quality players and it’s not necessarily so bad for us to scrape a win against them. They were on their game today, so we did well.

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  2. ClockEndRider

    “Wigan will justifiably claim that Gibbs’ handball in injury time was as much a penalty as the one given for a foul on Walcott from which Arteta slotted home the only goal of the game.” Really? Since when was the ball hitting hands in line with the body a penalty? Only. In the last couple of seasons it seems to me. I always thought the rule was that the handball had to be intentional. If the player protects his body, as opposed having his hands above his head or out to the side, is that really intentional handball? Lets not be led by a manager whose first instinct is to protect his job and thus find excuses to cover up the fact that his team had plenty of effort but nothing in the final third.

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    • Gooner Steve

      I’m not led by anyone. Gibbs had his hands out to the side of his face, not in front of it, and it was far more of a penalty than the one we got against Fulham.

      There were two big, game changing calls today — that one and the penalty we got. I think both were soft, but that’s not the point. The point is both decisions went our way which is fortunate.

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    • davi

      Also I thought the Walcott one was a pretty standard penalty call. Got in front of his man and the defender ran into the back of him.

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  3. ClockEndRider

    So the handball was deliberate? That is the rule I believe. It’s not a matter of interpretation.

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  4. ClockEndRider

    For avoidance of doubt, please find below the rule as per FIFA’s website.
    “Handling the ball
    Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with his hand or arm. The referee must take the following into consideration:
    • the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)
    • the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)
    • the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an infringement”.

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    • Gooner Steve

      Thanks for pointing out the bleedin’ obvious.

      My point is this:

      Some refs would’ve given Theo’s penalty, some wouldn’t. It wasn’t clear cut.
      Some refs would’ve given Gibb’s penalty, some wouldn’t. It wasn’t clear cut.

      If you’re lucky, both decisions go your way.
      If it’s balanced, both are pens or none are pens.
      If you’re unlucky, both decisions go against you.

      I am saying we were lucky because we got both decisions. Whether you think they were penalties or not is irrelevant, the point is the ref ruled in our favour twice.

      By the way, did you go around posting the handball rule after the similar penalty we got against Fulham?

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  5. ClockEndRider

    No I only point out the rules to those clearly not in possession of the facts. Sorry these dont agree with your view but it changes nothing. Now answer the question. Was it deliberate! IF not, it’s not a penalty. If not and the referee gives it, it is an incorrect decision. Your rudeness is uncalled for and smacks of ignorance, You seem to be one of those people who likes to go through life thinking they have a monopoly on wisdom, As he above exchange shows, not only do you to have much wisdom, but you have even less in the way of manners and social skills.

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    • davi

      Yes this is one of those “we were lucky we weren’t screwed over by a bad decision” things. Basically, we were lucky not to be unlucky. It’s ridiculous.

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    • Gooner Steve

      Point out where I was rude. Was it where I said you were ignorant, don’t have much wisdom and have even less in the way of manners and social skills?

      Or was that you?

      I don’t know whether it was deliberate, neither do you and neither does the ref. Only Gibbs knows whether he moved his hands towards the ball — they certainly weren’t protecting his face. Those decisions are judgement calls made by the ref in a split second, in real time.

      Because of that, penalties are sometimes given (like for us against Fulham, which you seem keen to ignore) and sometimes not, like today. The Walcott penalty also wasn’t clear cut — I’ve seen those waved away many times.

      Having both decisions go our way is lucky. I don’t think that’s a controversial statement.

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