So, Djourou recovered from his minor injury to be restored into the starting line up and it was a matter of fielding the best of what we had considering our injuries. The line up was:
Sagna – Toure – Djourou – Clichy
Denilson – Song - Cesc – Nasri
Adebayor – Van Persie
From the highlights, it looked like a decent game. A good tempo, Ade looked interested , Van Persie was on his game – but both striker’s finishing was little awry. Reading the BBC match report, they reported us as sluggish and lacking fight, but of course I couldn’t see any of this as it wasn’t in the highlights!
Our goal came through a corner and a prod back into the box by Cesc, Song kind of helping it on and Ade sliding past Kirland. Adebayor was just inches away from doubling the advantage Kirkland pushed it shot onto the post. Van Persie can close under pressure from a few defenders.
The second half had 8 minutes of highlights, and the first half only 3, so by this I have to presume it was a better second half than first. One of the talking points of the game was the injury to Nasri. Palacios came through the back of the player and it looks like he is out for about 2-3 weeks. With Walcott and Rosicky injured, it really is an unwelcomed injury at this time of the season. We have been struck down by injuries and we are the most fouled team in the league, something has to be done to sort it out.
A comment from Fabrez! summed up the plight:
Wilson Palacios’ tackle was more or less disgusting… should have seen red. It was not nice to see how much Nasri’s ankle was strained under Palacios’ weight. I’m starting to wonder if we need to buy a winger seein that we have these injuries (Rosicky, Theo, now Nasri…)
What can we do about it? With Nasri out for a while, and important games coming up (Porto, Liverpool), we have no wingers left to play. I’d hate to see four central midfielders deployed across the middle, Song, Ramsey, Cesc and Denilson. Vela could be a good shout for the left wing and Eboue (if he gets his confidence back) for the right wing.
Another talking point of the game was the woeful form of Eboue. I did think he had a decent half hour, but his second half hour was totally regressive. In this day and age, at the level of which is required to play premier league football, how can we see what we see with players like Eboue unable to control the ball. Sometimes you think that Arsene believes that he’ll turn a corner one day, but ultimately the Eboue and Bendtner experiments are the two that have definitely failed – they’re simply not as good as Arsene thinks! Eboue lasted 59 minutes and after coming on for Nasri was subbed himself.
Eboue has lost the confidence of the fans no doubt. The fans who play good money to see players play. And when Eboue went mad in the final 10 minutes of the game, he was subjected to boos. Right or wrong? I don’t know. I’m not a fan of the Ivorian, but booing a player just doesn’t help them or the rest of the team. But then you have to think, how to the fans make a point to the manager that a player isn’t highly regarded.
Arsene wasn’t happy with the booing and said:
“Eboue played for longer than I wanted him to. His concentration dropped a little bit and when the crowd got on his back that was difficult to see and accept.
“He has to come off as he had lost a lot of confidence – he would have been even more unhappy had he stayed on, given the ball away and cost us a goal.”
We’ll see how Arsene reacts, it does put him in an interesting position as he has to play the Ivorian. He knows he may not play well, but his hands are tied. Eboue does have talent – and maybe the booing will help him to remain focused in future games.
On the game itself, Arsene said:
“I feel it was a nervy game. We didn’t finish the game off because of our recent history and I felt that we played a little bit with a handbrake. On the other hand I praise the team for being focused and determined to win even when they are playing a little bit less well.
“Sometimes I sit here and you say ‘you played well but you didn’t win’ but today you say ‘you didn’t play well’. We will soon try to combine both.
“We beat Man United and after we lose at home to Aston Villa and at Man City. We beat Chelsea last week so we knew that today was a bigger game because we needed to win another game on top of that.”
Interesting comments from Arsene in regards to playing well and winning and not playing well and winning and winning and playing well and not playing well and…
Anyway, more tomorrow… Til then…
Arsenal:Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Djourou, Clichy, Denilson, Fabregas, Song Billong, Nasri (Eboue 32), Van Persie, Adebayor, Eboue (Silvestre 90).
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Vela, Ramsey, Wilshere, Bendtner.
Wigan:Kirkland, Taylor, Boyce (Kilbane 63), Bramble, Figueroa, Valencia, Palacios, Cattermole (Koumas 77), Melchiot, Heskey, Camara (Zaki 66).
Subs Not Used: Kingson, Brown, De Ridder, Kapo.
Ref: Steve Bennett (Kent).]]>