8 changes, game finishes Wigan 2 – 2 Arsenal

Okay, so you may wonder why I have put “8 changes” into the title of today’s blog – well, simply because surely 8 changes is too much, too much to change 8 players from a team that has just beaten the current champions and we’d finally found a team that gelled together and fought for each other wasn’t the best decision in the world. We could have gone on to win, and I probably wouldn’t have been writing this blog in this way, but we didn’t!

The line up was:

Fabianski

Sagna – Squillaci – Koscielny – Eboue

Diaby – Denilson

Bendtner – Rosicky – Arshavin

Chamakh

With a bench of Szcznesy, Djourou, Clichy, Wilshere, Walcott, Vela and Nasri

The game itself was interesting – I wouldn’t say we were in control at all and in fact, Wigan looked much more spritely than us and the desire to close down like we did at Chelsea had diminished to a degree, and the rotation I suppose didn’t help. But it wasn’t all that bad – we were creative and were able to open up their defence, but with Squillaci back in and Denilson in the holding role, the game was more open than it really should have been.

Wigan went ahead when Charles N’Zogbia tumbled, dived and cheated his way to a penalty – people pointing the finger at Koscielny, but I am really disappointing with the Wigan player – the desire to fall to the ground rather than stay on the ground – no surprise that the same player was involved in a clash later on that involved him getting sent off.

We equalised and went 2-1 through a smart finish from Arshavin and then a nice finish from Niklas Bendtner. Arshavin volleying in the equaliser with a scissor kick and then setting up Bendtner who finished well to make it 2-1 before the break. The second half was a bit of the same as the first half – with both teams having a lot of possession and creating chances – but the big fear was whether we could score a third to put the game to bed – and the longer we went without one, the more worried we all were.

Diaby was injured before the goals and the introduction of Wilshere had it’s impact, but he was eventually taken off as he was being protected. The aforementioned N’Zogbia headbutted our 18 year playmaker and was shown a straight red. But even with 10 men, Wigan showed desire to equalise and it came through an own goal through Squillaci. Nasri should have been awarded a penalty for a blatant handball, the same offence which saw Cesc concede a penalty last time out – the player furious on twitter about the different rules – one for United and one for us!

It is hard to criticise Arsene too much, we really wouldn’t have survived 4 games in 10 days unless we rested and rotated – and we were only 10 minutes away from the 3 points – but the thing is that we really need to win our next two games to ensure that we are primed claw back some ground.

Arsene spoke about the performance and said:

“We were 2-1 up and playing against ten men and we dropped two points. Overall, it was a difficult game with high levels of commitment from Wigan. They caught us a bit at the start and after that we came back into it a little bit. In the second half we didn’t do enough and we conceded two goals from two set pieces.”

Which was a little bit obvious:

“Credit to them, they didn’t give up. I thought we tried very hard. The pitch became more and more difficult for us to put passes together. They defended deeper in the second half and it was more difficult for us to find space. Wigan fought very hard today. I felt in the first half we had a great dominance and came back well but in the second half we didn’t produce enough or offer enough.”

And to top off the drop points, Diaby’s return was too early and he’s now suffered a set back…

“It is a calf strain. He is out for a while now. Some weeks I think”.

A somewhat depressing blog from me today – but all is not lost – 2 more games in this period and two wins would put smiles back on all our faces…

  • Berth

    Dev 2 wins right? You will be lucky to get 4 points from the next 2 games – City squared.

  • devday

    We need 6 points of 6. If we played a stronger team we would have beaten Wigan – so the fact we dropped points means there are no excuses.

  • devday

    Everything should go into Birmingham away. We must concentrate on one game at a time!

  • Berth

    Dev u know its easier to beat Manu away than to win Birmingham at St Andrews – Lets not kid ourselves Dev. The match is already written in the stars; its inevitably a draw regardless of what or whom Wenger plays.

  • Fo

    @ Berth:
    I think we will win tomorrow – but I doubt we will beat Man City

  • Fo

    In fact, it’s worth a bet!!

  • yemi

    6 points

  • Kodjo

    I hate to sound negative…but with games up north a lot depends on refereeing…and i am not making excuses because i have seen it time and time again.

    Yes we have problems in central defense but it comes down to details such refs intimidating Song or Clichy with yellow cards…and strange decisions

  • devday

    @ Kodjo:
    The number of cards per foul is the highest at Arsenal – shows a meanness / harshness towards us. Additionally, we really should have had a pen at Wigan but then again, we really should have scored before they equalised!

  • Berth

    DEV are you offering us any New year special

  • melvyn

    6 points is a must ut can we honestly see it happening? with all our other rivals having easier games at home i doubt it

  • ZimGooner

    Wenger is the manager so he does what he likes…

  • Sam

    Wenger is the manage & he’s doing his job to the best of his abilities & circumstances.

  • terrencetg

    I think its very good of Wenger to point out in the papers this morning that Citeh buying Dzeko is a “risk”. He appears to have proven talent and he may score lots of goals and help Citeh win games. This is very “risky”! Nearly as risky as having the a crap GK and dodgy defenders! Its very difficult not to get embarrassed by Wenger. This week he has been saying that we lack a communicator and leader in the defence. Also our Captain has said there is lack of spirit in the team. Yet this morning Wenger is telling the world that our team has the mentality to win the title and the Prem will be a battle of metal strengths. Can he not just keep his nonsense to himself and not insult the intelligence of real fans. It also made me laugh that he wants to give Pat Rice a new contract cos Pat doesnt talk(publically). He doesnt do too much talking on the bench either! Give the “yes” man for Wenger another contract. Well done Pat just take the dosh and keep stum! PS I have just seen highlights of the Wigan game and again seen how terrible Flappy was for their second goal. The positioninal sense of a Rhino. Crosses are us – not!

  • pinakin

    Listen up you fuckers we seem to forget that we are still in the mix and if we were to depose King Arsene, who would we replace him with? Ferguson has drawn 8, Mancini has lost 4, Ancelloti has lost 5, or heaven forbid Redknapp, who has also lost 4.

    Wenger is suffering now, because of his initial success and the idea that resulted that he was perfect, AKB. Winning the league is about percentages, the aim to get most of it right over 38 games. Arsene played his percentages against Wigan, the aim was to get 3 points but with as little impact as possible on his first choice eleven, he only got 1 point, but we did come close.

    I put a bet on at the start of the season that we would win this league, and often I really do doubt that I will win that bet. But I do believe that game by game the squad, not just the best 11, is getting stronger and that it is still possible.

    Last season, many people were complaining that we didn’t put strong enough sides out in the Carling Cup, a competition that we were just throwing away. This season Wenger has put out stronger sides, although why he has done this is a matter of contention. However now we have a great chance of going to Wembley and winning a trophy. However, tickets for the semi final – even at the reduced prices – are going out on general sale. So where are all those people who want us to try harder in the Carling Cup? Is it that when they get what they want they don’t really care about it?

    I really do think, we should start looking at positives from this side and get behind them, they really do have what it takes. Cheer up and have a Happy New Year.