End of season collapse kicks in, as Arsenal lose 2-1 to Wigan at home…

Just when you think the Arsenal are safe from a collapse, just when you think we’ve secured something of importance for the season (i.e. third place)… bang, the most unexpected loss occurs, and takes the winds out of our sales. Last season, we were leading Wigan 2-0 with 15 minutes to go – at their ground – and ended up losing that game 3-2. We never recovered and went on to finish 4th, in a season where we could have finished 1st or 2nd had we kept our gusto. This season, Wigan again have been the team that seem to have derailed us.

The question is why? Why do we let ourselves get into this position? Why do we fail to win when it really matters? Am I being harsh considering we’ve actually won 9 out of the last 11? Or am I correct in thinking we really should have beaten Wigan, considering our home advantage and reasonably low injury list?

After the game, Arsene felt we were not sharp enough…

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.

Personally, I don’t think Oxlade or Gervinho contributed a lot. Gervinho is short of game time & confidence – Oxlade thought he had to do it all by himself every time he had the ball – and Theo – well, he had one of those very frustrating games. Arsene says we weren’t sharp enough – why not? Ramsey hasn’t played a lot of games, why isn’t he sharp? Gervinho came on with bags of energy, but no end product…

Wigan played midweek, and had a very energy consuming game against Wigan. Surely we should have been more energetic and sharper than Wigan. The problems we face now are also psychological – can we pick ourselves up – without Arteta – who has been our linchpin – and survive the rest of the season?

“It is an ankle problem. It looks quite a serious one. It is too early to say tonight. But it doesn’t look a little ankle sprain. It is a serious one,” revealed Wenger. Unconfirmed reports have since emerged claiming the Spaniard has in fact suffered a broken ankle which will come as a devastating blow to the Gunners who are already without another of their midfield stars, Jack Wilshere, for the rest of the season.

Ramsey will need to up his game considerably and the worry now is whether we can get back into shape for the game against Chelsea. Chelsea are back into some sort of form under Di Matteo, with a resounding 5-1 win over Sp*rs in the FA cup – yes, they play Barcelona tomorrow, and they should be more tired than us by the weekend, but that doesn’t mean anything.

The good thing for us is that Gibbs and Koscielny will be back into the starting up against Chelsea and they seem to add some structure to the defensive unit. We play Chelsea on Saturday, an early morning kick off – at the Emirates – the onus is on us, we’ll be the favourites, we need to ensure we don’t lose, and keep up the pace with a win if possible.

More analysis tomorrow, but for the moment, enjoy Bayern vs Real Madrid… and don’t forget Tottz will be back tomorrow for his Wednesday piece!

Til then…