The first goal went Wigan’s way in the shape of a penalty. Charles N’Zogbia broke into the box, Kozzer stuck a leg out, he went over … the ref blew up. Many are saying it was a dive, for me, it was very close. Once again, it’s a shoddy piece of defending from our centre back. More importantly, where the hell was Eboue in this situation, or more to the point, why would you rest your only fit left back and put a right back who ALWAYS struggles at left back in his place? The penalty was rifled home by Watson.
The next half an hour was absolutely diabolical. The players lacked focus, match practice and the know how to dismantle a plucky Wigan side. Thankfully Diaby picked up an injury and Jack Wilshere managed to find his way onto the pitch. You really have to question the worth of keeping Diaby about. He’s hugely inconsistent when he is fit… and being fit really is a rarity. He’s never had a good season, yet we place so much importance on him as a first teamer. A waste of time.
Arshavin went from zero to hero after he acrobatically turned in a saved Nik Bendtner shot. 1o minutes later he was at it again when he picked up the ball in the middle of the park, whizzed round a few Wigan players, slipped Nik in who was on hand to slot home for what we hoped was the winner.
The second half started like Wenger had shown the boys a few card tricks at half time. They came out with hardly any focus or drive, seemingly content to just play out for 2-1. Not the mentality I would have taken with a defence as shambolic as ours.
Arshavin went close but was denied by a good Al’Habsi block.
N’Zogbia set the warning light off when he forced a good save from Fabianski. The Frenchman was causing alsorts of problems until he decided to head butt Wilshere. He was sent off, you hoped the game was over, but sadly, it wasn’t.
Wigan won a corner. Arsenal set up for it with virtually no one communicating with each other. The corner was flighted to the back post, Fabianski thought about it and didn’t go for it, Sagna and Koscielny kind of followed the ball, Rodallega nodded back, Squillaci wasn’t goal side of his man and he bundled it home for their equaliser.
Typically, we’d conceded from a set piece (50% of our conceded goals come from set pieces).
Wenger, despite seeing his team struggle, only made substitutions in the 84th minute. Theo and Nasri were brought on to shake things up, which they did but it was to no avail. We dropped 2 crucial points in the Premiership battle against relegation fodder and Wenger once again showed himself up as a man who can’t be trusted to make the right decisions.
There will be plenty of people banging the, ‘it’s not such a bad result’ drum this morning, there always is, however, I think they’re missing the point. Dropping points has a psychological impact on the team. Putting a winning sequence going was of paramount importance. Capitalising on dropped United points was also important and we failed to do it.
Why make 8 changes to the starting line up? Did Ancellotti, Ferguson or Redknapp do that for their teams? Of course they didn’t. Perhaps that’s why United fans didn’t have the same reaction to their draw as Arsenal fans have to last nights farce.
Our players didn’t need a rest, they already had one after the Stoke game was cancelled. If resting is so important, why don’t we train less like United, Spurs and Chelsea? What is the point in having the youngest team in the Universe if their fitness is poorer than older teams? Wenger is the man who has said on numerous occasions that making more than 3 changes to a squad in a summer is disruptive. If he sees that, why can’t he see making 8 changes to a starting line up is probably going to end in tears?
People will point out that I was full of praise after the Chelsea game and now I’m not. Well, of course I’m not. The Chelsea game was about superb selection, the right mentality and great tactics. Last night was about over cautious team selection, jiggery pokery in the extreme and a lack lustre performance.
I could accept 3 changes from the weekend, but 8? What the hell was he thinking? He disrespected Wigan and he disrespected our title challenge. How can Wenger not share the same winning mentality the fans do?
We’re still up there in the mix but we’ve got a coach who is making silly mistakes when there is no pressure to make them. Yesterdays team selection was almost a show of petulance from a coach who still refuses to believe there is a huge amount of deadwood in the squad. Here are the mistakes…
- Dropping your best defender in the air against a team who toppled you from set pieces last year.
- Starting far too many players who weren’t match fit
- Making subs too late in the game when it was obvious we were struggling
- Playing Nik Bendtner outwide when he’s clearly a striker
- Playing a right back at left back
- Admitting that his players don’t communicate from corners.
We’ve conceded 22 goals and kept 4 clean sheets in 19 games. This off the back of a promise to sort out the defence in the summer. It’s not good enough and we’re kidding ourselves if we think defending like that for the next month will leave us in the mix for the title. Wenger needs to admit he made mistakes signing cheap foreign imports and get his cheque book out and remedy his errors before he blows the best chance he’s had in 6 seasons to win the league.
Before I go, I’ll leave you with this Wenger pearler.
‘I felt we produced an outstanding performance and we are frustrated not to have won the game.’
Am I being blinded by the wool Wenger has just pulled over my eyes?
Here are some additional comments on the game from the Grovers.
Eboue at LB? WTF is wrong with Clichy, as much as I want glass ankles Mk II to take over, I would rather Gael than EE.
Fabianksi made agreat save just before the goal after some very average defending from several players, but he was nowhere for the goal.
Squid was poor tonight, why oh why was he wrong side of the guy for the goal, he had no chance once he was on the wrong side, he was either going to head it in or his man would have.
We are on course to concede 44 goals and keep 8 cleansheets.
Since 02/03 on average you need to keep 19 cleansheets and concede 24 to win the pl.
I am not going to be too critical of Wenger’s changes tonight, these are 1st team squad players who could and should have done better.
I am critical of his lack of nonce in changing it when it looked like they were creeping back into the game though, and sadly it is a trait we see from him over and over again.
I would not even mind so much if he learnt from it, but when you hear his post match, it is like he sees a whole different game.
Yes we should be looking for penalty decisions. Look for everything you f*cking can from the game, people whack skippy over Fergie and his teams, they’ll do everything they possibly can to win.
You don’t stand there and accept it when you know it’s wrong, do something about it.
I think in all seriousness that’s transmitted to the players now. Diaby was right, there simply isn’t enough fan pressure.
I cant agree we need to up our c*ntitude.
We up the c*ntivity and the refs take it upon themselves to protect the home team.
Take the Evra case from last year.
Was very proud of my team for the rotational fouling but the ref started handing out yellow cards for first time offenses.
We get nothing.
But more importantly we also shoot ourselves in the foot.
Wenger is brilliant at shooting himself in the foot.
Finally, a video that sums up being an Arsenal fan from Dan & Telarse
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