Arsenal Hit By Wigan Sucker Punch

Wigan Athletic 2 – 2 Arsenal

1 – 0 Watson (18 pen)
1 – 1 Arshavin (38)
1 – 2 Bendtner (44)
2 – 2 Squillaci (81 og)

N’Zogbia sent off (77)

As the New Year beckoned, a dawning of a new Arsenal Age was heralded by a well-deserved victory over Chelsea on Monday night. As with all epochs, the transition into Champions stuttered in the immediate aftermath of the first step being taken. Arsene rang eight changes from the first game of this week and witnessed his charges come within ten minutes of gaining three valuable points.

The disappointment comes from the knowledge that those dropped are largely of Arsenal’s own making. Having emphatically crushed the myth of not being able to win big matches, Arsenal were unable to make Wigan truckle, the hosts recovering a point with a spirit which may yet serve them well in their fight against relegation.

For the opening half an hour, Arsenal were indecisive, uncohesive and generally out of sorts. The changes wrought evidence of a side that had not played together. Suspensions and long-term injuries cast their shadow over the starting line-up. Before a quarter of the match had passed, a deficit had to be retrieved.

Eboue in as left back was caught out of position, waiting on the edge of the Wigan area for a pass which never arrived. Having broken up an Arsenal attack, that space was quickly exploited by N’Zogbia who ran toward the Arsenal area, chaperoned by Koscielny. As Squillaci came to provide more pressure, a small opening emerged between the two centre backs, N’Zogbia went through it and theatrically threw himself to the ground.

In the first of his decisions which brought more questions of his aptitude to referee at this level, Lee Probert pointed to the spot. Replays clearly showed no contact with the Wigan player was made but exposed Koscielny’s naivety in flailing a leg in that situation.

Equally, the question must be asked as to why the Arsenal duo did not shepherd him away from the area. The younger of the French pair had positioned himself correctly to do so but between them, they did not apply enough pressure to force N’Zogbia towards the relative safety of the touch- or bye- lines. Whatever the case, Watson’s penalty was perfect, powerful and into a corner which Fabianski could do nothing to stop, despite guessing the direction correctly.

Arsenal’s cohesion sparked from Wilshere replacing the injured Diaby and paid almost immediate dividends. Having previously made two perfectly-timed interventions in his own area, Koscielny almost equalised, Al Habsi failed to hold Rosicky’s strike and with Koscielny poised to draw Arsenal level, Caldwell blocked maintaining his side’s lead.

The game changed through two moments of Arshavin magic. Infuriatingly inconsistent, the mercurial Russian brought Arsenal level with an acrobatic strike following Al Habsi’s save from Bendtner. Before the interval, he turned provider, forcing the Wigan defence onto the back foot, he found Bendtner who bundled his way through before calmly finishing. A not entirely deserved lead at half-time came as a result of a vastly improved end to the half.

For the second period, there was more controlled possession from the visitors, frustrating the hosts and reducing them to sporadic raids. Cleverly had the only real opportunity to bring equality to the proceedings but fired over.

Having scored an own goal in the recent Carling Cup encounter, Alcaraz tried to repeat the feat, heading into the side netting whilst Chamakh headed just wide. With twenty minutes to go, Wilshere chipped the ball into Arshavin’s stride but the Russian could not gain enough leverage to lift the ball over the advancing Al Habsi.

With the pressure deflating, life was breathed into the game once more. McArthur and N’Zogbia broke, exchanging passes before the French international saw his drive parried by Fabianski. Minutes later, the mists which descended over the Wigan player’s eyes matched the colour of the referee’s card, a situation entirely of the official’s making.

Incorrectly penalising Wilshere for a non-existent foul, the youngster and N’Zogbia exchanged words. As play moved up the pitch, the Frenchman butted Wilshere and was correctly dismissed. Yet his team-mates still refused to give up hope. With ten minutes to go, a deep corner was headed back across goal towards the waiting Caldwell; Squillaci intervened to with a header that sent the ball into the net instead of over the bar to safety.

The denouement came with more refereeing inconsistency. Nasri had been a late substitute following the equaliser. His freekick on the edge of the area was batted to safety off a Wigan arm in the same way that Cesc was penalised against Tottenham. This time, the official refused to award a penalty; it is impossible to fathom why. From his position, Probert had a clear view that the ball was diverted by a deliberate movement of the hand yet he chose to ignore that.

In the end though, the dropping of points is the fault of Arsenal, mistakes by officials only serve to distract from defensive failings. The equaliser was an appalling goal to concede. Squillaci was the wrong side of Caldwell in the final moments, a basic error by an experienced player, something which happens to often, not just to the Frenchman.

Even so, the year ends with Arsenal in third, two points off the top having played a game less than Manchester City but one more than United. It is a good position to be in but 2011 needs to see a consistent run put together if the promise is to materialise into reward.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on December 30, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 93 Comments.


  2. Just watched that handball again,what the hell was the ref watching

  3. TiE
    there was a gorgeous bird in the crowd who he had his eyes on
    On the handball Cesc got away with the same thing at home to Liverpool last season what comes around.
    At Brum i would start Szczesny.He proved at OT he is fearless.Fabby was at fault for the goals v the Chav and Wigan and Brum are a good set piece side

  4. “theatrically threw himself to the ground”

    What’s wrong with that when Chamakh has done plenty of it himself. Also didn’t Wilshere go down like he was shoot?

  5. “In the end though, the dropping of points is the fault of Arsenal, mistakes by officials only serve to distract from defensive failings. The equaliser was an appalling goal to concede. Squillaci was the wrong side of Caldwell in the final moments, a basic error by an experienced player, something which happens to often, not just to the Frenchman”…..And there we have it as YW has stated it was all of our own making……

    This inability to deal with set pieces,to switch off when concentration needs to be at its utmost is the current achilles heel of the Team….There are current threads abound stating 50% of Arsenal goals conceded this season have come from set pieces….the well oft used excuse that we were/we are unlucky is poppy cock…the basics are simply being left to chance….The last clean sheet we kept was against Wolves in Nov and we have conceded goals in 15 of he last 19 Games…Onward Forward..St Andrews…

    We keep making to many basic errors….Against Bham its got to be foucs focus

  6. Nice summing up Yogi

    Arsene gambled on selection but should we win at Brum & at home to Citeh then 10 points from 12 over Christmas / New Year will justify last nights changes.

    That said 2 points were thrown away & Arsene looked rightly furious.

    Wasn`t Probert the 4th official at OT last season when Wenger was sent to the stands ? I`d like to see some stats of our games that he`s been involved in.

  7. I am not too pertuebed by the draw- I actually thought that was how the game would end. I also think that a draw at Birmingham wont be a bad result- but a win over City is absolutely essential. If we win at St Andrews and beat city that would be a total of 10 points out of 12 which would be championship winning form. It is difficult to get consistency with 8 changes. Eboue now knows how Clicy feels when Arshavin is playing infront of you- no help no cover! Playing Bedner on the wing was also counter productive as it slowed the game down when we broke up play. I think AW wanted to give Bendnter a chance but a better decision would have been to drop Chamakh and play Bendtner up front. I would have loved to see Vela on the left, Roscky on the right and let Arshavin play central (which everyone says is his favourite position). The good thing with rotating the team is that we have RVP,Cesc,Song,Djourou,Theo,Clicy,Nasri rested and back in what will surely be a very very physical game.
    After the jaunt up north we only have Stoke,Bolton & Newcastle away ( the dangerous Blackpoodlians) as potential banana skins. So if we are there abouts come end of Jan this might just be the year we pull it off!

  8. A strange season in which our incompetence to win the easy matches is matched by our rivals incompetence to do the same. Something is seriously wrong in English football’s premier league!

  9. A lot of criticism has come Wenger’s way for the 8 changes, but I really don’t see how he could have done any different. Diaby’s injury (again!!!) just shows what can happen when injury prone players play too much and we have plenty of those. I’d be interested to see the stats of how many weeks Diaby has ever remained fit for.

  10. Im sorry Alzation, but Chelsea only made 3 changes and won, Man City 4. 8 is ridiculous. The point is that it is irrelevant if those rested palyers are rested for saturday because we lost the points last night. A win last night was imperitive. The momentum from the Chelsea game would have won us the game last night alone. Even if a few changes were made, keeping the back four together should have been a no-brainer! How he could have thought playing Eboue at LB was acceptable is beyond me! Do you really think RVP was happy to stay at home or did he want to play again? After all that time out he must be desperate to play. The decision was a joke and Wenger is a clown. That draw is game over for any faint hopes we had of even challenging Man U, who will run away with this league.

  11. I cant blame Wenger for 8 changes. And we almost pulled it off. Its a shame cos i was sure we would win this. Birmingham and Mancity? not so sure. But I trust our boys every time they go out there. So here is hoping we have a great win in our next 2 games.

  12. leebo- Clicy picked up a knock hence why he was rested. If Gibbs was fit Eboue would not have played left back, as it is the decision to send Traore to Juventus now looks not too clever as he would have provided back up. Having said that why single out Eboue? If Clicy or Gibbs had played would they have accounted for Squillaci’s own goal! And calling Wenger a clown? As for Man United running away with the league you obviously missed their game against the Brummeis! You need to take a chill pill- constructive criticism is welcome. An incoherent doomers rant belongs to Le moan!

  13. Settle down, leebo.

  14. Its not just that we made eight changes. It is the fact that these eight were our top eight against Chelsea. No fault to Sagna and Konscielny but neither are instrumental to Arsenal and yet he had no problem in starting both last night. As soon as I saw the team sheet I knew we were in big big trouble. And anyone who watches the Arsenal week in week out would have known the same. To put out a midfield like this away to Wigan was asking for it. Does Wenger ever learn from his mistakes??
    If he was worried about fatigue of three games in a week why not start his best eleven last night, get the game wrapped up early, make the substitutions and take the foot off the gas. These are professional players for Christ sake. But it is the same as Diaby being injured again!!! Wenger forever putting players in cotton wool. Half of our problems are inside the heads of the players and the manager.
    No the sucker punch was the team that Wenger put out on the field.

  15. Djourou after the Chelsea game had to start.Remember he didnt play at OT.So the Chelsea game was his first in 3 weeks.Tired my arse.Playing the Chuckle brothers at cb was criminal as well as Eboue at LB.Is Gibbs injured?

  16. As expected a game which polarises opionions.Personally, i think 8 changes (1 enforced as Cesc was banned) is too many but then the doomers (Leebo) get all upset because clearly the league is lost after 19 games with Manure having to play Chavski twice and visit us,Spuds and Liverpool so clearly they wont walk it!
    Perspective needed.A poor result but no worse than Manures V Brum (Manure will walk the league tho pml!)We are joint 2nd in the league with our two main rivals now,the two Manchester clubs,having to come to us and Chavski having to play Manure twice and City once.I think we would have taken that at the start of the season dont you ladies and gentlemen?

  17. leebo- a little self respect please.

  18. Dont accuse me of doom and gloom. Im not the one picking the team or dropping the points. I make my conclusions on the evidence I’ve witnessed. Its a well known fact that Wenger’s track record with team selection and substitutions is awful. If he dosent have a full strength team to choose from he hasnt got a clue, and the worst thing these days is that he doesnt even know what his frst choice 11 is! I call him a clown because every screw up this season is down to him. All his flaws have always been glaringly obvious but have always been outweighed by his strenghths, but the last few years have seen the balance reversed.
    Also I wasnt picking on Eboue, I didnt know of any knock that Clichy had, but if so why then change Dhorou, my point remains keep the back four together as much as possible, we’re conceeding goals and he keeps changing the CB’s………….
    Man U are unbeaten by the way, 2 games in hand, a draw away at Birmingham keeps them ticking over nicely.

  19. self-respect? Explain

  20. It’s a pity that those who are bemoaning the dropping of RvP and Djourou have not taken a step back before posting. Both missed substantial spells through injury and it is not one-off in either case. They have both missed spells over the past three seasons.

    Tiredness is not an issue in their case, it is the strain put on hamstrings, etc., that is the concern. They are not used to the physical demands of frequent matches yet, pressure that training cannot replicate.

    With Djourou, I think Wenger had half an eye on Birmingham. Zigic is tall and I suspect Wenger thought Djourou the best player to be in the side on Saturday. Even a fully fit player would struggle to play two matches in 48 hours and then another sixty-odd hours later.


  21. What would have happened if Djourou had played and suffered a relapse of his injury? Some people seem to think Arsene does things for the sake of it or for just a laugh. Both RVP and Djourou have spend a considerable amount of time sidelined with injury. You think Arsene does not consult the medical team and or monitor the player after every perfomance? Players like Sagna and Kos appear to be very fit and can easily sustain playing more unlike Djourou, RVP even Cesc at present. We are now entering a competitive period with our big name players in good condition and we are better set to wither the storm ahead. I think United,Chelsea and Spurs will suffer more injuries and it will begin to bite. Can you imagine United loosing Rio/Vidic (especially Vidic) or Nani,Berbatov? Or Chelsea without Terry/Essien? I actually think it is better for us to be chasing the pack for now as being on top will bring added pressure which going with past seasons clearly is an issue for some players.

  22. I agree with Runebreaker

  23. Nice post YW-as always

    Wenger did seem to hint he was in the market last night in his interview. I wonder…

    Excited for the Birmingham match, winning that could be a huge lift, and would be a significant 3 points.

  24. Leebo,United have one game in hand,away,to Blackpool.I guess you think that will be a walk in the park? Lifes about opinions but the reason you (and the other doomers)annoy people is A) you want to concede the title after 19 games and B) Calling Wenger a clown is just daft.Im a big fan of Dj but Brum away will be more of an arial game than this so it makes perfect sense to rest him this time.You have utterly no idea,neither does anybody on this blog,what goes on behind close doors at Arsenal and what little injuries players are carrying! Just calm down and put together an argument based on intelligence not foolish rantings about how a team with a much harder 2nd half of the season will “run away with the title” it just makes you look foolish.

  25. Most of the changes were justified for reasons already given. I would have played Walcott personally & perhaps brought in NB52 for Brum as I`m sure Ridgewell will want to leave his calling card on Theo again.

    With Arsene determined to rest Song & Wilshere he had little option than to start Diaby even though he looked rusty in his Chelsea cameo.

    A draw last night may be a good result come the end of the season & good luck to Wigan, I like RM.

  26. Speaking of the four changes Chelsea made that’s all they could afford. Fielding Kakuta and McEahran would be like Arsenal fielding Aneke and Afobe!

  27. Man U have played 8 away games and won only one, yet some people think they are going to run away with the league. Pathetic. As are all the idiots moaning today who were nowhere to be seen after the Chelski game.

  28. That was the real me…at 1.21pm I mean. Well when I say the real me. I mean I am not him but he probably thinks of himself as me too…not me… him. He thinks of himself as me and me as him and I think of me as me and him as him. He might be a real ‘frank’ as he put it, but not this ‘Frank’.

    Anyway I don’t think the result last night is a disaster and we have much better fixtures than any other for the second half of the season. The Citeh game is the acid test….after that it is Country Mile time

  29. Again, the simple overlooked fact that we were up justifies the changes. We can all say what we think but winning is what matters. We failed to deal with the cross, that needs to be worked on as a whole.

    I agree with dups about people only coming on the blog to moan.

    Have a blessed day all!!

  30. YW:

    Good post as always. Losing points to a near bottom of the table team when we score 2 goals is ridiculous. In the last 3 years we have conceded 31, 37, 41 goals and this year on pace to concede 44 goals. The boss said our defense has been the main problem for 2 years in a row now and indicated he would fix the problem. The only reason we are even close to the top at this point is because United is on course to concede 35 which is historically bad for them. None of us has a clear crystal ball but I think it is unlikely that Rooney will only score 1 goal in the 2nd half of the year and even more unlikely that United will continue to concede at this rate. Its clear that our defense has held us back for the last several years in a row and why no one does something to fix it remains a mystery.

  31. Bill, so buying 2 new defenders last summer is doing nothing about it. These players are new to the PL give them a break for crying out loud.

  32. Also on that subject Man U are an injury away from Johnny Evans.

  33. Disappointed, yes. Ready to slit my wrists, no. Teams will drop points during the Xmas schedule – it’s the nature of the beast. The team was good enough to win last night, but the performance was too sporadic and decisions didn’t go our way (not that that’s any excuse – we should have put the game away ourselves).

    Such is life. One bad result is not disastrous – it just narrows our margin for error in our next two games.

  34. Runebraker: “You think Arsene does not consult the medical team and or monitor the player after every perfomance?”

    These idiot doomers think it’s just like their sunday league where they can play hung over and still get a result.

  35. Bill, we had a false penalty and an own goal. Thats the problem with stats, they dont give the full picture.

    United have their first choice defence and you are making excuses for them, we have not had that this season and we have two new players plus one just off of a long term injury and you give them no slack. Your statement lacks balance as you can clearly see.

    Could it be that teams are actually better than in years past, i would say yes..

  36. On the whole, and after the opening 25 minutes exchanges, I thought we dominated reasonably effectively, until those last 10 minutes. Wigan played exceptionally well, a factor not to be overlooked, such spirit is good to see. However, in this match I disagree with YW that the ref errors were secondary. Simply, a 2-goal handicap (assuming we put away a late penalty) is one few teams would ever overcome at Wigan this season.

  37. Bill, I have a feeling Wigan is not going to be hanging out at the bottom of the table come the end of the season given their home form.

  38. Oh, and obviously the changes in the line-up were necessary, i would say even interesting. We have lots more matches. Good to see Bendtner back.

  39. Dups:

    We have been making different excuses now for 5 years. We knew all last year that most of our central defense was out of contract and there was a good chance they would not be here this year . If the boss thought lack of PL experience would be a problem this year he could have averted the problem last year. Its frustrating, several players have come and gone but we consistently have the same problems and I do not understand why we can not at least improve. We continue our slide in the wrong direction with regards to the number of goals we concede. May be this year will be different then the last few and we will get better as the year goes on. I hope so.

  40. dupsffokcuf,

    Or Smalling. Or the evergreen Wes Brown.
    And for comic value, there’s always G.Neville.
    They have collected less ‘clean sheets’ between them then Manic $iteh.

    Heh. Brilliant.

    To paraphrase:
    “…home form against Chel$ki, Siteh etc…will decide our season…”
    Let’s hope we get less Away refs at Home, this season.
    Thinking of Cesc’s handball…it’s time to get the rosary beads out!

  41. Talk about being carried away.

    This game was never going to be easy. There is a pattern here that after a big win we fail to get a result. In 2008-2009, after away win atChelsea, it was 1:1 Middlesborough. In 2009-2010, after away win at Liverpool it war 1:1 at Burnley. Now Wigan. In all those games we were ahead but failed to capitalise. By the way, those teams were relegated later on.

    I think the rotation was ok. However, the substitutions were too late. All in all, very disappointing because the victory was so achievable.

    Our defending of set pieces is shocking. Recently, we conceded from aerial set pieces from Newcastle, Everton, Tots, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Wigan. That’s basically every single game. With our soft central defence, a commanding vocal keeper is a must to defend set pieces. Fabianski’s strengths are more in positioning and shot stopping, I do not think he is that kind of keeper. Szczesny? May be. But knowing Wenger’s habit of ranking players, and Szczesny is after Fabianski, I’m not holding by breath.

    My gut feeling is we are in the dog fight for the top 4 spot. A lot of hard work awaiting.

  42. I agree with Paul N that all EPL teams are better this season. I think the improvement is startling, and very noticeable at a team like Wigan at home. They defend well. They are mobile, have an excellent counter-attack, they are faster and fitter. The gap is closing fast. It’s a good thing. It is the reason ALL top five teams are dropping points, it’s a pattern, not a coincidence.

    After all it stands to reason surely. Managers and their staff are not dumb idiots. They learn fast what works, what doesn’t, or they become Hull. Year on year technical and tactical improvement at Arsenal, ManU, Chelsea and perhaps even Spuds are bound to rub off on all other teams.

  43. I agree with ZP, the refs decisions in this match have a lot to do with the outcome.

  44. So, all the usual ‘experts’ on here explaining away our draw.

    Pathetic and misinformed.

    The only explanation that takes full account of reality is that Darius suggested that we would be second at New Year and thus, historically, go on and win the Title.

    Darius is a clown and should be sacked immediately.

  45. Wenger was on record saying if the Vermalen situation does not improve by Jan he would be in the market for another defender. I think we all agree that Squillaci is only a stop gap measure and Kos/Djourou/Vermalen are for the long term. There is speculation an offer has been made for Metersacker (dont know if there is any mileage in it) but it would be interesting if it was the case. However as has been eloquently discussed in previous posts buying players is not just about splashing the cash and getting what you want. A whole host of variables come to play and ultimately with the new UEFA rules you do not want to be in a position like City where you have a bunch of overpaid players that you cant shift. With the 25 man squad rule it also means that you will severly limit any progress of players above 21. What Arsenal have been doing is now going to bear fruit- Chelsea are already suffering after being forced to let go of their experienced bench and City are now looking to do the same. Our future looks quite bright!

  46. CB – That is a good point you make about Darius. I agree he should be sacked.

  47. You are a man of reason dups not like all these ‘Darius Knows’ fools that this site is full of.

  48. I’m just a realist. FACT

  49. There’s some total bellends in here today, my favourite being the guy who said Sagna “isn’t essential to Arsenal”. Bloody hell.

  50. The comical defending by the french pair sent chills down our spine. Let pair JD and Vermalen together and we may get to serious business.

  51. Jerome, that would be a good idea if they were both fit.

  52. Arsene thought we were quite good last night, if I have interpreted him correctly?

    I thought we were quite good against Chelsea. Don’t see where he gets his assessment of that from last night though.

    I think the “squad” players have proved that they are far from the real deal. Denilson, Diaby, Eboue, Bentdner, Rosicky even, proved last night why they are continually exempt from the starting 11.

    Just my humble opinion, likes.

  53. Lilywhitecanute – what a strange choice on name for an Arsenal fan.

  54. Yes dups, but it’s probably quite close to his real name.

  55. What happened to that twat ATWW? Looks like he was a provoceur!

  56. A s disappointing as it was,a draw was not such a bad result .There is still a lot to play for .I felt it would be a tad optimistic to expect us to pick all the points from the yuletide fixtures.
    That said our flaw has been exposed again ie central defending.Watching replays of the Wigan equaliser,Squillaci own goal or not, that ball would have ended up in the net.He was wrongly positioned and the Wigan guy got to the ball before him.I wonder if Fabianski could have been better positioned in a more central area too.In short,we are failing to keep clean sheets and I find it worrying.
    Enter Chris Samba: word from the grapevine say this guy is available for 8-10 million pounds.Tall,powerful,versatile (able to play central defence,midfield and in attack!),undoubted leadership qualities,tenacious,young (yes I know I’m waxing lyrical) and cheap!Just to mention a few.It would make my year if Arsene signs the guy.I hear that ‘Arry’s after him too.He would solve quite a few of our problems in my reckoning.

  57. The not so fascinating conclusion of my survey of D-Fences and clean sheets is:

    That the team with the most defenders, the most expensive defenders, the highest paid defenders (all after $iteh),

    The Most Exciting Team in the World,
    Champions Elect,
    Bearers of Bale,
    Custodians of the future England Manager/rip off merchant,
    Formerly known as ‘Arry’s Hotspurs of Croydon (as they say: FACT),
    now representing some far away tax haven,

    The Tiny Totts,

    Have two ‘Clean Sheets’ in the league this season.

    a) I have a tiny football brain.
    b) Champions Elect III (after Chel$ki),
    The junket of Manic $iteh have the most ‘Clean Sheets’. Nine, four when still fresh before the 25th of September.
    c) They play Arsenal in less then a week, and have been resting some players too. Exciting, eh?

  58. > $iteh were or are Champions Elect No.IV, as in the eyes of most of our plunditry, Mancini has had a poor record as a manager when compared to say, the Ooooooooooooze.

  59. Gunman – Samba was in the team spanked by the mancs just a few weeks ago. I would not want him near our squad.

  60. Dups ,would you blame an individual for the failure/collapse of a team???
    By the way I think he scored their only goal in that thrashing.Does that say anything?And he’s not even a striker.

  61. Lilywhitecanute, Diaby? Didnt Diaby just come back from Injury.

    If not for the own goal we wouldnt be so smart today.

  62. The players are good enough. i am hoping that Arsene’s words ring loud and clear in the defenders ears.

  63. Good comments here to the complaints and whinings of the besserwisser misery brigade.

    re: yogi’s report stating that Squillaci was on the wrong side of Caldwell when the goal came. That must mean he was on the right side when the corner kick was taken. 😉 I’m pleased he had the cojones to try and head the ball, because Caldwell would have nicked it in easily. Now he is the one to blame, but that’s what professionals have to take.

    BTW it was a fantastic corner and Wigan had so much heart. I wonder what other team would have saved that one.

  64. Yeah they are good enough.But we need more than ‘good’.That defence needs tweaking.I choose to be a realist.We concede cheap goals and we should not gloss over that.And take note, often times this season we’ve conceded through the centre and not the flanks.I hope as you all do that TV5 returns soonest.He and Djourou our best CB’s as far as I’m concerned.Kos will come good.You can see it in his play.Squillaci is over 30 and I don’t see some massive transformation in his game.For some vague reasons he seems to remind me of Almunia.

  65. This year we struggle with set pieces. Last year we seemed to improve our defending of set pieces and gave up a lot more goals in open play. The year before we struggled with set pieces. Its frustrating and difficult to understand.

    Arsene said:

    “Nobody looks from the outside to take charge on the organisation side. There is no voice when the focus drops a little bit. You don’t feel that anybody takes charge on alertness and we need to communicate much better than that.”

    How in the world can a title contending team in the top league in the world have such a basic problem? Shouldn’t our coaching staff have had that fixed on the training ground in the preseason? Frustrating!

    I am not holding my breath but I hope the boss really looks at bringing in another CB since TV5 is not realistically going to be back until early Feb then he has to work himself back to fitness which often means lots of niggling injuries. Even at full strength TV5 had some issues as a defender last year so he is certainly not going be a savior.

    All is not lost. If we can win at St Andrews and beat City we will have taken 10/12 of the points over the holidays which is as much as anyone could have expected. Lets see how the team responds.

  66. Why not just coach them not to let their focus drop?

  67. I have to say I can understand 7 out of the 8 changes but why Djo? Especially after playing a very good game against Chelsea? If anything you want your center backs or the back line to stay stable as much and as long as it is viably possible.

    Yet again, one of the curses of having a big squad is that you have to make every one happy.

    I have to also say that referees time after time and game after game make the PL seem as it’s all made up. The referees decisions over the course of the season decides where the title goes whether it’s intentional or not intentional is irrelevant.
    I know some will say it balance itself out, we get calls in our favor and calls against us, but Cesc really nailed it when he said “What’s the difference between the Wigan hand ball in the box yesterday and the one was given against him in the Spuds game?” Not only that, but there was a similar one against Denilson, I don’t recall which game. That is three (intentional or not) mistakes by the referee that can decide the season in the end. Who is keeping count to make sure it balance itself out and all teams get their fair share of referee mistakes?

    I know football is not fair – life is not fair for that matter – but is the season decided then on luck not actual play? Some will say it was in our hands yesterday and we blew it, but not really, if the referee did his job yesterday we would have been 3-2.

    Refereeing is not an exact science but come on, how difficult is it? One referee give a penalty against Clichy at Old Trafford and his full body was on that hand, a RETARD would know that he can’t move his hand out of the way, then you have another RETARD who doesn’t give a penalty when someone clearly puts his hand up to prevent a free kick in the box?

    And if you agree that most referees are RETARDS, then why are we trusting them with deciding who wins titles? With all due respect to them being human and all but how can they be so inconsistent, lack intelligence and some times oblivious?

  68. I thought Wigan played some good football last night. It is a pity that their fans never turn up for games. Mind you some of our ‘fans’ only turn up after a bad results.

  69. We tout the premier league as ‘the best in the world’.But truth be told the referees are not doing the game any service in this country.The inconsistencies are glaring and to make matters worse nobody dare criticize them!
    I have no sympathies for the Mancs but they were robbed of a point at St Andrews the other day by a goal that was wrong on several counts being allowed to stand.
    We can argue till the cows come home about refs not ‘seeing everything or being everywhere’.But what happens when like yesterday, a handball is committed in the full glare of the ref?

  70. Djorou has just been out for 1 year. thats why hes been swapped. AW dont want to risk injuring him now by using him to frequent. THAT is why he is been eased into the team again. Remember Eduardo and all his “niggles” ones he was back, we dont want that on Djorou or Ramsey. Expect him to do exactly the same with ramsey. used sparingly to get fitness back..
    And we are totally right in fuming for denied penalty. look at SAF, he was angry as hell over the goal they suffered yesterday. SAF being angry is ok while AW being angry is whining???

  71. “to make matters worse nobody dare criticize them!”

    That’s what makes me feel that the mistakes are done with the FA approval, therefore they are so blatant and referees know they’re fully protected.

  72. Video evidence. And add a zero to the number of English top level referees, thank you.

  73. I`m not in any way sticking up for English refereees but it seems to be a world wide problem to me.

    Some of the officiating at the World Cup was ludicrous & whenever I see Champions League games or matches from the continent their refs appear as myopic as ours.

    With regards to our set piece problems why not instruct our players to pull the oppositions shirts & yank them to the ground at every opportunity whilst falling over at the same time. It seems to work for everyone else.



    Instead of a solid roast beef sandwich, we were eating Escargots (Snails). WHAT THE FUCK ?!


    WENGER LIES. He lies to cover up the 2-2 draw. He lies to cover up the fuckwit team selection, in which 8 players come on who have never played before. LUDICROUS !!

    We took the bus up to Wigan, but we didn’t park the bus. Squillachi is italian for squander. We’ve got to get rid of the fucker. Koscienly is 4th rate. We need a roast beef centre half – fast.

    Wenger – this is your last chance.

  75. The silly thing about everyone obsessing about the ‘8 changes’ is that some of those 8 were essentially returning first team regulars. Chamakh and Arshavin in particular have been in our starting line up all season. There’s even a case for saying our centre back pairing was our first choice available (at least in terms number of games played together). And yet people are talking as if we put out a team of unknown 18 year olds.

    Now personally, I can understand a lot of people being frustrated at our defending – particularly from set pieces. And I can also understand people feeling that surely there must have been one truly world class centre back available in the summer. But there is some utterly preposterous vitriol being spouted on other sites that is so spectacularly out of proportion that is borders on a collective insanity. It’s the kind of talk that I could absolutely understand from Liverpool fans at the moment. But we are in really decent shape.

    The flip side to all of this doom and gloom is that we put out almost an entire 2nd 11 that was eminently capable of winning away from home in the premier league! There is no team apart from Man City that could do that in my opinion. Chelsea and Man U most certainly can’t. It is bitterly disappointing that we dropped to points, but the hysteria that has greeted a draw up north away from home is bizarre.

  76. Muppet… Appropriate name…

  77. Aaah Albo, you missed the point. Muppet is our resident satirist…

    1. Squillachi
    2. Koscienly
    3. Squillachi
    4. Koscienly
    5. Squillachi

  79. @ joshua
    Stonkingly good comments at 9:36am today (on YW’s previous post).

  80. ah, Muppet! tee-hee-hee

    1. Koscienly
    2. Squillachi
    3. Denilson
    4. Diaby
    5. Vela

  82. Poliziano @ 6:25PM:

    “Why not just coach them not to let their focus drop?”

    That may be the root cause of most of the problems we have. How the same thing happens consistently to different players over the course of several years remains the mystery. Your guess is as good as mine.

  83. @Muppet: That was funny. 🙂 Satire on the net is challenging and getting even more so… in that way I think you were wise to add the line of “8 players come on who have never played before”.

    re: @Albo: a very, very good post. The first one I mean… 😉

    @yogi: thanks for the blog for this year (again). I’ve made a decision to follow only three Arsenal blogs anymore, and yours stays on because your writing is creative and strong, the thinking is steady and you have decent (meaning sensible) commentators. Thank you. The other ones are Desigunner for his commitment to really analyse with depth, and Arseblog is hanging on with his humour and emotion.

  84. Yogi’s Warrior | December 30, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
    Aaah Albo, you missed the point. Muppet is our resident satirist…

    Oh, sorry. Duh! Trouble is I’ve been reading Le Grove lately and I’ve kind of got used to seeing people write that kind of thing in all seriousness!

  85. Albo – there were a few on here at one time as well.

  86. i think most of us fans stil have the chealsea game perfomance in our minds,which is too much to expect from the lads.

  87. Muppet @ 8:41

    Denilson & Vela on the pull down seats ?

  88. I see that that Darius has not made a reappearance, he knows CB an I have his number now.

  89. Well, we are set for exciting times. Four cups to play for. 5 points adrift of leaders ManU, if they win their outstanding fixture, and they still have to travel away to us, as well as three of the other top four (they have a surfeit of home games, and a terrible away record this season, which says a lot about their current game). ManC is a big big crunch game, and so is Birmingham given their home record. A win there will be a massive result.

    I would say that right now any and all of of five teams are right in this race, and very little between them at this halfway point. Any team able to construct a smallish run of wins in January and February, say 4 or 5 in a row, will take the advantage. It could be any of five. It could be Arsenal.

  90. Welldups, much as I found Muppets ‘Taxi’ list an informed one, the absence of Darius shows his lack of tactical nous.

  91. @ Muppet. LOL

    @ Zimpaul, true

  92. I’m shocked that it has to be explained why Djourou cannot play in every game, let alone a game 48 hours after maximum effort being battered by Drogbafor 90 mins.

    Yes, he is doing great this year – and no, Wenger is not going not going to play him to death and risk losing him after being out for more than a year with a serious knee problem.

    It’s scary to watch Djourou these days – he seems to get pretty much any aerial ball that is anywhere near him – and thumps it miles out. Simply a force! It is clear that the lad is becoming as dominant a defender as Sol Campbell was in his prime – this is something we have not seen since well….Sol Campbell was in his prime almost a decade ago. So its up to the rest to step up and do their shit when called on to relieve Djourou. He simply cannot play in every game and we cannot afford to not have him when these kind of games turn up. If our second-line defenders cannot handle Rodallega in Djourou’s absense, then you know what – they are not the right players to be in our squad and we have no business pretending to be title contenders..

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