Wigan Preview: Once You Get One, You’ll Get…

According to Sir Alex Ferguson, Wigan will leave The Emirates with all three points if they score. His sagacity knew no bounds as he proffered the view that Wigan’s performance last week in defeating United would have seen them comfortably in mid-table had they been able to reach that level every week. They have not hence their annual relegation battle.

I have nothing against Wigan, indeed there is much to admire in their fight to retain Premier League status and Roberto Martinez’s stubborn refusal to stoop to an overly-physical game to achieve that end. Quite why he is a rarity amongst managers in those circumstances remains a mystery; how many teams actually stay up using the long ball rather than playing football? The balance is probably equal.

Alas the generosity that Sir Alex extends cannot be matched here. With Harry Redknapp doing all that he can to prove his England credentials – contentious goal conceded, team in white collapsing in a hapless mess – Arsenal need to increase the psychological pressure on Spurs. This is not lost on Tomas Rosicky, who refuses to allow over-confidence to set in,

We have a great chance to stay in [third] position, but now we have to make sure of it. That starts against Wigan on Monday – and make no mistake, it’s a very big game for us. 

The Czech is well aware of the dangers that relegation-embattled teams pose; QPR proved an insurmountable obstacle recently and historically, struggling sides have made Arsenal work hard in previous seasons. There is a confidence about the squad at the moment which suggests they are more than capable of making these tasks less arduous than it might previously have been.

Roberto Martinez, taking time out from soft-soaping the officials, recognised the improvement in Arsenal,

If there were 15 games left and not five you would consider Arsenal as a team who can win the title

The Spaniard has more faith in the squad than some of Arsenal’s own supporters. Yet he has well-founded grounds for concern in his pandering to official egos, emphasised by the outrageous theatrics of Ashley Young yesterday. The awarding of the penalty was even more baffling than the goal given to Chelsea. By any stretch of the imagination, Young’s fall was unnatural in the way his legs and arms splayed and this highlights a deeper-seated problem – in officiating, not in the bone structure of the United winger.

In recent weeks it is more apparent that referees are not necessarily the biggest problem in the technology debate, more that they are lacking in support from their Assistants on the line. In certain situations you can understand – and have sympathy with – those deemed to be the eyes either side of the pitch. How offside is decided in borderline cases involves a substantial amount of guesswork hence the apparent increase in late flags. The speed of the game necessitates some change to the offside law to accommodate this.

Yet in the case of Young against both QPR and Villa, it is inconceivable that neither of the Assistants or the Fourth Official, saw the exaggeration in the player’s fall but none had the courage to intervene. If they did then the referees in choosing to ignore such opinion reveal their dictatorial mindset on the pitch; if they do not trust their closest advisors then they would be better running for high office  in football than a match.

Diving is of course a raw nerve with Arsenal. Robert Pires is our most celebrated culprit and was castigated nearly a decade ago for the ease of his loss of footing. The Frenchman quickly learned and enhanced his reputation with this redemption. And this is before we consider our Brazilian Croat whose career was effectively ended by ill-founded and scurrilous Uefa claims backed by the media.

Why bring up nationalities? It has been long held that foreign players were the biggest source of this cheating yet English football through the years has had its fair share of players who fall to earth all too quickly. Indeed, the most recent culprits in the Premier League tend to be natives: Rooney, Gerrard, Young to name but three. All England interationals, all escaping the wider mauling that has been heaped on Arsenal players by the insidious Fleet Street xenophobia.

Arsène’s punishment of a mandatory three match ban might work in deterring all but the most determined charlatans. The issue has always been clouded by the issue of intent. In the case of Young, the intent to exaggerate is not hard to distinguish but faced with a robust challenge – or an opponents body shape that indicates an incoming assault – many players will take evasive action not to deceive deliberately but to mitigate injury. Those are the cases where matters can look worse and be misinterpreted. In our judgemental world, these require judicious management.

Back to tonight. There is little justification for significantly changing the line-up that won at Molineux. Indeed, I find the rationale for more than one adjustment hard to understand. Aaron Ramsey is being hung out to dry in some quarters, the scapegoat for no apparent reason. It is not for that reason I would drop him to the bench, just that Tomas Rosicky may be able to produce more guile on a night where a strong defensive blanket will be operated by the visitors.

That leaves the line-up,

Szczesny; Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Santos; Song, Arteta, Rosicky; Walcott, van Persie, Benayoun

Johan Djourou is another maligned player for Arsenal yet no credit is given when clean sheets are achieved with the Swiss international starting, as have occurred in his last two appearances; both coincidentally 3 – 0 wins for Arsenal. It seems that they are achieved in spite of him rather than recognising his contribution.

Not that it matters what such minorities think. Three points is all that is required tonight and a deflected goal in the last minute will achieve that as much as a low swerving shot from the edge of the area.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 16, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 363 Comments.

  1. Can’t wait for this one. Just love watching the team play and stuffing it down the critics throat.

    Still fuming about that adrian durham prick. What a prick eh?

    COYGs

  2. Top, top post Yogi. Diving, jingoism, complacency, over-confidence, playing football the right way; all covered in such nuanced, balanced prose.

    Well there is neither bias nor corruption in the game. Just modern-day referees having it hard doing a good job. Right Bill?

    Like any good American I have to do my taxes. Ta, ta.

  3. The difficulty with retrospective action on divers is well highlighted YW, but there is no reason why a panel couldn’t sit down and punish offenders where absolutely no contact has been made. That would be a good start. Even more than that, they could also adjudicate on challenges that have been missed or obviously misinterpreted by the on-field officials such as Ballotelli’s challenge on Song last week. It was funny to see Spurs done by that “goal” yesterday though 🙂

    I think your lineup for tonight is spot on. I wouldn’t be in favour of dropping Ramsey and/or Djourou for no reason other than, at the moment, they wouldn’t be first choice such is the form of the other players in the squad who have been in the first XI during the recent impressive run. Let’s hope the boys are well up for this one as Wigan have shown some impressive form of their own in recent weeks.

  4. Crazy cos one does have a soft spot for Wigan and Martinez but, we need to beat them and that’s that. Finishing so strong an getting ready for next season.

  5. The media chased one the best strikers we ever had and certainly one of the best in the Premier League in Eduardo, right out country for nothing whatsoever but, jealousy and a sprinkling of racism.

    The liccle **** Ashley will endure no such ride though.

  6. I would say that our most celebrated diving culprit was Anders Limpar who’s penalties won contributed immensely to winning the league in 90/91 season.

  7. Being honest with all, I do feel very nervous when I see the name djouru on the team sheet. Yes he’s kept some clean sheets but, it’s not easy for one to forgot the lack of concentration that runs through him and the panic he can cause. I just hope he starts where he left off because he looked solid but…….

  8. ok i am back. was away for the last 2 weeks with limited internet.

    but now i am back.

    didnt i say a while back that our midfield will get goals? who scored the winner against shitty?

    ramsey will score a couple before the season ends.

  9. My preferred lineup for the FA cup final would have been Chelsea vs Everton though..but yeah one out of two is not terrible..

    For me I think it will be a toss up between Yossi and Gerv and I think on form Yossi will retain his place, but yes we need to start well and hopefully get some early goals…dont know how much of the match I can watch today though 😦

    Anyways..Come onnnnn ya gooooooooners!!!!

  10. Part of the reason for the furore, which surrounded the Eduardo incident, was that there was a huge amount at stake – Celtic had been a little unfortunate over the 2 legs and the incident was seen, rightly or wrongly, as a crucial event in deciding the outcome. The stakes were deemed so high that the reaction (led by voluble outcry from almost everyone Scottish) was extremely disproportionate. The same thing happened with Henry against Ireland. Had that happened in a fixture earlier in the qualifying round, I doubt so much would have been made of it.
    This, of course, only tells part of the story with the media sensing anger they could tap into and then exacerbating it – in the foulest way possible – by pouring bile and kerosene on to the subject for weeks. It was yet another disgusting chapter in the long history of Britain’s ugly ‘journalism’ and Eduardo publicly scape-goating and vilification was, for me, unforgivable. As Arsenal fans we all share righteous anger at this injustice.
    Thank goodness Wenger stood tall and showed typical class under pressure – correctly refusing to apologise and pointing out that nobody apologises when it happens to The Arsenal. He also made the valid and pertinent point that Eduardo did not look to the referee to claim the penalty and would not have complained had it not been awarded.
    None of which is to claim there is not a clear hypocritical, xenophobic and jingoistic agenda that taints our media. But then we knew that already – I don’t know why it would surprise anyone.

  11. It feels like it has been ages since our last game and can’t wait for tonight, hope they demolish Wigan but any win will do.

    Nowadays my motto is to defend the current scapegoats especially to my friends who I watch games with, for every mistake these players are berated for, I point something good that they are doing and also note mistakes of other teammates which go unnoticed by the critics.

  12. To be quite honest I expect arsenal to win wigan with RVP on target and the comment by sir Alex is simply sour grapes from their defeat at wigan.As me and millions of my country men can’t make a trip to the emirates we watch our matches on tv and its quite frustrating to see referees making bad calls in games.Young has won himself a name for diving and I believe the FA favours some teams.I also remember that we lost our 49 unbeaten run by a rooney dive.Many people over here believe Ramsey is not playing well and are surprised that we don’t get penalties.That said I believe even with our poor start to the season we would have been closer to the top if we also benefited from referees

  13. On the subject of the FA Cup Final – you know there is a tenuous link coming – want to remember when Chelsea were undeniably pants before? Too young to remember when they were really crap? Or when we effectively condemned them to relegation?

    http://afchistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/chelsea-are-doomed-after-losing-to-arsenal-on-this-day-16th-april-1979/

  14. Good morning ACLF.

    It says a lot when Roberto Martinez confesses that he fears the match officials more than he fears the Gunners. I suppose if the object of the exercise was to make the Premier league the most unpredictable league in the world, hence provide additional currency to sell the brand worldwide, then the howlers we’re seeing from match officials make perfect sense.

    I like the Wigan manager, and I like the way they express themselves. I like them enough to want them to stay up in the Premier league. But tonight, they’re the enemy and I feel nothing for them. I expect us to battle with them as if they were the best team in the world. Wigan will be dangerous and they will play like they have nothing to lose and that makes it a very difficult game.

  15. I’ve always been shouting the praises of a sin bin. 10 mins off will make the ref’s decisions easier to give as I feel that they are hesitant to give cards for simulation.
    I think the boys will be up for this one and not be over confident. I fancy Wigan too but I’d love Arsenal to stuff ole red nose’s words down his throat. Even when we’re not in it he needs to rub us up the wrong way.

  16. Ramsey has playing pretty decently – as is evidenced by the number of very good chances he has on goal. Unfortunately he has lost his composure and confidence when it come to scoring. As is so common, when confidence is low, he is over-thinking rather than just putting his foot through it.
    He’ll be fine once he breaks the spell – I predict he’ll score a hatful next season.

  17. Does anyone here have knowledge of Latin?

  18. I’m glad the Hottentots were humiliated last night. I can’t stand their arrogance and inferiority complex. It’s funny how they’re the only top flight team who keep reminding thg us through the media that they have better players than their opponents. Robbie Keen, Bale of Nazareth, Van Der Vaart, Defoe are only the latest players trumpeting on about how Spurs have improved and have a better squad and players than Arsenal or (….fill in the blanks….).

    When you have class, you don’t need to stand up on Tottenham Hill and shout it aloud.

    I wonder if they’ll make a DVD of yesterday’s game with the photo of the chaos around the 2nd goal making the DVD cover.

    And that ‘Arry. What is it they say in him as a manager. 4 wins out of 13 games is relegation form. For crying out loud, Wily Ol Woy is a more experienced manager and his Estbrom team have better form than the Hottentots.

  19. I bet Rowan Atkinson is getting slaughtered by the Tottenham fans on Twitter after that goal-line decision yesterday.

  20. Subtle CB 🙂

  21. Gunner From Nigeria

    A win tonight would be our 21st league win of the season and our 13th home win.

    With so few draws this season (4 in number) we could easily have been in the title race this season inspite of the terrible start especially when you consider that of the 9 defeats in the league this season, only the 8-2 defeat was the only match we were really turned over and, even that would have been different if Van Persie had scored that penalty.

    Other than that, the defeats at Spurs, Ewood Park, Etihad, Swansea, Fulham, Qpr and home to Liverpool and ManU are matches we could have gotten something from.

    In putting things into perspective, should we end this season well as we are doing now, some quality additions can take us to another level next season because some experience head are now part of the group.

    Hoping for 3 points tonight.

  22. Limestonegunner

    Good points YW.

    I’d start the Ox at home or plan for a sub early in 2nd half, but Benayoun certainly deserves his place. Rosicky is rested and midfield creation will be very important as you noted.

    Rvp hopefully will get an early goal and the floodgates open.

  23. The Real Stew Black

    Great stuff YW, especially “Not that it matters what such minorities think.” I need to print this out and put it up in front of my screen for when I read the latest tripe about Rambo or Johan or whoever they’ve chosen to scapegoat.
    We have watched the manager vindicated time and again over players and that’s the person I trust.

  24. Yogi’s Warrior | April 16, 2012 at 11:41 am

    “Does anyone here have knowledge of Latin?”

    http://translate.google.com/#auto|

    I love Google. 😉

  25. Rosicky is correct, and I would guess strongly refecting the player talk in the changing room; that’s good. Typically oddball comments by SAF, but meaningless too, a snipe at a resurgent Arsenal, and he’s often “bigging up” lower teams that defeat his, a kind of false flattery. Wigan will do very, very well to take points off Arsenal at our home, so long as we keep our cool heads. But it should be a good game too, since SAF is also right, Wigan are a very good team.

  26. CB | April 16, 2012 at 11:48 am

    eh? Please enlighten me.

    Thanks.

  27. credit should be given to Sir Alex for condemning Young. He’s the only manager to have done it since I started watching The EPL. Imagine Daglish or even Wenger admitting that his player dived?

  28. it’s an ancient Roman language isn’t it? 😉

  29. Only Latin I need to know is

    Victoria Concordia Crescit

  30. Romanis numquam despiciens

  31. Can’t agree YW,

    JD gets much more defence than he gets criticism.

    Which personally I have always found strange.

  32. Absentem laedit cum ebrio qui litigat.

  33. Confucius dicit, “tu ad carcerem, malum puer”.

  34. Looking forward to a good match.

    Incidentally the only “intent” apparent to me in the Young penalty debacle was the defender’s intent to get the fuck out of his diving cheating way and of course Young’s intent to not stay up.

  35. Arsenal’s season would have been better,if we beat that manu at the emirates.Next yr,we will beat them both legs.

  36. Quid tu loqueris irrumabo

  37. dupsffokcuf

    I think you might want to add the following Latin description of Tottenham to your vocabulary.

    “Bastardi Maximus”.

    Thinking of it, it could apply to any munber of folks, not just the Spuds.

  38. dupsffokcuf | April 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    lmfao! haha! That’s some real funny ****! What a bunch of fools.

  39. “n a report, Dr Stephen Baker, Head of Soils and Sports Surface Science praised the standard of Premier League pitches, saying they were “all to a very high standard”.”

    I guess he didn’t go to Sunderland then.

  40. Who’s tonight’s ref? Presumably not CB’s Mr Bean …?

    Suspect we’ll be playing v 12 with the ref bending right through 360 degrees to ensure Wigan aren’t the victim of anything, at all, whatsoever.

    Will need to have a full house absolutely on top of their game to give our boys 12th man parity.

    Interesting listening to the Flying Young debate on the radio with TalkShite’s Keys & Gray refusing to label him a cheat partly because it would mean having to label Owen, Rooney, Gerard the same. The conclusion being that if enough of ’em do it, it’s fine.

    Just don’t think that’s good enough; can think of some latin of my own to describe one who rehabilitates those hurling themselves around a la Bale & Young.

    Cuntinus maximus.

  41. If there were an FA panel to go back and retroactively impose a 3 match ban on divers then Rooney & Bale would miss half the season! Then again since it’s the FA and they are both English players (I know Bale is Welsh) and the FA only really go after foreign players for punishment (except Man City player$$$, I wonder why). That said, the FA can’t even get the fact that Balotelli could’ve broken Song’s leg with his deliberate tackle and just said “Eh, since it wasn’t called at the time we’re not going to do F.A. about it”

    Why doesn’t old Bacon face worry about his team and stop worry about Arsenal? Anything to try to detract from his team of diving cheats weekly antics to win a game hugh.

    Did anyone see the totally absurd penalty awarded to Barcelona this weekend? Exactly why I can’t stand Barcelona. The officials will do anything they can to give Barcelona a win and that was the most obvious example I’ve ever seen.

  42. Great post Yogi:

    Looking forward to a comfortable win today. 2 – 0 I predict. Clean sheet and RVP with a brace. I like your line up.

  43. Aaron Ramsey is an excellent player (& model character) who is struggling with confidence. (jonny – totally agree about thinking too much).

    Right now Benayoun, Tomas, Arteta, and Song are in sync and are Arsenals most lucid midfielders.

    In the meantime if Ramsey is relegated to more of a back up role, it is no disgrace.

    And as many have stated before, it is good to have competition for positions. In the City game, my assessment was that Arsenal’s experienced players made the difference.

  44. YW

    Wondering what sort of response you were expecting when you popped that question 😀 ??

    Not a serious, factual, binary reply I hope 😀

  45. Timeo danaos et dona ferentes – I fear the Greeks, even when they bring gifts!

    Would love to wax lyrical about the merits of a classical eucation, but I picked it up from an Asterix the Gaul book when I was a lad.

  46. Arsenal Andrew.

    Shame on you. Didn’t you know English players are real ‘onest folks who don’t go down easily, or what’s the euphemism used – “don’t simulate”.

    It’s all these dirty cheating foreigners who came here and invaded our way of life and brought over their dirty habits. They need to be kicked out of the game.

    Speaking of which, what the fuck is it about this “…there was contact therefore it is a foul”. FFS – contact does not equal to foul by default. How come players don’t fall over everywhere on the pitch the minute they are “contacted” in a tussle for the ball or when players brush past each other. The contact has to be unlawful for it to constitute foul play.

    Also, those who constantly bang on that he “got the ball” therefore it ain’t a foul. Just because you get the fucking ball doesn’t mean the tackle was not dangerous or didn’t put the safety of another player at risk.

    “He got the ball” – my entire fat arse.

  47. @arsenalandrew
    you realize that “the ref bending right through 360 degrees” means there won’t be any change at all?

  48. Centurion: What’s this, then? “Romanes eunt domus”? People called Romanes, they go, the house?
    Brian: It says, “Romans go home. ”
    Centurion: No it doesn’t ! What’s the latin for “Roman”? Come on, come on !
    Brian: Er, “Romanus” !
    Centurion: Vocative plural of “Romanus” is?
    Brian: Er, er, “Romani” !
    Centurion: [Writes “Romani” over Brian’s graffiti] “Eunt”? What is “eunt”? Conjugate the verb, “to go” !
    Brian: Er, “Ire”. Er, “eo”, “is”, “it”, “imus”, “itis”, “eunt”.
    Centurion: So, “eunt” is…?
    Brian: Third person plural present indicative, “they go”.
    Centurion: But, “Romans, go home” is an order. So you must use…?
    [He twists Brian’s ear]
    Brian: Aaagh ! The imperative !
    Centurion: Which is…?
    Brian: Aaaagh ! Er, er, “i” !
    Centurion: How many Romans?
    Brian: Aaaaagh ! Plural, plural, er, “ite” !
    Centurion: [Writes “ite”] “Domus”? Nominative? “Go home” is motion towards, isn’t it?
    Brian: Dative !
    [the Centurion holds a sword to his throat]
    Brian: Aaagh ! Not the dative, not the dative ! Er, er, accusative, “Domum” !
    Centurion: But “Domus” takes the locative, which is…?
    Brian: Er, “Domum” !
    Centurion: [Writes “Domum”] Understand? Now, write it out a hundred times.
    Brian: Yes sir. Thank you, sir. Hail Caesar, sir.
    Centurion: Hail Caesar ! And if it’s not done by sunrise, I’ll cut your balls off.

  49. longblackcloud

    Darius, I heard that your entire fat arse, “was not that type of player” and therefore imune to critisism

  50. True class, longblackcloud, true class. You look and smell like a Utd fan in disguise. Or are just xenophobic?

  51. Ashley Young dive against Montenegro was the worst diving ever, he actually put his hands together to get a diving stance before hurling himself on the ground. Fucking disgraceful . He has been diving all through this season and he is a bloody cheat. The FA needs to do something to him because he is ruining the beautiful game.

  52. @longblackcloud | April 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Ut in pulicis mille camelos infestant tua balls!!

  53. The Guardian, probably the only media outlet to properly jump onto the story, have highlighted it very well. Especially the linked pictures show that when Young dives, he always does it the same way. Legs spread high up in the air, arms ready to cushion the fall. But the funny thing is that he has been doing it for the better part of a decade and he still hasn’t got the “reputation” or at least referees still seem to don’t know much about him, the way they have been refereeing it most of the times. Ashley Young is a disgrace, there is no other way to put it, and I’d love to see the future England manager give him the opportunity to take a rest over the Euros, telling him to clean up his act if he wants to continue playing in an England shirt. Unfortunately neither Psycho nor ‘honest ‘arry are brave or honest enough to do that.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2012/apr/16/ashley-young-dive

  54. Speaking of languages and expression in dialogue, I’ve always found The Wire to be one of the most fascinating TV series ever done. While its true that any Police force, or any organisation for that matter will have a culture that dictates how they express themselves, the language nuances they use, the unwritten rules, etc; the dialogue in The Wire is just so blunt and raw, its very refreshing.

    I think it helps that none of the actors were established stars when cast into the show, and the ease at which they curse and use all manner of colourful language as part of their day to day vocabulary really brings out the life in the Baltimore PD. My favourite was Bunk the old school homicide detective who seemed to be high most of the time.

  55. The Wire fifth season, everything you need to know about print media.

  56. longblackcloud

    I`ve always had Paul Scholes down as one of the worst divers in the league but no one ever seems to notice – bit like the bollocks (flea infested or otherwise Albert) about him being unable to tackle (another case of a reckless challenge being laughed off by the commentators yesterday) – he`s just a nasty little cheat

  57. Markus – wasn’t it just crazy the way McNulte and Lester Freeman created a serial killer?

    But you’re right, season 5 was an eye opener in how the media operate and how much pressure hacks are under to come up with a sensational story at all costs. I suspect most media houses operate with the same level of ruthlessness.

  58. Yeah I should clarify that one. If anyone has a working knowledge of Latin, can they email me at yogiswarrior[at]btinternet[dot]com.

    Ta.

    PS Quoting Monty Python doesn’t qualify

  59. Verbum Wenger lucerna.

  60. @Darius Stone (@DStoneArsenal) | April 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm , I’ve never watched The Wire (I’m obviously missing out), but it does sound very much like football; “a culture that dictates how they express themselves” = everyone’s doing it so why shouldn’t I, “the … nuances they use” = he went down theatrically, “the unwritten rules” = any contact is a foul, no matter how slight. I’ll have to check it out.

  61. @longblackcloud | April 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I’m sure you have. And kinda like your “Bollocks” at 2:09 pm.

  62. longblackcloud

    Albert my comment at 2.09 appears to have offended you (& Evil), not sure why, but apologies for that. Was a comment (obviously badly made) on managers such as Ferguson, Mcleish Pullis etc who justify their players actions by claiming they don`t normally do it. It was in no way a critism of people with enormous fat arses. I have also missed the xenophobic content, which was certainly not in my mind when I posted.
    cheers

  63. @longblackcloud
    No problem. In fact I was thinking that the comment was a personal attack on Darius and that’s why my response was so unkind. The xenophobic bit came because of conjecture and wrongful thinking on my part. Apologies for that. This internet thing, makes it always so hard to properly express irony, sarcasm and all that!

  64. ““With 60,000 fans screaming you can’t not hear them,” he told the Official Matchday Programme. “It does help us and spur us on, and the more they cheer for us over the rest of the season the more it will help. We always go out and play for them and if we work together it will help us to succeed as a Club.”

    So what plenty of guys have been saying here is true to anyone out there who still has doubts. That is the third comment from an Arsenal player in a week or so saying how positive energy from the crowd affects them positively.

    5 hours to he game? it has been a really slow day!

  65. @ longblackcloud | April 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Wahahahaha.. (*sniff*) 🙂

    Thanks for the laughs LBC. Maybe I misinterpreted your post. Blame it on the beer. But I do apologize on my part.

    And no, I, do not have an enormous fat arse. Cheers. 🙂

  66. longblackcloud

    Albert – Ah beer the cause and solution to most of a mans problems!
    Cheers.

  67. Albert and Evil – Go easy on longblackcloud

    I totally got his joke and I didn’t think it had anything to do with me. Also, I know enough people who’d argue that I don’t have a fatt arse. I suppose I was just being descriptive and trying to express how much of my arse those punks would have to kiss to get me to believe them.

  68. On a more serious (and important) note,

    Do I go for a Braised Beef Burrito or Jerk Chicken on the way to the game tonight?

  69. Jonny

    The Celtic Arsenal game was hardly a close run thing, so to suggest the Eduardo incident was intensified due to the closeness of our game with the whinging moaning, self righteous twats is way off the mark man.

    It was a witch hunt pure and simple and the ‘dive’ was used as an excuse for the Celts going out of the competition.

    Goonerton and Anonymous; Djourou is a quality squad player. you should be thankful we have him. ManU have Jonny Evans FFS! While the spuds have Nelson, Gallas, King and Dawson!

  70. Old style lawyers often have a working knowledge of Latin. Botanists are not bad either. And is it Moldovans too, or one of the former southern Sovietski republics, the poorest of them I recall, that is the closest modern language to Latin? So what you want is one of those lawyer-botanists fluent in Moldovan. Should be simple enough. YW, did you go back to study Latin; did you forget your homework assignment? Latin was a painful experience for me in high school, and resulted in more than one beating as I tried everything possible to be invisible to the teacher and think only of the good things in life; back in those days it was compulsory for 2 years. Two years of random pain.

  71. Matt – it has to be jerk chicken. Come on – and wash it down with a nice cold lager.

  72. Matt, are you kidding. Burrito. Extra chilli. Come on! Sharpen up. And say hi to Santos for me please. I like him, all the way from the tropic of capricorn, almost anyway. I’m not sure he knows this.

  73. Fabrice Muamba has been discharged from hospital and is on his way home.

  74. I have seen at least 2 blogs suggesting Ramsey is sold. The scape goating of our young players is attrocious. I was at Stoke that fateful night Aaaron was stricken by the neanderthal. Raw emotions aside, anyine with a basic understanding of the game can see that Ramsey is a quality player.

  75. Matt – Jerk Chicken. Without doubt.

  76. Ha ha – Contrasting views there Gentlemen!

    I was leaning towards the Burrito with extra hot Salsa from Amigo’s on Holloway Road, very good, but then so is the Jerk Chicken with Rice and a Dumpling from the guy opposite the steps up to the ground.

    Decisions, Decisions.

  77. Thats great news DS.

    The players should dedicate tonight’s performance (and hopefully victory) to him.

  78. What is Yahoo babelfish like for Latin?

    Me dear old English teaching mum believes that learning Latin was her true emancipation, but I could never get passed: Latin is a language as dead as dead could be, it killed the ancient Romans etc etc…..until the Life of Brian.

    You can have her contact details if you like YW if you are desperate. If it is greater classical knowledge you require she can be found late night tutoring the deficient somewhere between Highgate and Kings Cross and the length of the Holloway Road, which may be also be local to you.

  79. Jerk chicken is not real football food, more cricket food; it’s in the great book of “Food for Sport and Other Wonders”.

  80. The dumping’s swung it for me Matt!

  81. Ramsey Sold?

    Why would we sell him?

    Muppet asked the question on Twitter earlier, Name a better 21 yr old midfielder from the UK? (with the exception of Jack).

  82. Yep Dex – the Dumpling may well swing it for me to come to think of it!

    Shit – thinking about food at 4PM wasn’t a good idea – I feel hungry now.

  83. SA

    Highgate and Kings Cross is a bit of a trek for night’s tutoring. About 140 miles away! Just needed something translating, online sites tend to leave a lot to be desired.

  84. Only a fool would want Ramsey sold.

  85. Shit – thinking about food at 4PM wasn’t a good idea – I feel hungry now.

    Heh, it is 5pm over here so I am closer to food than you. I feel a cheeky portion of Gyros on the menu tonight. With lots of lovely Zatziki.

  86. I assure you, a Burrito with that delicious salsa will satsify all the various working parts, beautifully choreographed, the passing game, where as a jerk chicken, way too much rice and suspiciously non-chinese dumplings … well, I leave you to draw the obvious conclusions.

  87. There are a few idiots out there Andy/Matt it seems. henderson cost £20m and will never be any where near as good as Aaron.

  88. Good stuff! there are really some issues that need to be dealt with regading refs. There must be more accountability for sure.

    As far as Djourou and Ramsey, you wonder how Djourou starts for a very good national team and how Ramsey became the Captain of the Welsh team. We are lucky to have them, you best believe that!

  89. Stop telling me what’s in Series 5 of the Wire – I’m only on series 3. I enjoy it, but it’s hard going sometimes – they need subtitles.

    Well said firstlady.

    @ Dexter
    Agreed – Eduardo’s penalty made no practical difference – they had to score two goals regardless. it was Celtic’s pride that was hurt because we made them look like mugs over both legs. And (I am told) they have connections in Uefa so were able to make a stink.

    And Muamba discharged from hospital.

  90. Ramsey is a top quality player, people seem to forget that he is only 21 and has come back from a career threatening injury.

    Not to forget he chose us over Man Utd, so he deserve’s a lot of loyalty back for that.

    A midfield of Ramsey, Jack and Chamberlain will do me just fine in the future.

  91. Could I potentially interest you in a seriously hot tandoor chicken, almost blackened on the outside, juicy inside, cooked properly over coals, with a coriander accompaniment, and some little deep-friend spicy potato balls? It’s either that or an angry duck from Thailand.

  92. Aaron Ramsey will one day captain Arsenal.

  93. I must say, I am so looking forward to watching Chelsea pit their defence against Lionel Messi. Sideshow Bob is out, but between Basingwa/Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry and Ashley Cole, I can’t see anything but a keystone cops episode with Messi as the director.

    Barcelona strategy will be simple – Messi to run at Terry or any of the defenders with the ball stapled to his boot. If they “make contact” as they say out here, I bet you its a nailed on yellow card. If they hesitate Petr Cech is picking the ball from the back of his net. Either way, any defender with a yellow card and Messi dribbling towards you is a no-no.

  94. John Cross showing what a twit he is;
    -up.

    Van Persie has brought the best out of Theo Walcott with his telepathy-like understanding.

    He has done the same for Alex Song. Mikel Arteta, too.

    Thomas Vermaelen also seems to be inspired by his close pal.
    ______________

    Yep, its all down to RvP.

  95. Just had some Jerk chicken over the weekend.

    ZP, you could leave out the rice and have some good hard dough bread!

  96. FunGunner. Enough said about The Wire. Enjoy the rest of the seasons.

    The language is ‘deep and colourful’ though, huh?! I think any transcriber would blush when doing the subtitles.

  97. Now I’m having arguements with my wife about jerk chicken. She’s adamand she’s already plotted meals for today and tomorrow and if I want to eat jerk chicken, I can find a Jamaican restaurant (she knows there’s none anywhere near us).

    Damn you Matt…LOL

  98. Ha ha, I will eat it in your honour Darius.

  99. So – Jethro is OK for today. I suppose he’s been shagging less and going easy on his groin. I think he’ll start the game ahead of Brazil.

  100. And in other more important news, FIFA has awarded Martin “the butcher of Birmingham” Atkinson with a game on Monday between Senegal and Oman. Message is clear: Fuck up 2 big decisions, one being a leg breaker and another a phantom goal, and you get a nice juicy International game to referee.

  101. Paulie Walnuts

    As Benny can`t play against the Chavs might it be a good time to give a start to either AOC or Gervinho tonight ? Rosicky in for Ramsey as the only other change.

    Darius 2:01 – agree with every word

    Oh, & anyone who hasn`t watched The Wire really should do so ASAP. No excuses – stick it on your bucket list.

  102. Thanks guys for recommending the wire.it is been put on my next to download list 😀

    Darius ingia jikoni upike. I have a bad feeling about Barca chelsea game, I think chelsea may succeed in parking the bus and sneak through to the final. As long as Beyer win the final I’ll be happy (any of the other three teams winning it is stomach churning).

  103. First lady – you won’t regret it. I think the Wire has been short-changed in not being fully recognized as one of the most powerful TV series that deals with real life issues in a very practical way. Most of the accolades seem to have gone to The Sopranos, The West Wing, and 24, but the Wire is right up there.

    Warning, they have colourful language and not recommended for family viewing.

  104. Dex et al – free bit of Latin for you there – Jeez!

    Please note the use of the words ‘right or wrongly’ – they’ll give you a clue as to why you are picking holes a tad unnecessarily.

    Defensive much? Well it is a Monday I suppose.

    I was explaining why I think THEY felt hard done to – this seems to have been somewhat lost!

    Finally it was nowhere near as simple as the scoreline, or you, attests – the goal whilst not decisive still (understandably) felt to them a crucial moment and was not the only moment of bad luck they had over the two games a fact which was not wasted on Wenger at the time:

    “I suppose Celtic have been unlucky over the two legs against us with an unfortunate goal from William Gallas and an own goal from Gary Caldwell in the first leg”

    Yes it was witchhunt but I alluded to that anyway – I’m more interested in looking at why and I think the wider points I raised are of merit.

    Or, as PG would say, Fuck Off Dex! 😉

  105. @Firstlady – my wife is feisty about her kitchen. The only thing I’m allowed to do is wash the dishes and take out the trash.

  106. Great post.

  107. Could I potentially interest you in a seriously hot tandoor chicken, almost blackened on the outside, juicy inside, cooked properly over coals, with a coriander accompaniment, and some little deep-friend spicy potato balls? It’s either that or an angry duck from Thailand.” You certainly could. Either sounds right up my street. There is a great little Vietnamese near me where I often go for the biggest noodle soups that you ever saw. Mmmm, I love Asian food.

  108. Darius, atleast that’s something, as Matt said he’ll eat on your behalf.

  109. Darius you’re kidding right?! You should read The Guardian they practically set up a foundation in honour of The Wire as The Single Greatest piece of TV in The History of The World Evah! I love The Wire and all but there was a collective jizzfest during the entirety of it’s fifth season including a live blog!
    I actually started to wonder if the paper was being paid by HBO.
    I’m currently watching Breaking Bad which, whilst not directly comparable, is way more ‘enjoyable’, and amazingly written – can’t recommend it highly enough.

  110. Anyone seen this?

  111. Just gone through the posts. Apparently Darius hasn’t learnt a thing from Andy Capp!

  112. Oxlade-Chamberlain 60,000 screaming your name when you warming up and 1billion screaming from the bar.If young gets a penalty for diving then he deserves a penalty for the tackle by stephen Ireland cos the ref was nowhere near there.Just my thoughts though.I think i’ll get a bigger TV as Thomas Vermalean is called this days.Got to see them in actual size….

    Ego amare modo ludere speciosa ludum..lol

  113. @Paul
    I do not understand what Cesc is doing there. Is he bored? Trying to distract the goalkeeper? Did someone put something funny in his pre-match tea?

  114. Distract the keeper.

  115. I looks like he wanted to make the keeper think the free kick would come that side.

  116. Jonny – on your recommendation, I must check out Breaking bad. I’ve kind of missed having a regular show to watch and I love a good script. I wasn’t aware of the Wire jizzfest by the Guardian…LOL – but all the same, it is a great show. Pity there’s less British productions like that. I think Spook – which run out of storylines by season 3 is the only one that has done more than 8 seasons. Some Spooks storylines were interesting, but I guess you can only have so many terrorist plots against the realm before things start getting ridiculous.

    Harry Pearce seemed like a Chelsea fan though.

  117. Whatever he was doing, he looked a right clown.

  118. Arsenal stat for you?

    Since the 97-98 season, Arsenal has played 14 games at home on Monday night, won 14, scored 38 and conceded 6 goals. Paddy power has oddds of 2:7 for an Arsenal win.

  119. spot on yogi the psychological impact on the spuds will be big with a win tonight especially after yesterday tee hee there should be no complacency tonight.

  120. Yeah Spooks was good but jumped the shark pretty damn quickly. I remember the season opener where the woman who you thought was a key character was killed by heaving her head shoved in a deep fat fryer. That was audacious and outrageous.

    Breaking Bad, we only started it very recently, but my house is thoroughly hooked – and we’re already onto Series 3. It has more ‘OMG moments’ than any show I have seen and all of the main characters are so well drawn.

    It’s a great set-up (chemistry teacher with terminal lung cancer sets up a lab creating the best, purest meth in the world (with one of his students) to provide for his family – his ingrate pregnant wife and his teenage son who has downs and thinks his dad is just the greatest).

    The lead character is the dad from Malcolm in The Middle – you’ll never see him in the same way again.

    I’m already worried that I’m over half way through the total number of episodes – though I have it on good authority series 5 is under way now – which is a relief. 😉

  121. its match day..come on..

  122. Jonny – I think the killing of that female Spook in the second episode of season 1 shocked everyone, not least because she wasn’t shot or stabbed like everyone else, but shoved face down into a deep fat fryer without any warning or confession time that is so common with ‘last minute’ speeches. It was ruthless and toe curling, but at the same time very audacious. I think that episode to date stills holds the record for the highest number of complaints to the bbc for a specific scene that was considered unworthy of TV.

    What was interesting about Spooks is that you never knew who was going to die and they were killed without fuss and life moved on. I suppose that’s a danger all Spooks face, but the show was just ruthless in killing off the cast. But you’re right, it became harder and harder for them to maintain constant cliff hangers with every episode. I suppose when you kill off all terrorist, its ridiculous that more come off from nowhere just to make an episode exciting. But then 24 seemed to have even more ridiculous plots.

  123. I can second that Breaking Bad is really top stuff.

    And as a recommendation: The Shield. It’s about a corrupt cop in LA who more or less plays by his own rules and morals, not afraid to “coerce” unwilling suspects by any means necessary and him & his gang are a thorn in the side of the higher ups despite delivering results.

  124. Limestonegunner

    http://www.change.org/petitions/arsenal-football-club-relieve-stewart-robson-from-his-arsenal-player-duties

    If you haven’t yet signed, please do. We’ll be sending this in to the club soon. Those of you watching tv feeds abroad might get a reminder of how awful it is to watch an Arsenal match with Robson commenting soon. I don’t know if he is scheduled to do so or if he is doing it for Arsenal Player.

  125. I have to disagree with Arsene that ‘foreigners’ bought diving to the PL. One of the worst divers I have ever seen (funnily enough a former manure player!) was the one and only Mark Hughes, long before any foreigners came to the PL in significant numbers.

  126. Limestonegunner

    Passenal, when did Arsene say that? Perhaps I have missed the reference in comments above; if so, apologies.

  127. Limestone, it’s on the official site and has been on newsnow most of the day

  128. He said it today – I don’t think he literally meant it never existed merely that it increased with their introduction.

    I see Scott Parker made the shortlist for player of the year. Ha!

  129. Tim Krul was more worthy of that short-list than Scott Parker. Hell, even Vincent Kompany.

    Team news anyone.

  130. pedantic george

    Yogi’s Warrior | April 16, 2012 at 11:41 am
    Does anyone here have knowledge of Latin?

    I have watched Al Pacino dance the tango in “Scent of a woman”.Does that help?

  131. pedantic george

    I think we are starting a superb 11 tonight.

  132. The Real Stew Black

    Tomas Rosicky has been named in the Arsenal team for tonight’s Premier League clash against Wigan at Emirates Stadium.

    The Czech Republic international replaces Aaron Ramsey in the Gunners’ starting XI, while Kieran Gibbs is named on the bench after recovering from a groin injury.

    Otherwise it is exactly the same team that started the 3-0 victory against Wolves last Wednesday.

    Arsenal in full: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Santos, Song, Arteta, Walcott, Rosicky, Benayoun, Van Persie.

    Subs: Fabianski, Gibbs, Squillaci, Ramsey, Gervinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh.

  133. You have to hand it to wenger…getting us on this run whilst holding back the ox so he doesnt go to the euro’s.

  134. pedantic george

    Franny Lee was a diver in the 60’s
    Arsene has made a mistake.(wow did I just say that)

  135. The Real Stew Black

    Fetch your coat

  136. Benayoun, Santos and Rosicky. Arsene goes for experience to secure the important points.

    The bench looks ok.

    So, let’s share our confidence after the game not to curse the result.

  137. Yes, I was thinking exactly the same thing Duke last week Duke.

    The cunning old fox doesn’t miss a trick.

  138. Wigan has only scored 1 goal at the Emirates since we moved from Highbury.

  139. Steww.

    Guess what – Steven Hughes, Mr “very much so” is the summarizer for Tim Peters on Player – I might be able to count how many times he says “very much so”

  140. Wigan are defaulting to “park the bus” mode when they don’t have the ball. All players behind the ball

  141. The Real Stew Black

    Darius – aaaaargh!
    I’m watching superb sopcast stream. Russian comms.
    ps think I’m little bit in love with T Rosicky

  142. The Real Stew Black

    Bad challenge Robin. Not dangerous like Paul Scholes just bad.,

  143. The Real Stew Black

    which stream is it? cant find one

  144. The Real Stew Black

    Darius he stretched his left bollock

  145. Well well well – that was a coupon buster

  146. theonlyredsteve

    http://www.sportlemon.tv/wv-2/18/168/v-396988.html

    seems OK so far except Wigan just scored

  147. Limestonegunner

    unbelievable.

  148. Ramsey coming on for Arteta – at least we have 80 minutes to recover.

    What the fuck.

  149. The Real Stew Black

    Took it well didn’t he? Very unusual for Szezz to miss time those.

  150. Here we go. 0:1.

    From the very start they are lining up for a counter.

    Will be a challenge today.

    And here we go 0:2.

    Blimey…

  151. Limestonegunner

    2 cases where Chezzer was not able to get the ball out of danger and where the defending has been a bit confused.

    Come on lads–let’s get two back before the half.

  152. Even if we were down to 10 men between Arteta’s free kick and the 2 goals…this is fucking shocking…LOL.

    I’m going to walk out of the room and walk back in, and everything will be OK.

  153. Not really sure what we are doing there?

  154. The Real Stew Black

    Jesus. Well another famous comeback to come. Hang on folks this could be a hell of a game.

  155. WTF….Ok. Lets wake up now lkads. Arsenal to score 6 now.COYG

  156. The Real Stew Black

    Main thing is this team won’t panic, won’t give up.
    Nor should we.

  157. OMG. Missing Kos is a bigger deal then we thought.

  158. @Bill
    Mind to explain? For the first goal it was after a corner, so Koscielny would’ve been exactly where Djourou was — in the opposition penalty box.

  159. The Real Stew Black

    Depressing thing is hearing the groans if Ramsay loses the ball. Who the fuck thinks that helps?

  160. Al habsi having the game of his life again. Benni so close agin. same score at this time of the game against Spurs and look what happened to that lot. COYG

  161. So – come on you gunners. The crowd should lift the spirit of the stadium – let’s start the come back.

    Al Habsi feels like having one of them days.

  162. The Real Stew Black

    Bill Johan not responsible at all. get a grip man.

  163. OMG Al Habsi. What a save.

  164. Limestonegunner

    al-Habsi looks like he’s ready to have one of those typical goalkeeping blinders against us. We’ll have to be very clinical in our finishes. Hopefully we can keep him under bombardment for 80 minutes.

  165. What is interesting is that Wigan are playing 4-3-4. Do you think we are having problems adjusting to defending this system?

  166. I blame the loss of Koscielny.

  167. The Real Stew Black

    In fact Johan has been superb breaking up their play.

  168. Limestonegunner

    Vermaelen!!!! Whatever the system, it is very crowded in the central part of the field. Now Wigan were sitting back and they’ll know they do have to keep playing.

    Come on, let’s get the equalizer right away!!

  169. Vermalen. The Hero.

  170. Vermaelen………………super cross from Tomasz. Game on!

  171. Get in! We are so f*cking going to win this. Perfect play by Rosicky.

  172. The Real Stew Black

    And so it begins. Like i said. Never panic never give up. two out of character mistakes from our keeper doesn’t mean anything to this side.

  173. Limestonegunner

    What a strike from RvP–right at al-Habsi but so quick.

  174. Limestonegunner

    Oh, Djourou, so close!

  175. The Real Stew Black

    What a shot RVP.

  176. So, do you think Wigan threw a flash bang grenade into the hornet’s nest? This team is pissed, they’re really pissed and I’m loving it.

    Did Djourou just hit a daisy cutter? This Arsenal team is pissed…LOL

  177. So close Johan, so close…

  178. A 10 – 9 win would be fun.

    TV5 is a beast.

  179. RVP… Djourou…

    Come on!!!

  180. Limestonegunner

    Time-wasting by Wigan has already begun.

  181. Limestonegunner

    Wasted chance–Rosicky gave the ball too soon to RvP and the return just behind him.

  182. The Real Stew Black

    Can’t blame them for wanting to catch their breath. They just reaped a whirlwind.

  183. The Real Stew Black

    What Limestone said

  184. The Real Stew Black

    Is it really only 27 minutes? Jeez.

  185. Limestonegunner

    Feverish pace has slowed down just a touch. Let’s keep them under pressure.

    What? Looked like a foul on Rosicky to me.

  186. Ashley Young would’ve demanded a penalty for that … and gotten it.

  187. This game reminds me of the game against Standard Liege in the CL about 3 years ago – I hadn’t even finished pouring my drink and we were 2 nil down.

  188. We are also playing against the ref today.

  189. Limestonegunner

    Wigan’s defenders seem pretty good, but their central midfield is quite open. Arteta is a miss because he would take some good shots from distance. Maybe Ramsey will get a decent strike from midfield. Santos could be the difference. Very clever and strong player.

  190. Watching us play and try to unlock a defence is very much like what a bowler does in cricket. We are tempting them with short passes, trying to lure them out, just to strike quickly by playing a different pass and get the goal.

  191. Limestonegunner

    Right on cue, Santos with good attack but the shot curls wide.

    I think this game is calling out for the Ox. It is so narrow and packed in the centre so we could use a tricky wide player to cut in balls from the by line to RvP and others to finish in their box.

  192. This game reminds me of the home game against Bolton in 2009-2010 when we went two goals down in the beginning and managed to win 4:2. Rosicky scored in that game.

    Something tells me it will be more difficult today.

  193. No way Wigan can hold out much longer. We should score 4 -5 at this rate. Just like Spurs they won’t know what hit them.

  194. Limestonegunner

    Benayoun has had some great headers but the Ox can dribble past players and there is more space for him as Benayoun doesn’t seem to like carrying he ball wide for crosses in.
    Still, I back this very group to get us to the half all square.

  195. Limestonegunner

    I hope you are right Bill. Hopefully we get a goal quick.

  196. Rosicky is just awesome, isn’t he? Dribbling through all of them just like that.

  197. The Real Stew Black

    Time. Wasting.

  198. Wigan are playing like it’s the CL final. And by that I mean that they are trying to protect heir result at all costs. Can’t remember the last time I saw time wasting in the 30th-ish minute.

  199. Jeezy Peez. Wasn’t that Djourou who saved us a 3rd goal?

  200. Limestonegunner

    Djourou has been perfectly fine. The whole defence was discombobulated on the first two goals.

    Wigan starting to get some joy in the final third.

  201. If Wigan stay this deep, I think the Ox and Gervinho will work the front flanks better than Theo and Benayoun.

  202. Limestonegunner

    Rosicky has been our most dangerous player in attack, I think, followed closely by Benayoun for his two headers.

  203. The only thing that Ramsey could do to improve is to release the ball much earlier, he hangs on to it for way too long. If he changes that, he’ll be lethal.

  204. The Real Stew Black

    No question they are good going forward. But then we are good all over.

  205. the only thing Arsene Wenger should say at half time is “You got yourselves into this mess, get yourselves the fuck out”.

  206. Limestonegunner

    That’s what I was thinking too Darius–I thought the Ox should do well in this circumstance. I wasn’t sure if Gervinho is available.

  207. The Real Stew Black

    Moe that cliche is repeated so often and i think it’s just rubbish. He doesn’t pass if the pass isn’t on. Just like Arteta.

  208. Limestonegunner

    What a joke of a ref. Fine, if it wasn’t a legal free kick–blow up for it, but does RvP have to come all the way back to take it again? Can’t anyone do it?

  209. The Real Stew Black

    If everyone started saying that Santos is crap in the air then every missed header would cause it to be repeated and lo it would become received wisdom.

  210. If Steven Hughes says “very much so” again, I’ll blow a gasket – LOL! It’s growing on me now…

  211. Limestonegunner

    Surprising to see Song being dispossessed or feeling rushed–usually he can hold almost anyone off. But we are pressing well but are unlucky not to have got the equalizer.

    We’ll have to get a quick goal at the start of the second half to keep Wigan from just sitting back. The open game suits us though it has led to Wigan having some good attakcs and even goals on the counter.

  212. No smoke without fire kinda thing here, im not singling him here. Every player could improve something.

  213. The Real Stew Black

    Well Wigan clung on by the skin of their teeth. Can’t wait for the second half.

  214. Limestonegunner

    Hughes can’t stop himself from saying that in response to every prompt from the co-commentator. I think the other fellow has to start saying some outrageous things that Hughes can’t agree with so that he doesn’t say “very much so” in agreement!

    Much better than listening to Robson, however!

  215. Limestonegunner

    Santos has been very good for us in attack. He’s perhaps been a bit out of position once or twice at the back but the goals have really come from the right through Victor Moses’ invention. One very good attack from the left by my count.

    Not worried about the defence, just whether we can be clinical in our finishing and create some more good chances–I think we will need help from wide positions as Theo hasn’t been able to create anything in the close quarters there and that isn’t Benayoun’s game. So I am with Darius–Ox and Gervinho if available might be just what we need.

  216. Gap between defence and midfield has been very noticeable, maybe its got more to do with Wigan unique formation?

  217. Wenger ooot…Rice in.

  218. Looks like our Norwich at home moment to show whether we deserve the 3-rd spot. Not for the faint-hearted.

    With the deep opposition defence, Theo does not feel comfortable, and there is not enough space on the left. We’ll see what changes after the break.

  219. great game of football though, eh chaps?

  220. Bugger the great game of football!

  221. I think this game changed when Arteta went off immediately after that free kick. Stew seems to think his left testicle was pulled out of joint a bit…

    But Wigan ended up on a 4 v 2 counter attack because Arteta was out of synch (through the injury and no fault of his own mind you). The second goal came in that confusion while Ramsey was still trying to get on.

    @Limestone – Tim Peters (the main presenter) should say something ludicrous like “That Van Persie chap, he’s pretty useless and doesn’t even deserve a punt as player of the season”. I’d love to see if Hughes right on cue says “very much so”.

  222. Limestonegunner

    Ditto, Cbob! I want a great game that ends in an Arsenal win!

  223. Just seen the score! Come on boys – another one of your famous comebacks, please.

    My favourite commentator is Adrian Clarke.

  224. theonlyredsteve

    Like Victor Meldrew – I cannnot believe it (those 2 goals)

  225. Early goal and we win this, positive start

  226. Oh no, Arteta injured?

  227. This game needs The Ox as quickly as possible. Theo is not going to get a lot of joy if they continue to play this deep.

  228. Limestonegunner

    Both Walcott and Benayoun are having difficulty creating from wide in such congested areas. I really would bring on at least the Ox; but you never know when Walcott will burst forward and finish strong. Just not his best strength trying to pick his way between players.

  229. Not a mathematical necessity but we really need at least a point from this game.

    I really thought we would get a second before half time. I can’t believe they can hold us for an entire half of football. If we can hold them I think it will be 3 points.

  230. I like the way Wigan are playing this game like they’ve got nothing to lose. Good spirit and it makes for a great match.

  231. benayoun showing his worth

  232. Ankle injury for Arteta.

  233. Mikel Arteta has an ankle injury but the commentary team don’t know how serious it is yet.

  234. Limestonegunner

    Soon enough Darius, they will start with lost of time-wasting on goal kicks and throw ins and playing for free kicks and going down easily.

  235. The Real Stew Black

    That’s one Szezzer has redeemed.

  236. There’s a good solution to take care of that bloody Victor Moses – LOL. We should just buy him in the summer and problem solved.

  237. Limestonegunner

    Home crowd has been very loud and supportive. That’s good to hear.

  238. Limestonegunner

    Hope Arteta’s ankle isn’t serious. Would like to have him in there v. Chelsea.

  239. Not the best start of the second half. We may need the subs faster then the 66-th minute.

  240. Limestonegunner

    Moses has been a real handful.

  241. Limestonegunner

    SV, I agree–time to bring on the Ox. Maybe Gervinho too.

  242. Gah.

  243. Moses needs to be doubled up on.

  244. Limestonegunner

    RvP is really due for a goal from open play. So hopefully he can create a bit of magic himself. But it would be helpful to get some penetration from either left or right. Sagna is having a torrid time dealing with Moses so he hasn’t been as helpful to the attack as he usually is.

  245. We’ve been wasteful with 3 clear chances. Considering Al-Habsi is capable of a blinder against Arsenal, we need to pull our collectively finger out.

  246. Limestonegunner

    Moses took that too early. No one was going to catch him. What a game he is having, alas!

  247. Phew.

  248. The Real Stew Black

    That attack all came from a throw tht should have been taken 50 yards further back.

  249. Limestonegunner

    Gervinho on for Benayoun.

  250. Right now I would take a point from this one. And the season may be longer than some people assumed (PHW).

  251. come on, djourou not doing himself any favours here.

  252. The Real Stew Black

    Geronimo.

  253. Limestonegunner

    Sagna down hurt in a clash of heads. Hope all will be ok. Wigan player is up.

  254. Come on 3Gs!

  255. Limestonegunner

    Still hoping for a win, but either way it starts with not conceding and getting one goal back.

  256. The Real Stew Black

    Johan Djourou has been absolutely outstanding,. Single handedly kept the presure on in the first half by breaking up every counter and very nearly scored to boot.

  257. Limestonegunner

    Getting quiet now in the Emirates–folks need to make some positive noise.

  258. The Real Stew Black

    Oh sorry that can’t be true he’s one the scapegoats right now isn’t he. That’s what I get for not reading the script.

  259. The Real Stew Black

    Johan djourou is excellent in all the aspects you talk about, except his organisation and his positioning in the back four, and hes just proved me right there as im watching it by being a yard forward of the defensive line and thus releasing the wigan man in behind him.

  260. Limestonegunner

    I’m ready for the Ox. Gervinho has been fine but Wigan are getting a foothold doing the whole time waste and get free kick game.

  261. Stew – don’t be surprised if someone asks if Denilson is playing.

  262. Song is not on song. Neither is Ramsey, Sagna and Theo, which leaves just Rosicky as our creative hub. Our defenders feeling a bit jittery, and at same time, no Arteta to help keep possession in the middle.

    Couple all that with Wigans desire to attack at every opportunity and this game becomes more even handed than it ought to be.

    We at least need our big uns to step up. Or for Wigan to tire.

  263. The amount of moments created in the second half is even.

    The last thing I want would be to prove the Red Nose right.

  264. Limestonegunner

    For Djourou apparently. really going for it if that’s the case.

  265. Steven Hughes is so flustered and frustrated it’s really coming out in his summarizing. He’s really blubbering.

  266. Limestonegunner

    This could be a bit dangerous and the spacing might still be congested. We’ll see–maybe Theo goes centrally. It is worth the risk though.

  267. And So, Alex Song goes iinto defence and if we’re playing 4-2-4, Rosicky and Ramsey need to be strong.

  268. Limestonegunner

    Darius, “very much so”!

  269. Limestonegunner

    Defensive subs for Wigan. The game is set. 15 minutes to create a goal or two. For Wigan 15 mins to hang on.

  270. 17 mins for the ox…not long enough to get a call up.

  271. Limestonegunner

    Marriner is salivating here.

  272. have we got two goals in 15 mins, we do, it just depends on how tired wigan are

  273. Limestonegunner

    He’s being a pure pedant.

  274. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a ref be so pedantic. Three free kicks we had to re-take now.

  275. How a team can waste so much time and how much a ref makes a huge deal of where an offside is taken is beyond me

  276. Limestonegunner

    I’m sure it will just be 2 mins extra time as well.

  277. i think in my head i think it will be a draw at best, at worst a loss but hope the boys prove me wrong and win it.

  278. It’s the 80th minute. Time to go to the corner flag.

  279. Ok, this referee has an agenda here.

  280. Can’t hold the ball at all the moment.

  281. WTF??? That should’ve been a sending off Theo would’ve been clean through.

  282. pedantic george

    I dont like this

  283. Okay, replay shows not clean through. But a yellow and a free kick for sure? Can’t understand how the foul wasn’t given.

  284. well looks like the FA and referees decide what games should be won and lost these days. Horrendous refereeing, this ref has an agenda and its emberassingly obvious.

  285. Unbelievably frustrating to watch.

  286. Does not look good.

  287. looks like we might lose here people, sighs…………

  288. The Premier League is just “full of shit”….make of that what you will.

  289. Ah Well. Fuck that then. Chelsea on Saturday.

    This is disappointing, but we’ve no time to feel sorry for ourselves. I hope Arteta’s ankle injury isn’t very serious.

    We’ve also got to give credit to Wigan. They outfoxed us today as they did the Manure and Chelsea, although they were robbed at Chelsea. I do hope they stay up now, and as Steven Hughes would say – “very much so”.

  290. Sickener

  291. whats this complacency again??

  292. The Real Stew Black

    Well, we battered them, threw everything we had at them. Can’t fault the performance or the effort but hats off to Wigan. They rode theirt luck, sure, they were second best, of course, but they hung in and defended like their lives depended on it.

  293. Well done to Wigan. Much as I detest the old bastard, I suppose Fergie is right.

  294. if tottenham win their next game and newcastle win their next, then there is only a two point gap between us and them. Tonight we brought this on out selves to be perfectly honest.

  295. The Real Stew Black

    No fergie is a cunt. End of story.

  296. ourselves*

  297. pedantic george

    that will teach people to gloat.

  298. pedantic george

    Moe,your maths is right.But you are a boring cunt

  299. We did not create anything worth mentioning in the second half. I think we deserved to be beaten.

    The moment Wenger started praising the second place last season I knew we would not finish second.

    The moment PHW started opening his mouth about the season finish, I felt we were due a bad result. Not everything is lost yet in the fight for the 3-rd, but we make our life difficult indeed.

    The professional attitude of talking when the fight has been won has to be demonstrated from the top, not only by the players.

  300. yeah i gloated before the flipping qpr game aswell…right thats it i’m keeping schtum..

  301. Its all my fault. All the positive thinking the last few weeks had to come to no good. (little sad face)

  302. what can I say? wigan went all out, Martinez set them up well and arsenal got done on the counter attack again…when will they learn?

  303. pedantic george

    SV so are you

  304. Frustrating game. We had all the chances in the world in the first half but didn’t take them, they came out much more organised in the second and denied us well. Don’t think we were complacent — the two goals we conceded were down to a random injury to Arteta who therefore couldn’t track any of the runners in the counter attack and the second came when we were still only 10 men on the field. I think we should’ve done better in the first half, at 2-2 they wouldn’t have been able to sit back and waste time like they are playing a cup final. Also special commendations to Mariner, who in the second half decided to let all the little niggly fouls go when they were committed by a Wigan player but blew his whistle quick and hard when it was the other way ’round. I still don’t understand why the foul on Theo wasn’t given.

  305. pedantic george

    Dont know why you said that, but to be perfectly honest i couldnt care less what came out of your mouth. So i wont rise to it.

  306. struggling to get up another gear which was needed with their defending a lead

  307. cant we fukin draw a game, its either a great win or a shocking loss.

  308. Limestonegunner

    Well, credit to Wigan. They held on. Unfortunately, we didn’t really create great chances in much of the second half. Reminded me of those games in previous years where we had lots of possession in their half but couldn’t find a way through. The Ox ended up playing more centrally, which wasn’t perhaps where he can do most damage. We needed more invention from out wide as Wigan played narrowly.

    We should be alright if we can win vs. Chelsea and get back to winning ways. Tough game away to Stoke, Norwich at home and West Brom away. The last two teams won’t have much to play for but Stoke and Chelsea will be tough.

  309. Played our hearts out tonight but couldnt score. Credit to wigam, they defended well, butAndre Mariner for me is one of the most incompetent refs i have seen, how a team can waste so much time and get a caution for it in ijury time is beyond me.

    A team that is ahead and in need of points will resort to that, but the ref must be strong in clamping down on it, he wasnt.

  310. Limestonegunner

    My last bit on this will be tomorrow morning, so sign ’em if you got ’em.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/arsenal-football-club-relieve-stewart-robson-from-his-arsenal-player-duties

  311. fukin el bill.

  312. Also our subs didn’t really have the desired effect. Ox was playing centrally which probably didn’t suit him (but remember the performance in the return leg against Milan?) but he ended up dribbling himself into trouble and the couple of times he came to their box he ended up getting dispossessed. Gervinho’s trickery did shake Wigan up at the back at times but we still didn’t see much come of it. Unfortunately with Arteta having to be withdrawn so early it’s not like we had any other choice but to make those two subs, really.

  313. Limestone:

    thanks for putting in all the effort. Signed the petition. Hope it actually does some good. You need to put a link to it everyday.

  314. I also don’t understand how Wigan always end up in relegation trouble. They’ve beaten us and ManU, and were cruelly robbed against Chelsea. Why do they always wait until it’s late in the season to play like that?

  315. wenger out…that guy who is doing well at reading… in.

  316. thats was a bit shit..i knew we’d drop more points but i was kinda hoping we’d keep our home form watertight..

    we fell asleep when arteta got crocked and we missed him for the rest of the game..no organisation..it was too gung-ho with the ball and too stand off without it..
    wigan went OTT with time wasting as well, and there were spells where they just covered up on the ropes and then were saved by the bell..but they came to get something tonight and we switched off for 2 minutes and we gave them it..

    still…we had to beat chelsea regardless of this result so nothings changed..

    it looks like we want to do this the hard way though

    our head to heads against the big teams has been impressive this season, so we can still do this but lets hope arteta is back with koz for the weekend..

  317. Arsene: Every substitution fizzled.

    Henristic summarized it exactly:

    “Song is not on song. Neither is Ramsey, Sagna and Theo, which leaves just Rosicky as our creative hub. Our defenders feeling a bit jittery, and at same time, no Arteta to help keep possession in the middle.”

    Szcz has to take some accountability for the 2nd goal. 1st thing your thought in gkeeping…..get your body behind the ball, if not able, then get your hands behind the ball. Mistake of a 21 year old.

    Can’t fathom why Arsene took Benayoun off.

    It just wasn’t Theo’s day, nor Sagna’s.

    RvP needs a rest.

  318. Paulie Walnuts

    Credit to Wigan. They were far better than City.

    Big disappointment though – we`ll need to up it on Saturday.

  319. pedantic george

    Oliver Kay ‏ @OliverKayTimes
    RT @JamesOlley: Just seen Arteta walk to the players’ lounge on crutches and with right foot in a protective boot. Doesn’t look good.

    Sheeeeeeet as they might say on the wire

  320. Time for Aaron to step up. Let’s see what he can do as the link player as opposed to on the wing or as the most offensive midfielder.

  321. no benny for chelsea either..

  322. Evil – I think this season it is in part because they have a small squad but also – as Martinez alluded – they have been introducing an entirely new system. They have no stand out goal scorer, Moses is top with 5.
    The new system is brave (3 at the back) and really rather impressive – they deserve to stay up and Martinez looks and sounds the real deal.

  323. defensively we were poor, gibbs is better then santos for sure and djourou still doesnt instill that stillness, doesnt slip in as slick and does love a slip up.

  324. Limestonegunner

    RvP in a bit of a funk too. Not getting the service or the space to create his opportunities. Nothing like a grudge London derby v. Chelsea to get us back to winning ways. We’ll be up for it.

  325. @Jonny
    Yeah, when I saw that they had three at the back I was expecting us to have a field day, but their system is working rather well when they click. There was no space at all on the wing and the centre of the pitch was crowded as well.I do have to say that I wonder how we would play if we’d adapt their system..

  326. Theo had one of those off days today – consistency is the area he needs to work on most of all. He never hides though.

  327. where is abou diaby?
    is he ready to play 4 games yet or what??

  328. As expected, Wigan got the sympathy vote from the referee with every 50/50 going their way. But we have no one to blame for giving those 3 points away but ourselves. A poor corner kick disorganised defending and shockingly poor goalkeeping was our Achilles heel compounded by poor finishing/good goalkeeping at the other end. Still no point picking over the bones of that one. It’s history now so move on to the next one and hope for more. Hopefully Arteta is back soon as he was a big loss tonight.

  329. i think robins got an injury thats affecting his movement..
    robins a clever player whos always in the right place..

    i havent seen that from him recently..hes drifting out of the games more..not just tonight..

    a game off would benefit him, but who comes in and when do we rest him??

  330. pedantic george

    I think TR7 ,Song and Le Coq start against Chelsea.

  331. fukin northerners.

  332. jonny,re- theo, yeah but he has been more consistent then 85% of the rest of the players in this league.

  333. I see on the AFC site Arteta gets more votes than Theo as MotM. Just about sums it up really.
    Don’t think we can afford to give Robin a rest. That would be one reason for getting Podolski in – they could play together or Podolski could go central and give RvP a break now and then.
    Frustrating evening again – Swansea, Blackburn, QPR and now Wigan. Probably means we’ll have to go up and play on their cow patch again next year. Wasn’t Martinez at Swansea a while back?

  334. what does that sum up? give us a quick summary on it.

  335. so is theo going to get the blame for this then …well it is over due the old theo bashing , folk must be going cold turkey.

  336. pedantic george

    Duke ,It was Andrei’s fault.No on else.

  337. Seems Arteta has a bad ankle injury. Supposed to have beeon crutches with a protective boot, according to Oliver Kay.

  338. * been on. Don’t know what a beeon is.

  339. Limestonegunner

    A protective boot never sounds good. Hope it is just extra precautionary.

  340. on Arteta’s injury…
    It is an ankle problem. It looks quite a serious one. We have to scan it tomorrow, it is too early to say tonight. But it doesn’t look a little ankle sprain. It is a serious one.

    Wenger sounds like this might be it for Arteta’s season.

  341. Very disappointing result and performance tonight. I wonder if we were missing the revenge factor – every recent positive result (I think) has been in the context of getting revenge for some recent slight. When we haven’t done so well – QPR and tonight – there hasn’t been that motivation (not that it should be needed).

    All to do on Saturday against Chelsea. If we don’t get third, it really will be self-inflicted.

  342. Many, many puzzling refereeing decisions this evening. Not saying that they were necessarily decisive, but they certainly helped to stop any momentum that was building in Arsenal’s favour.

  343. Was that the smallest ever away section at The Emirates? Even for European matches, I can’t recall any fewer than there were tonight. I’m sure that they will wear it as a badge of honour, but ~200 fans to an away match is not a great advert for Wigan. Mind you, the home fans (me included) tonight were without much conviction. Plenty of cries of the impatient fan’s favourite: ‘Come on Arsenal, come on Arsenal’, etc.

  344. We did not play poorly but we didnt have the cutting edge. We did not pass the ball as well as we are used to.

    The ref did seem to call the game one way, for the most part. I think that hindered the team in the 2nd half, as much as it did when we playedx Milan in the 2nd leg. If you want to stop Arsenal, slow down the pace and flow of the game.

  345. Can we go out on the pitch 10 minutes earlier so that we are at least ready for the kick off?

  346. Gah, we really do things the difficult way eh?

    Hats of to Wigan; they played well and deserved their win. I don’t think we played that badly really. We were asleep in the first 10mins and paid the price. Despite heavy pressure, their keeper didn’t actually seem to have that much to do. Especially in the 2nd half.

    I thought TV5 and Rosicky were outstanding for us, they really drove us forward. Unfortunatelty they were the only 2 players to have any urgency about them. RvP struggled to get himself into the game and Theo and Ramsey were quite poor I thought. Gervinho looked out of sorts when he came on but AOC looked bright and had some good moments.

    Time to regroup.

  347. upset about the result but this season has not stopped surprising us.Hopefully we can bounce back against chelsea

  348. Let me summarize the game :poor right flank from arsenal…theo walcott and sagna.Good left flank from wigan Victor Moses.Every other part happens in games

  349. personally disappointed by the result.

    but the spuds, newcastle and chelsea have to win their game in hand first, before the lead is cut.

    at the moment, we are still 3rd. better to be third, then to be 4th or 5th, chasing 3rd and losing.

    i mean, losing is bad.. but you get what i mean.

    i will just see it as doing some charity work to a team that usually tries to play football rather than time waste.

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