Wigan Review & Player Ratings: Ox and Szczesny main sparks in dour contest.



Arsenal’s consistent inability to follow up a fantastic victory continues to be a concern, but at least we were able to come out of today’s clash with a much-needed three points. 

We always knew that today’s clash with Wigan Athletic would be a difficult contest, and this was the type of persevering victory that Arsenal needed to establish some semblance of consistency.  The wet, heavy pitch could have been a determining factor in our poor play since we rely heavily on passing and ball control.

Wigan started off the game with high pressure defensively, taking away Arsenal’s coveted time and space.  In possession, Wigan were very settled and knocked the ball around well.  They pushed forward successfully down the flanks to no avail, as both Beausejour and Stam wasted many crosses in the final third.  Wigan lived up to McManaman’s criticism of giving away the ball on numerous occasions, and this eventually allowed Arsenal to ease into the game.

However, it was very tough to break down Wigan in the first half as they successfully congested the middle of the pitch.

Throughout most of the contest, Arsenal found it very difficult to replicate the form of our last game, and the players seemed very tense and overly cautious in attack.  As the game continued, Wigan afforded Arsenal more space and the Ox eventually gave us the spark needed to break out offensively.  This eventually led to a few quality scoring chances but teammates were not able to get on the end of his crosses, and Theo missed a fantastic chance to convert one of his low crosses.

Fortunately, Arsenal were able to break through in the second half with a nice pass from Santi to Walcott in the box that subsequently led to a penalty, which Arteta finished clinically from the spot.

Defensively there were mental lapses once again, but we were able to grind out the victory and we were not punished for our mistakes.  Worth noting was that Vermaelen and Mertesacker were poor defensively for a good portion of the game which allowed Kone to get in behind them in the first half, but luckily he wasted the chance wide.

Now onto the player ratings from today’s game:

Szczesny (9.0) – I thought he was our best player today and has really provided the squad with stability.  Szczes kept us in the game with big saves and made some intelligent, aggressive decisions to challenge the Wigan forwards.  Well-deserved clean sheet and performances like these will be needed from him, if we’re to win  games when we are not at our best.

Gibbs (8.0) – Not as influential offensively as last game, but the blame should be placed more on Podolski’s lack of support opposed to a knock on Gibbs.  Defensively, Gibbs was solid and made some key tackles to break up the Wigan offense throughout the game.  Still, I was hoping to see more from him and the blossoming left flank partnership from last game let me down.

Vermaelen (6.5) – I was appalled at his questionable missed challenge on Kone in the first half that led to a good Wigan scoring opportunity.  This was only compounded by further poor concentration in coverage that later led to Kone getting behind himself and Mertesacker for a clear chance on goal.  He eventually settled down and more importantly, the defense did not concede any goals.  However, a much better effort is needed from our captain and those defensive lapses need to be addressed going forward.

Mertesacker (6.5) – I thought the weakness in our defense lay with the two center backs today: together with Vermaelen, Mertesacker’s lack of pace and concentration, almost led to Kone scoring for Wigan.  He played his routine safe game by just clearing the ball, but gave Wigan some unnecessary second chance opportunities from corner kicks when not even under pressure.  Just as I said with Vermaelen; we didn’t concede any goals against Wigan so perhaps I’m being harsh, but some players need to answer for poor performances and Mertesacker is one of them.  He did however break up a crucial play on a 2 v 1 by clearing Stam’s cross pass to Kone in the second half.

Sagna (8.0) – Both fullbacks played solid games defensively and kept Wigan’s offence in check.  Much like last game, I want to see Sagna more involved offensively, but I’m glad he honored his defensive duties first.  Nothing spectacular here, but I’m happy if he can consistently perform like he did today.

Arteta (8.5) – Continues to be our most consistent performer this season and always shows composure and intelligent ball distribution (aside from the Fulham game which was a disaster for him and he wasn’t great vs. the Spuds either).  Won the ball back cleanly on a few occasions and has done everything one could ask for from a holding midfielder.  Had a nice involvement offensively on a run forward in the first half and played a nice final ball, that almost led to an Oxlade-Chamberlain goal.  Arteta scored the lone goal on a well taken, confident penalty kick.

Wilshere (7.0) – This was not one of Jack’s best performances and the team’s overall performance seemed to be directly correlated with his.  He misplaced more passes than usual today, but did not commit any serious mistakes and was unfairly penalized with a yellow card on a perfectly clean tackle.  Still, he was not as influential as usual, and I’d like to see him running up field with the ball more frequently.  Wilshere did play well defensively, breaking up the play with sliding challenges a few times.

Cazorla (7.0) – He definitely came out flat today and Wigan was smart to take away his space and close down on him early after his performance against Reading.  Santi uncharacteristically turned the ball over several times on some poor first touches, over dribbling and careless passing.  His slick pass to Walcott that eventually led to Arsenal’s only goal, was the only outstanding bit of work from him.  He wasn’t horrible but you definitely come to expect more from our main offensive distributor.

Podolski (5.5) – He pulled his typical Houdini act today and was pretty much absent for most of the game.  Of all the players who started against Wigan, I was the most disappointed with Podolski after his inspiring run out against Reading.  He created nothing offensively, was not involved defensively, did not link up with Gibbs and seemed to hardly move on the pitch.  I thought he should have been the first player substituted off, and his poor performance allowed Wigan to congest the middle of the pitch.

Walcott (6.5) – He looked lost as the central striker today and Martinez and Wigan must have carefully analyzed the Reading game film from Monday.  Theo wasn’t able to stretch the defense at all and wasted a good opportunity created by Ox, by shooting it right at Al Habsi in the second half.  He did show some intelligent movement by getting himself into good positions to score, eventually drawing a crucial penalty, but like Podolski, he was pretty non-existent most of the time.  It will be interesting to see if he can rebound vs. Newcastle next weekend.

Oxlade-Chamberlain (9.0) – Except for Szczesny, he was the most outstanding player on the pitch today.  Ox displayed great pace, confidence in taking on defenders and provided some nice offensive scoring chances with in-swinging crosses into the opponent’s 18-yard box.  He finally seems to be finding his form from last season and I absolutely loved this lad’s lively performance on the right flank.  However, Ox was guilty of over-dribbling and taking too much on his own, which led to a few unnecessary turnovers in the final third.  The best is yet to come from him and I think he’ll make the right wing position his own this season.

Ramsey, Coquelin, Koscielny (Incomplete) – None really had an opportunity to make an impact on the game, though Koscielny had a good clearance with his head late in the game, and Coquelin made a couple of nice sliding challenges to win the ball back.  However, Coquelin looked unsure when in possession of the ball and this almost led to a few turnovers in our own half.  Ramsey looked poor once again in his cameo appearance and why Wenger insists on playing him baffles me.  He constantly gives away the ball, is poor defensively, lacks pace and looks out of his element on the right wing.  Perhaps his poor performances are associated with inconsistent playing time, but it appears a loan move to another club may be the best for his development.

It is worrisome that we needed a penalty kick to find the score sheet and this poor performance is something to keep in mind for the coming games.  AW’s decision to substitute Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 75th minute was shocking and as a result, we quickly lost any momentum we had gained from Arteta’s goal. 

I expect the week off to be beneficial for our squad to get some much-needed rest and to re-group before facing Newcastle on the 29th.  All in all, not one of our best performances but top teams still need to pick up three points from these kinds of games, and we did.  Pulling out this type of victory is exactly what Arsenal needed and gives our players the confidence to know that we can still win games when not at our best.

Written by: The Gooner.

103 thoughts on “Wigan Review & Player Ratings: Ox and Szczesny main sparks in dour contest.

  • You obviously did not watch the last 20 minutes of this game. Wenger brought on Ramsay to ensure possession of the ball which he and Sagna did very well down the right side. To acutally say he gave the ball away is being myopic and stupid – please watch – criticise fairly and also give credit when it is due. Ramsay’s cameo today was exactly what the team needed and he carried out his duties to the letter!

  • ITG, I respect your opinion of Ramsey but that’s how myself and all the people I watched the game with and discussed the game after with also saw. I try to resist criticizing Ramsey but he certainly did not retain the ball at all. In fact, he gave away possession of the ball on three occasions after being substituted on. Two of them went out of bounds and another was just stripped from him. He is just not performing up to par right now and I believe it’s a testament to inconsistent playing time rather than a knock on his ability. He could use some time away to build confidence and gain regular starting minutes.

  • Correction, it was one strip, one misplaced pass and one poor touch that by him that let the ball go out of bounds.

  • TG 🙂

    Thanks for a fine match report and pretty accurate player ratings. Obviously player ratings are personal, but you have explained them well and I can see where you are coming from.

    Wigan played well tactically today. They were able to stifle our midfield and win a lot of one to one battles. Both teams played with a high defensive line and both were able occasionally to get the ball through the congested midfield and create a few chances. Wigan had the better ones in the first half and should have scored.

    In the second half, we pushed them harder in midfield and were able to get closer to their goal collectively. We also started to use the wings better and Ox was launched a few times into promising positions. Ox was also able to take on defenders and create chances for us and you are totally right in your assessment/rating of him. He was our main spark on the night.

    Once we scored we did not push through for a second goal enough and Theo missed a glorious chance to do so.

    I understand why Arsene made the substitutions but it was a highly dangerous strategy and it almost cost us. Wigan kept winning individual battles and were still able to pass the ball round with some ease, despite the fact that we had five midfielders towards the end of the game.

    But we held out and got the three points and we just have to move on from the performance. Lessons can be learnt for today’s game and luckily at no cost! 🙂

  • Interesting that you’ve rated the Ox so highly. I thought his end product and his decisioning leading up to it were very poor. He gets himself in a lot of promising situations but his end product quite often let him down. Add to that the wild shot he took when played clean through in the first half and I’d say 9 is a bit high. But, eh, they’re your ratings.
    And I, too, think you’re a bit too harsh on Ramsey. Even though he gave the ball away once his willing chasing was still vital in maintaining the pressure on their midfield and wingers to prevent them from playing straight through us.

  • @ITG Sorry but I’m firmly behind The G’s assessment of both Ramsey’s cameo and our game overall. Somehow despite playing well below par we ground out a win, I do not think Theo dived but he went over, only he will know if he could’ve stayed on his feet. The fact that, that one incident won us the game says it all; with Santi crowded out we lacked creativity. Arteta did his best to splay balls about, I think Jack was trying too hard, and that’s not good for his game, ideally you want him to relax and enjoy himself doing what’s natural. Theo did nothing to stake a claim as a CF. Our 2 CB’s did nothing worthy of note, “au contraire” they showed some seriously bad judgement. The one and only good thing apart from a clean sheet and a very welcome 3 points was the glimpse of AOC return to something resembling the great player we new we had last season. I cannot find fault with anything in The G’s assessment which as with the manner of our goal says it all! Great report, very fair player assessments.

  • Hi A/S 🙂

    Ox was, in my view, very effective in the second half. His ball in for Theo deserved better by the contract-hesitator and he also put in a few very good crosses that were not met with enough hunger by Theo and the Pod in my view.

    I must agree with TG as well re Ramsey’s cameo. It was awkward and restless and he lost the ball more than once. However, coming on so late is never easy and Wigan really played well in midfield today.

  • Thanks for the match report, Gooner, you’ve called it pretty much the way I heard it.
    1-0 to The Arsenal, two consecutive away wins, and if Villa nick a point at Chelsea we stay 3rd on GD. Even if they don’t, we’re top four at christmas, and I’m satisfied with that.

  • Richie and TA,

    Thank you very, very much for the kind words mates! I took 7 pages of notes during the game just to make sure I didn’t miss anything and condensed my review from those notes. It’s nice to have your support and to know that I did fairly and accurately assess both the game and individual player performances. As I told TA, I have to hold certain players accountable for their performances, more so when our overall team performance wasn’t up to par.

    TA, it’s exactly as you say though – a win’s a win and let’s hope we can continue to build some consistency from here on out!

  • A/S,

    I pointed out some of the flaws in Ox’s game but he was the spark that got us moving offensively. We were largely creating nothing outside of his darting runs and crosses in both halves. You mention that he took a wild shot, but he also took a nice shot on goal that was saved by Al Habsi in the first half. There were many more positives in his game that outweighed the few negatives and his work rate and tenacity were just outstanding. Without the Ox in the line-up today, we could have easily finished the game in a 0-0 draw. His movement out wide ensured that the defence stretched a bit and it eventually led to a penalty kick by granting the players in the center of the pitch more room.

  • Hi Herb,

    Thanks for the reply! I must agree with you that top 4 heading into Christmas is a huge boost considering we were 10th place not too long ago. Another win over Newcastle would do wonders for us in the standings and potentially making their key players reconsider their futures at the club :).

  • @TA Yes I thought that was a nice gesture from the club which was why I asked? But I just checked back and I never saw a response. Thankfully your long round trip was worth it, it would’ve really put a dampener on the trip if not! And it surely was an already damp day, still lowlander swapping beeks for broads you’ll have some not inconsiderable experience of damp eh. 🙂

  • There were a few worrying element is our performance today, but I am a) too tired to go into it in detail now and b) it is worthy of a post this week.

    Our stats of the last three games are great though:
    1) 2 clean sheets
    2) 3 wins in a row
    3) 2.67 goals per game

    But stats do not tell us everything. 🙂

    It was great to meet up with with WiganGooner and talk proper football with him. That alone was worth the 500 miles round-trip and seeing windscreen wipers moving frantically in front of me for 9 hours! 🙂

  • @TG Are there “key players” @ the club considering their futures? Bloody hell I must have missed something 🙂

  • @ Richie, hahaha very true indeed. For me, Cabaye, if he can stay healthy, is a very, very effective player. In fact, AW was supposedly very interesting in bringing him to the Emirates at the August transfer deadline, but was unwilling to meet Newcastle’s inflated asking price of £ 20million. Fortunately for us, Cabaye ended up getting injured but again, having him in the line-up maybe could have meant a more well-rested Diaby and Jack!

  • TG once again thanks for the fantastic report and catch up with you and others tomorrow.

    Time to go to bed amigos. 🙂

    I am still singing: I wanna go home, I wanna go hoooooooome, Wigan’s a shit hole, I wanna go home! 🙂

  • TA, that would be something if Mourinho was sacked at Real. I’m always a little sad to see a top manager like himself be let go, but I’ve always found him to be a bit of a twat and too full of himself. Plus, his hated for Arsenal and benching of Casillas are further reasons to not feel sorry for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was gone in the morning either!

  • Glic, I know you’ll see this tomorrow mate but Isco scored the first goal for Malaga today in their win vs. Real 😉

  • I want Maureen to stay @ Real I hate them with a vengence! Most of the Madrid faithful hate his style of football (probably much in the same way Abromovich did) so I like it better that they are having to suffer him. At least another season till they give him the boot please. I think Italy’s the only country where the fans love his style of football.

  • Well apart from the Chav’s that is, but then I’d probably call Chav land another country anyway. 🙂

  • Hi Gooner and to all of you out there as well.
    Good match report. We were fortunate to grind this one out. There are still defensive lapses which will cost us against more prolific strikers. Not the performance i expected from the team after our last game but i will take a win anyday.
    We allowed Wigan to dominate but at least we managed to still grind out a result. We need to find that magic passing between our midfield and our forwards as we are still not performing as a cohesive unit. I watched a couple of other games last night and they are playing more like The Arsenal than we are.
    One point to note is that out players were very cautious during the game due to all the late tackles that went unpunished by the refs and perhaps this caused a lot of the hesitation.
    Regardless at this point in time a win is a win even if it is ugly.

  • Hi alex,

    I appreciate the kind feedback :).

    I agree with your assessment on the game and it’s important to win ugly too. In past seasons, these were the types of games we struggled to keep hold of and we were a team that played to win games by trying to score as many goals as possible to offset the goals we’d concede. The cautious movement and passing concerns me since it seems we take a step back after it appears we might have turned the corner on making our attack more direct in previous games.

    Definitely still a work in progress but it’s nice to be in the top 4 halfway through the season! As Henry likes to point out, Arsenal are historically better performers in the second half of the season so hopefully the best is yet to come.

  • TG, very well written article and I think you were spot on with your assessment of the team and player performances.

    If I were Wenger, I probably would have given a sub appearance to Rosicky over Ramsey as his ball retention and pace are better.

    ITG, one little tip. When sharing your own views it’s not a good idea to start trading insults with the opposite person – you just look like a prick. Not sure what game you were watching but Ramsey was awful and I’ve come to expect much better from him. He’s clearly not an impact sub in a game where we’re trying to maintain a lead.

  • bang on the money Goon, exactly how I saw it also.
    God it was one boring match though!

    I’ve spotted a name thief!

  • Cheers Oz, glad you concur with my assessment of the game :). Funny you mention the name thief, I actually wasn’t sure if you changed your name or if I was responding to someone else!

  • Hi guys..
    What a beautiful Sunday.. hehe..
    We win.. Spurs draw.. and we are remind on third.. atleast untill tonight..
    And I had already collect three points.. haha..

    Although I choose Chelsea win.. but I will be happy if they lose or draw.. if that make us still on third.. haha..

    Lastnight without Giroud (injured).. we don’t have a lot of choice infront..
    I must say that we lucky enough to win.. cause we have santa in our team.. hehe..
    Yes Cozorla didn’t show his best but I think Podolski and Walcott are worst..

    Walcott is no CF.. not big enough.. hehe..
    And Podolski is certainly no Winger also..
    If Wenger must play them.. in order to made them happy.. I prefer we play 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 formation.. with Pod as Second striker behind Walcott..

    But onething I do like lastnight.. Ox is playing verywell.. and become better and better as a winger.. If he constantly improve as a winger.. then we never have to fear about losing Walcott.. hehe.. Especially if Miaychi return to subs Ox.. We even don’t need to bring Zaha..

    And I like to see my SWAT (Santi-Wilshere-Arteta-Tomas Rosicky) midfielders play altogether.. That can only happened if we play 4 or 5 midfielders together.. hahaha..

  • Hi Henry,

    Thanks for the reply and for providing the discussion with further valuable insight. I’d have to agree with everything you said there with two caveats:

    1) Podolski has shown glimpses of being able to form a fantastic partnership on the left with Gibbs. It’s just a matter of consistency for him and it seems he prefers to play centrally despite never really looking comfortable there.

    2) The sample size for Walcott as a striker isn’t large enough since he’s only played 2 games at that position; I feel as though he’ll need more time there before we can accurately assess him at that position. With that said, I wouldn’t mind seeing AW bring in a new striker at all, in fact if he’s clinical and is a different type of striker to Giroud, I’d welcome it!

    That SWAT midfield would be quite interesting. We’d certainly lose pace and width to our attack but we could really dominate the midfield with all those classy talents on the pitch at once.

  • Hi Oz Gunner,

    You are right, the names are too similar, I have changed it just to make sure there are no confusions. Im new to this blog and maybe should have checked it out especially since we are both from Oz

  • @ Gooner,
    I agree that we are at least in a better position at the moment and if we can conjure up any kind of momentum i would like to think that Chelski will faulter and we could sneak in there

  • Are we still third then, and the Spuds are having a good sniff of the ARSE?! 😀

    Good morning fine fellow Gooners.

    Good comments last night from alexgunners, Henry (as always), and the wonderfully named ‘aint got a Kalou’.

  • Hi ITG

    If you are still reading, you are welcome to blog on Bergkampesque but see ‘Blog Guidelines’ re how to comment here. Please refrain in future of using terms like ‘stupid’ when referring to a writer or a fellow blogger.

    It is of course ok not to agree with TG but do it in a respectul way. Also, please take into consideration when blogging that blog writers spend hours to write artciles and some respect for that is due.

  • haha just messing around alex. I thought it was my evil twin (or I’m the evil one…not too sure) because of the similar name, similar looking dog, both love Arsenal, and both from Oz.

    @ Goon

    of course, you’re a wise man

  • @ Goon

    7 pages of notes, you sir have out done yourself. My one and only match report was 3 and that took me forever. Very well done

  • Smashing report The Gooner. You are correct in your analysis of the inability to follow up good displays with consistency. Today’s performance was mediocre to say the least, but, hey, a win is a win, as many have stated, and in our precarious position (finishing top four) we need to string some wins together and that’s exactly what we have done. Let’s hope Henry is right in that we perform better in the second half of seasons.

    The pitch looked soggy and heavy, which didn’t help us with our usual fluid and slick approach.

    Your player ratings IMO are spot on. I wouldnt alter any of them. Fine and fair judgement, Sir.

    Not to be too down after a much welcomed win, but I feel Wenger almost shot himself in the foot with his substitutions. He invited Wigan onto us as we had very little or no outlets. Fortunately, Wigan were not able to capitalise.

    Onwards and upwards fine GOONERS.

  • I’d just like to say how good is the pole in goal?! He copped a lot of flack after Euros but that boy can keep! Sign him up until 2030 i say

  • Morning Peoples, 🙂

    Another really top class report from TG, and is pretty much exactly as I saw it too. 🙂

    I also loved the chat between you guys while i was deep in my slumbers, makes a bloody good read when I get up and switch on!!

  • Hi TA, 🙂

    Sounds like you had a tiring but productive day, and a chance to catch up with Wigan Gooner!!

    Driving so far with the wipers going is not fun, so well done you!! (And Mrs TA for letting you go!) 😀

  • TA: Hiya! Well, that just goes to show how differently two people can perceive the same thing 🙂

  • I am amused that there are two Oz’s and two hot dogs, as well as a gorgeous Anglo Dutch Labrador pup.

    This is a classy blog – with dogs!! 😛 (My avatar has gone non-doggy – bloody WordPress) 🙂

  • Morning RA, VCC, OZ and A/S

    So true A/S, and that is one reason why we like footie: we can discuss our views. 🙂

    VCC, good to see you back a bit more here. Take it easy matey! 🙂

    RA – yes Mrs TA has been very understanding given the proximity of Christmas and ‘the duties’ that come with it! 🙂

    Oz,oh no, association with doping, we can do without! But he looks menacing in yellow though!

  • Agreed TA, far better than the pink one!

    Morning RA.

    I can’t believe Downing not only scored his first EPL goal for Liverpool yesterday but assist also! He was well worth the 17 million!!!

  • Afternoon Vagimite`s 😆

    Fine report TG, I only see the highlight`s so I will take what you say as gospel !. 🙂
    Have we started negotiations for Isco yet ?, as I see the Bindippers are already negotiating for Sturridge !. If not, how about Neymar and dont tell me we cant afford him !.
    I bet we get someone nearer to Tesco than Isco and No more than Neymar !.

    It wont be The Hunter, he`s extended at Schalke oh something.

    I bet you are all the same as me, in that you are more excited in who we might buy in the TW than what present you get for Xmas off the wife or girlfriend !,……. ” go on open it, I spent all day looking for it and it cost an arm and leg “……”yeah , in a minute, there`s some breaking news on Sky Sports ” !. hahaha

  • 22/23 Dec. 2012 week scores
    Rocky………. 4
    TMHT 4
    Henry 4
    Total 4
    VCC 3
    RedArse 3
    OZ 3
    The Gooner 3
    Herb 2
    GLiC 1

    Overall Lead
    RedArse………… 17
    VCC …………….. 16
    Henry…………… 16
    OZ………………. 15
    TMHT…………… 14
    Rocky…………… 13
    The Gooner…….. 13
    Total…………….. 12
    Herb …………….. 11
    GLiC…………….. 8

    Well done to Rocky,TMHT,Henry and Total for getting 4 points this week.

    Henry moves into level 2nd overall.

    RedArse is still setting the pace.

    Cheers guys, hope your still enjoying a bit of fun with this predictions league.

    On behalf of The UMF League, Vicky and VCC, I hope you all have a fandabbydozzy time at Christmas, but especially wish you ALL a healthy and happy new year.

  • The weekend started out so well for us but incredibly it finished on slightly downward trajectory. Sunday morning we were 2 pts ahead of the Chav’s and we had a GD of + 3 by Sunday evening we were 2 pts behind the Chav’s and a whacking 5 goals behind them on GD. It seems like Benitez has the money boys playing.

  • UMF League.

    December scores =
    Herb…………. 9
    Total…………. 7
    Rocky……….. 7
    The Gooner.. 7
    GLiC…………. 5

  • Hi Richie59er……That was a blow the Chelsea result, but we are only playing for fourth this season. Keep this run going and we will have a fine chance in making it.

  • UMF League……Guys there is a fixture list on Boxing Day Wednesday 26th December. If I get ALL ten guys to submit their predictions BEFORE KO I will include these in the UMF 1 League. I must insist ALL participants MUST post their 5 entries, or it will not be fair to others that havn’t entered.

    The next week end will of course be in December’s count.

    The earlier you enter for Boxing day the better it will be for me to keep my spread sheet up to date. Many thanks……Vicky.

  • Thanks for updating UMF league Slick Vic! 🙂

    RA will need to keep running or he will be overtaken!

    I have updated the UMF widget – apologies for not keeping it up to date recently (Herb, thanks for reminding me).

  • VCC. Predictions for Boxing Day 26th December.

    Everton v Wigan……Home
    MU v New………Home
    QPR…. v WBA……. Home
    Fulham v Soton…….Home
    Norwich v Chavs…..Away

    Odds = 13-1

  • Wed 26 Dec 2012 – Premier League Fixtures to choose from:

    Everton v Wigan
    Fulham v Southampton
    Man Utd v Newcastle
    Norwich v Chelsea
    QPR v West Brom
    Reading v Swansea
    Sunderland v Man City
    Aston Villa v Tottenham
    Stoke v Liverpool

  • OK, Tricky Vicky.

    For Boxing day ( if applicable ):
    All to win.

    For weekend :
    W Brom
    All to win .

    All which will keep me top of the less points league !. hahaha

  • VCC, My dear friend. 🙂

    My predictions — All wins!


    Unfortunately, it is hi — and good nite to you all!! 😀

  • Total.

    Now be honest, did you take a note pad and pen to the game ?. If you dont tell the truth I shall go and ask Wiggy !. He probably took some himself !. hahahaha

  • RedArse, Total, GLiC, cheers guys for nice and early entries. Heres hoping the others get their entries in time.

    RedArse …..12-1
    VCC……….. 13-1

    6 more to come

  • Then you are a lucky bastard, seeing as my missus tell`s me I have no f**king sense, I would have had to have taken the note pad and pen !. hahaha

  • Total…..GLiC loves to be Mothered. ……….some on BK would like to add a “S” to the beginning of that though.

  • It`s not her thumb I`m worried about, it`s the knuckle dusters !. East End girls are given them as pacifyers as babies !.

  • Hi guys..
    Arsenal players will get their Chirstmast off as Santa-Coz wished..??
    What a magical wishes.. Hehe..
    He must wish for us to win for Muenchen then.. Hahaha..

    I wish t to see Everton and Spurs draw.. But maybe it just to risky for my points.. Hehe..

    So my predictions :
    MU home win
    City, Chelsea and Swansea away win
    QPR – WBA draw..

  • Cheers Henry….well done for correctly predicting four this week. Your catching RedArse up.

    It’s becoming very close and interesting. Hehehe

  • @VCC : thanks bro.. Just my lucky week.. I should collect 5 points if I go for Liv.. Hehe.. But I did it before.. And Liv failed.. Hahaha..

    And sorry for not supporting you on QPR.. I think they will face hard game again WBA.. And draw will be good enough for QPR.. Hehe.. Peace man.. (*)´¨) 
    ¸.•´. ¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸¸.•´(¸.•. =)) ĥǻĥǻĥǻĥǻ =))..

  • Glic, Red and VCC thanks for the kind comments gentlemen, classy as always! I was slightly concerned there’d be a revolt surrounding some of my players ratings but TA and I decided that they were fair and in a bad overall team performance, some individuals needed to be held accountable. A win’s a win and 4th place looks pretty good right now even after Chel$sea demolished Villa today.

    Someone tell glic this isn’t betting where vegas offers you high pay-outs on choosing the underdog! You have a better chance of winning the lottery than winning with your weekly picks 😉

  • Just a very quick note before I head for bed; its official even though it isn’t yet finished Ashley Williams has been voted Arsenal player of the month for December! Even Arsene Wenger has agreed he deserves a pay rise. If only it was closer to the attempted murder as described by SAF. If by some amazing freak of nature Ashley had succeeded in doing for Van Judas I would’ve wanted a statue of him on the concourse surrounding the Emirates. If only!

  • Henry….my wishes for QPR is survival in the premiership. Some one will get five out of five soon as the standards are rising, it’s becoming very competitive.

    The Gooner…..I’ve tried to tell GLiC about his selections. The point is to be at the top, not bottom. A Bookie once told me its best to have a 10-1 winner than a 7199-1 loser. 🙂

    THE GOONER…..I need your predictions for boxing day.

    Richie…….RvP is becoming obnoxious. I can bearly look at the bloke. I think my most hated Ex Arsenal player has got to be David O’Leary, but Persie is running him close ATM.

  • merry xmas all.

    by the way did anyone noticed that the ref sent di santo to the stand for 3 mins? i think it is a brilliant idea as a punishment for bad boy behavior. perhaps his foul doesnt warranty a card but sending him to stand in just equally good punishment.

    other sports like handball and ice hockey have such a rules and perhaps football need to consider to instate the rules, especially on the time-wasting “injured player”. a mandatory 3 mins to the stand for “treatment”. make them think twice before faking a injury.

  • Kaboom….that’s a good idea, sending players to a sin bin. Especially diving offences. It might make them think twice.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  • Merry Christmas Kaboom 🙂

    Hope to see more comments of you in future! 🙂

    Good morning to all! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Very busy with Christmas preparations but with a bit of luck I will be able to issue a post around 3-4 pm today.

    If anybody would like to write something for the next few days, that would be very welcome. I reckon there will be no new post on Christmas Day, but on Christmas Day I will issue something.

  • Good Morning Bergkampesqueres

    As i sit here in my office with the radiators off and all talk of Christmas banned. i cant help but look at my staff and think what an ungrateful bunch of Arses.

    I expect them to work a full day. A full days work for a full days pay, thats my motto. And i wull hear no more about it. However, i have bought a couple of bottles of Port, some christmas crackers and nibbles,,,,but there for myself.

    On to important stuff. Fine post TG. I wont quible about the marks or anything, ime just so grateful to win. Chamberlin was the spark. He promises to be a great player.

    My UMF predictions:

    Arsenal 5-0 (even though were not playing)

    Fulham win
    Man Utd win
    Man City win
    Reading win
    Stoke – Liverpool draw

    Now, back to work, and i will hear no more about it.

  • Good Morning All, and Merry Christmas!! 😀 😀

    And an especial Happy Xmas to you bTotal Arsenal ( what’s with the ‘b’ ?) 🙂

  • Merry Christmas Everyone 🙂

    Fine write-up, though I’m not 100% on your ratings, personal opinions often disagree 🙂

    See you all in 2013!!


  • VCC,

    You tell them.

    By the way, the Wigan Gooner site (link on the right) is always a great read, and if anyone has not been there yet, give yourselves a Xmas present and have a look.

    You will not be disappointed!! 😛

  • Cheers RedArse….are you working today? If so, I hope your not a mis og like that Terry Mancini Hair Transplant. He’s a right Scrooge. 🙂

    I’ll have a look at Wigan site. Speak later.

  • Yes VCC, I have just approached my silent employees and pulled a cracker with myself in front of them. My left arm won. For some reason its much stronger than my right??

    I did share the cracker joke with them

    What do you call a gigantic polar bear?…..nothing, you just run away.

    None of them laughed, the miserable sods. Some people hey? hahahaha

  • Terry you bloody scrooge! 🙂

    Man U
    Stoke vs pool DRAW

    For those not logging on xmas day, Have a great day! sink some booze, eat until you have to undo your top button, and enjoy the time shared with your loved ones!

    For the kids waiting for Santa…don’t bother. I’ve developed an elaborate trap which entails Santa being wowed by my cookies and me sneaking up behind him with a rag doused in Chloroform. Once he wakes he will realise he is in a horrible place (Terry’s loft!) where he will be tortured until he delivers new players under Arsene’s christmas tree! If he delivers duds we’ll be waiting next christmas also!

  • Bit late to the party here!

    Very good report TG – and you have explained your reasons for your player ratings really well.

    And yet, and yet… I have to take issue with your overall analysis of the game and the individual performances.

    Comparing the performance to that against Reading would be fine if it wasn’t for that fact that Wigan gave a well organised, properly committed, hard-working display. Reading just didn’t turn up.

    Plus the conditions were clearly a big factor. When you see a player like Santi mis-control the ball on several occasions you know it’s tough out there.

    In that context I thought the most impressive thing was how well our defence played for most of the game. In the first half Wigan only had one real chance (when Kone got away from the BFG). Second half we weren’t under threat at all until we went ahead, sat back and – as you rightly point out – conceded the initiative through the substitutions we made – which led to a frantic last 15. But even in the last 15 the main danger came from long range shots from Wigan.

    So… with that in mind, I think your scores for the two CBs are too low. Yes, TV made one slip-up and the BFG sliced a couple of clearances out for corners – but at least he cleared them. I’d rather have a slice into touch than trying to play a silly ball in the danger areas. And there was one Wigan attempt late on which was read beautifully by the BFG, who intercepted in the six yard box.

    Oxo had a good second half until he was subbed, but first half not much came off for him (although I can’t fault his effort). He gave the ball away more times than Ramsey (as did Santi Cazorla) but since neither of those players actually IS Ramsey, they don’t attract the same criticism. Overall a 9 seems very generous for Oxo.

    Your score for Pod is fair but to say he created nothing offensively is wrong. In the first 15 he was our most threatening player with (from memory) three good attempts at goal. It’s hard to explain quite why he vanished after that though.

    Sorry – I don’t mean to be picky – but I definitely had an overall impression of the game that was different to yours (and most commenters seem to fully agree with your take on it). I guess that’s the joy of football 🙂

  • Rocky’s Boxing Day predictions:

    Everton v Wigan H
    ManUre v Toon H
    Norwich v Chavs D
    QPR v WBA A
    Stoke v Pool H

  • Afternoon Snatchacle`s 😆

    Hi Rocky, you have a legend`s avatar, but in keeping with the sites love of pooches, would it be possible to change your name to RottweilerLives ?. hahaha

    Hi Kaboom
    I think Di Santo was told to get off the pitch to take his ear ring off, but then they discovered he had one on through his foreskin and one up his rectum !, which took a bit longer to remove as they had to bring back Moses from Chelsea to part his buttocks !. hahaha

  • Rocky,

    Thanks for your input mate.

    Of course you’re entitled to your own views on the match and I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with anything you just said. In my analysis, I pointed out the pitch playing a factor in our poor performance and that the BFG broke up a crucial play at the end. TV made more than one slip up, he was also asleep on the pass that led to Kone’s breakaway. Wigan had plenty of threatening attacks in the first but fortunately their wide players couldn’t place a cross anywhere near our 18 yard box. They dissected the middle of our defence a few times but we were bailed out by Szczesny’s aggressive goalkeeping. One also can’t forget Beausejour’s horrid, wide open miss on a defensive mental lapse in the second half after we scored either. The one rush and one shot (went way wide) that Pod had early on was only good for less than 5 mins. For me, he was by far the worst player on the pitch wearing an Arsenal jersey. As for the CB’s, it’s a matter of pointing out who was the worst of the worst in our poor performance and I expect them to play better.

  • VCC, sorry for the delay but I will make sure my predictions are confirmed before the boxing day matches. Just waiting for official squad line-ups to ensure normal starters will in fact be playing the midweek games, especially key ones who just returned from injury this past weekend.

    If you need my tentative, unconfirmed picks:

    Stoke vs. Liverpool draw
    Manure win
    $hitty win
    Spuds win
    Swansea win

  • Also, little Xmas eve Arsenal transfer rumour round-up:

    Latest reports are linking us to Alvaro Negredo from Sevilla (11 goals in 12 games this year and he’s a smashing striker that I would be absolutely thrilled to have at the Emirates).

    Battling Spuds for Will Hughes from Derby in the Championship.

    Reports linking us to Mignolet for cover in case Szczesny gets injured.

    Fernando Llorente, Adrian Lopez, David Villa, Demba Ba and Edin Dzeko all supposedly on Arsene’s wish list. Barcelona president, Zubizarreta, has insisted that Villa will not leave in the January window and that they don’t sell star players – classic move to inflate the asking price and I fully expect Villa to leave, since at 31 he’s not getting any younger and only has a couple years left to remain near the top of his game. He’d be a tantalizing acquisition for the Arsenal; can you imagine Santi linking up to Villa??!

    Whether any of these rumours are true or come to fruition remains to be seen. January can’t come soon enough!

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