Some raw, initial thoughts on tonight’s game.
Well, that was not just a result, but also a game, we needed. Wigan did themselves proud with a committed performance and a strong finish to the first half as well as an energetic start to the second.
As I indicated in the match preview, the Latics’ midfield is very strong, and as they did against MC, they also started to dominate our midfield gradually in the first half. Wigan were determined not to let us have the ball and pass it round, and with their excellent closing down of our midfielders and the ability to pass the ball round well themselves, they forced the likes of Arteta, Rambo and Rosicky into regular mistakes.
We had scored a soft goal from a set-piece, although it should be said that Podolski took the opportunity well. And as against QPR, we pushed on for the second goal, but lacked the ingenuity and focus to get one; and gradually Wigan were able to get themselves back into the game.
I felt the goal was coming for a while, and after giving away a couple of free-kicks in dangerous areas by our (at times defensively struggling) midfielders already, it did not come as a big surprise that Wigan equalised through a fine free-kick by Maloney – although lean Dean the anti-Arsenal machine should never have awarded a free-kick against our Zorro in the first place. Szczesny almost saved it and Koz could have jumped higher, but it was still a very good free-kick and Wigan deserved the equaliser.
Luckily, they tired quickly in the second half and Arsenal were now, for once, super efficient with the chances we created, with fine goals by Theo, the Pod and Rambo, to finish Wigan off. The Pod, Theo, and Cazorla – with three assists, were a class apart tonight; and surely they will start again on Sunday?!
It many ways it was a crazy second half. Wigan came very close to get in front at the start of the half, as Szczesny made a fantastic save to deny Kone. Luckily for us, it did not take long before we took advantage of the enormous space Wigan left open in their half, and the game was decided in our favour in just eight minutes. Eight minutes of blitz-football did the trick and a tired Wigan knew that the war was over.
These are my initial thoughts on the game, but we will analyse it further in the next few days.
Other thoughts that are going through my head right now are:
- Will Arteta play against NU or will he be out injured – it did not look good the way he left the pitch….
- Should we play the same formation up-front against NU, now that Podolski has found the net twice in the central striker position, and both Theo and Carzorla have been effective on the wing? Or should Arsene reintroduce Giroud now that his suspension is over?
- We now have a good chance to finish in the top-four and still a decent one to finish third. For that we need a 2-0 win and Everton to get a draw against Chelsea – and of course a Chavs loss and a win for us would be even more fantastic. I feel quite confident that Everton can get a result at SB, as the Chavs will be knackered and the Toffees will want to give Moyes a committed performance in his last game in charge. But of course, the most important thing is to win against NU so the Spuds have no chance to get ahead of us: that has to be our number one priority.
- I feel sorry for Wigan who really have done themselves proud this week, and it seems so wrong that a team that can play such good football goes out, whilst the likes of Stoke and Sunderland are let of the hook. I hope they get back up again next season, but it will not be easy for them.
- How come that we are so far behind the Mancs when we have scored more goals than anybody else at home in the PL and conceded less than anybody else away?
Food for thought fine fellow Gooners!
Written by: TotalArsenal – a very happy Gooner tonight! 🙂