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The detailed truth: Wigan v Arsenal, and the result



Wow, what a weekend of football so far. United were dead and buried and the title was on it’s way to Stamford Bridge. Not anymore. Are we in it? Mathematically, yes though realistically there are too few games to expect to overhaul two sides. One could perhaps be relied on to slip up, but not both.

And yet Wigan still holds importance: if we can’t come top,we should be looking at second place. For the side who were going to drop out of the top four to come above either of the established order of title contenders, United and Chelsea would be great and at the very least underline the progress made this season.

In regard to injuries, it’s the usual long-termers with the addition now of  Vermaelen, while Song is likely to still be out for this one. Denilson’s rated a doubt too.

For the Latics, Scottish international Gary Caldwell is serving the last game of a three match ban, with Henry Thomas viewed as a doubt by Roberto Martinez

Predicted line-up:

Almunia

Sagna Sol Silvestre Clichy

Eastmond

Nasri Rosicky

Walcott Bendtner Merida

Truth be told, we’re running out of players. I’m presuming Denilson won’t be involved, so I switched Rosicky to central midfield with Merida coming into the three man attack. Rosicky isn’t particularly suited to the box-to-box role but he gets stuck in and I can’t see another option. It also makes more sense to put the more lightweight Merida in the wide role.

Van Persie again settles for the bench, it seems unreasonable to throw him in, most likely he’ll get 45 minutes. Oh the irony of us building up his fitness for the World Cup.



This season, Wigan have been a model of inconsistency in the Premier League, drawing at home to a depleted Portsmouth side and yet at the same ground taking points of Liverpool and Chelsea. Given our injuries, overconfidence would be a mistake, but we’ll have enough to see off this Wigan side with something to spare.

Wigan have a few players to watch: Honduran Figueroa, scorer of a sensational goal from his own half and a very able full back too; Hugo Rodallega, a Colombian international who has established himself as a solid performer in the Premier League this season. Rodallega has been linked with Arsenal in recent times (along with the ever-improving Charles N’Zogbia) though I think those rumours can be filed alongside the “Eduardo to Liverpool” nonsense.

Wigan play a good game, Roberto Martinez has brought an expansive, attractive style with him that he showcased first at Swansea. This should benefit us, the more open a game the more space we’ll find to exploit. 0-2 to the Arsenal from me.

———————

Everything you never even wanted to know about Wigan

All the other stories you never got time to read

And for this summer on the beach: the book

76 comments to The detailed truth: Wigan v Arsenal, and the result

  • critic

    fair enough, it’s gonna b a tough game b’coz of absentees, add to the fact wigan is fighting for survival…

  • siva

    good evening im siva from(malaysia).i am arsenal fan since 1996 where the first arsene wenger arrive.i like mr.wenger policy to youth team but somitime its not happening to him.recently i watch arsenal vs tothenham hotspurs game.it was very fantastic game but my heart was broken when i saw my favourite team lost and then mr.wenger comment that the team has lose their hope for the title contenders, but after when i saw chelsea losing to tothenham hotspurs i still think arsenal still are the title contenders.we all know we lost 6 key players.we need some insperation players like cesc fabregas but i know he is out untill the end of the season.we need someone to make role model to make this season a succesfull season for the team.for me samir nasri can be a role model to bring this team back on track. i hope tonight(malaysia time) he will show his capability in the absent of his team captian cesc fabregas and will countinue to show his talent untill end of the season. best of luck to the young gunners

  • OK Phil you will the Untold Golden Award of the month for calling Eastmond in the team today

    Lukasz Fabianski – is this just a chance of a change, or a deeper issue?

    Bacary Sagna

    Sol Campbell

    Mikael Silvestre

    Gael Clichy

    ——————- All obvious so far except the keeper————

    Craig Eastmond – brilliant call Phil

    Tomas Rosicky – playing 3rd forward in a 4-3-3 I suppose

    Samir Nasri – midfield

    Abou Diaby – midfield

    Theo Walcott – getting a full run out

    Nicklas Bendtner – no Van P – presumably a sub for Theo

  • And beached on the bench

    Vito Mannone – is that just for a change or something deeper?

    Armand Traore

    Emmanuel Eboue

    Fran Merida

    Conor Henderson – does that suggest he will get some runs next season?

    Robin Van Persie – on for Theo?

    Carlos Vela – when is he going to get some more games? At least he can’t fly off to play for Mexico any more, what with their being no more planes.

  • Phil

    Tony: I also win the Phil Gregory award for forgetting something. I usually forget the attachment, but today it was Abou Diaby, and my housekeys. If i hadn’t messed that up, my team would’ve been almsot perfect bar Fabianksi!

    When I heard Manuel was injured, I instantly thought, yeah right! He’s surely been dropped? If the Chelsea result had been a win for the Chavs then I could have guessed Fabianski to get some games. But now? Nah, Manuel’s dropped.

  • tim

    what the hell just happened?

  • Paul C.

    Well, after the Porto game I ripped Fabianski, said he should never playe for us again, and was absolutely ripped apart by people. I am sorry, but i stand by what I said. Fabianski is terrible. I defend Almunia all the time, but Fabianski is a liability and a disaster. He should never play for Arsenal again. I didnt think he should play for us again after Porto and I still dont think he should play again for us. I think he is absolutely unable to handle things mentally at the top level.

    Clichy as well was terrible. A liability. What are the bets that Clichy is gone this summer and Gibbs and Traore are the left-backs next season?

  • Paul C.

    The battle for 3rd place is now well and truly on.

    In the big scheme of things I am not too worried. The team we had out there today was a weak one. We didnt have RvP, Song, Cesc, Arshavin, Gallas, Vermaelen, Djourou, Denilson, and Ramsey. That is quite an injury list. It is just terrible that once again the team switched off. On Wednesday the team switched off at 0-2 down, and that cost them. Today the team switched off at 2-0 up, and it cost them. That is where we miss all those players. You cannot imagine Cesc allowing that to happen, nor Gallas nor Vermaelen, nor Song etc etc.

    The big worry now is complete collapse with the players we have to put out and to miss out on 4th place as well. I think that is highly unlikely but it could come down to the Fulham match.

    By the way, Phil, I think you are on heavy duty drugs if you thought we were going to keep a clean sheet today. Untold Arsenal’s record of predictions has fallen apart in the 2nd half of the season.

  • simon bailey

    credit to wigan, they played for the whole 90, we seemed to drop off after silvestres goal. maybe if we had brought rvp on a bit earlier things might have been different.

    i fear we may not celebrate st totteringhams day till the last day of the season.

  • walter

    What was the matter with the ref in the last 10 minutes ????? A clear corner for us not given. Wigan gets the ball and attack and Moses pushes Sagna in the back and he gives the foul for Wigan. STrange decisions, very strange. From that free kick came the corner and the goal.
    Not looking for excuses as it was clear that some players were tired and the midfield was gone in the last 15 minutes against a team that gave everything.
    But with the decisions from the ref going the other way, the equaliser would not have come.
    This is a major blow.

  • Mahesh

    Well, since Chelsea and Liverpool dropped points at Wigan, I think it is OK for us also to drop points there. At least, thats what I think was going through players’ minds when they decided to hand Wigan the lifeline at 80th minute, and then all 3 points inside a few minutes. I don’t think anyone can defend the display of the team here. It should be criticised, however loyal the fans we are, for what it was. And it was a terrible display of disability to kill the game when in control. In my opinion, it was not Fabianski’s fault, but the whole team who could not control the midfield and lost too many balls. So much for the title challenge! I can already see someone defending this display saying that this was one of those freak games where you lose out by coincidence… but once is by chance, twice by happenstance…. it has been happening quite regularly 🙁 God, I hate to be saying this about the team I love, but we certainly need some players who do not rest before final whistle!

  • tim

    Well, if we thought the aftermath of the Totts game was bad, this will be ten times worse…the D&Gers have got their wish.

    Other than injuries, defensive lapses, and bent refereeing, the other storyline of the season is that the players have simply let the boss down at crucial times.

    It’s a sad day for the good guys.

  • goonergerry

    Paul I can’t agree more. Fabianski does not seem mentally fit to play for us- but we were all over the place in the second half in midfield. This was a terribly unprofessional performance – what you might expect from a team at the foot of the table. I can see us not hanging on to third place at this rate.

  • Mahesh

    And Sir FA was right again.. 🙁 it is a two horse race, and we have been really exposed these last two games.. I feel really sad to have lost it the way we did today. Certainly, we can play better than that! Lets blow ManCity (and Adebayore!!!) away when they come over next week!! (At least pray for it!)

  • l.a.brit

    ok, i woke up at 545am los angeles time for this ??! bloody useless performance. van persie should have been on all match, fabianski utter crap as usual, how can you lose from 2-0 up like that!. ughh. back to sleep, 739am.

  • Paul C.

    Mahesh – we have those players, they have names like Cesc and Song and Vermaelen and Gallas and Arshavin and Denilson and Ramsey and …….. We just didnt have the players today.

    However you are right that was a performance that we SHOULD be criticising, as I am sure AW will be right now in the changing room. I imagine he will be going ballistic about that, the way the team took their foot off the gas, the way they dropped back and invited pressure, the way they seemed to allow to Wigan to take the physical initiative in the tackle (how many times in the last 20 minutes did we see Wigan emerging from 50/50 tackles with the ball?).

  • James Raynor

    Not a blow as lets be honest, we were’nt going to catch the top two and son’t deserve to, more a godsend as maybe now our stubborn manager might just realise that we simply do not have enough strength in depth, and players like Diaby (back to his inconsistent worst again) just cannot seem to fight in every single game. One of the worst Arsenal performances for a number of years, and one that highlights just how ineffective we are without just 2 or 3 first teamers. Luckily we saved the worst injuries for the very end, as with this team today, we’d be meandering mid-table for sure.

  • Tone

    Arsenal can’defend. Almunia and Fabianski are simlply not good enough. Until we get a world class keeper we will win nothing. I would spend 20 million on a keeper if necessary. Then two more defenders.

  • finn

    Hmm so wenger is still right eh? What a farce he has made this team into. Beyond a joke

  • finn

    Merson : “Arsenal will never ever win another league title until they sort out their goalkeeper”

    any ive never heard a truer word spoken

  • James Raynor

    As Merse just said on TV. You won’t win nothing with the keepers as poor as ours. I agree with Ton and we should buy the best keeper available, regardless of cost, and then shore up our defence, as its the leakiest we’ve been for many many years. Once we stop letting so many in, we’ll be playing with more confidence and swagger again.

  • finn

    Quite honestly that was the most embarrassing and abject performance this season.

    How on earth does one conspire to lose against a team that has always given us 3 points?

    Paul Merson said prematch that Wigan weren’t good enough to play football against us. Well, what does that make us????

    And what was Wenger doing waiting until the game was over to bring on RvP?

    I was saying to myself he should come on to replace SOMEBODY-ANYBODY especially when they got one goal back. We’d found it hard all game to hold the ball upfront. So what was going through his mind? There was no-one else on the bench good enough to make us hold the lead so best to go out and kill them off.

    Abject. And an embarrassment.
    Rant over.

  • walter

    The team looked to have completely switched off the last half our. I hope the players take a look in the mirror this week and question their attitude after going 2-0 up. They just stopped playing from that moment on.
    Maybe it is the fact that we wanted to win the ugly way and that we simply can not do it that way ? We should have played to score a third instead of defending and dropping deep.

  • Gf60

    That I fear was gutless. Maybe somebody can tell me why ( a Theo blue moon day fcs) we starve Theo of the ball in the second half…and then take him off whilst Abou D is playing like a moron? It’s so rare for me to wax enthusiastic about Theo that I should have seen this train smash coming.

  • l.a.brit

    bad bad game..go away fabianski.

  • Paul C.

    Finn – sorry, but you are wrong. You can’t sit there and blame AW for this, no matter how much you want to. This has to be laid at the players feet entirely and some of them may be playing their final games for Arsenal because of it.

    And Finn, everyone knows we need to sort out goalkeeping position, including AW. But there is nothing that can be done until the summer. Almunia has regressed this season and Fabianski has not pushed on, and AW cannot be held responsible for either of those things. That is like blaming Ancelotti for the regression in Cech’s game, or blaming Fergie for the regression in Ben Foster’s game. It happens with some players, especially ‘keepers, which is a confidence position. Now it is up to the manager to do something about it, the problem being that there just are not too many replacements out there.

  • Mahesh

    Paul – The comment was rhetorical. I never meant that we do not have such players. Even this team today had some, or most depending on how you look at it! But, the ability to stand up till whistle was somehow not there today.. and I think with the experience of Sol and others, they should have sniffed it coming.. but.. never mind… I just hope(/pray) that we do better at Ems next week.

  • Phil

    It’s a tough one. When a goalkeeper plays rarely, you can imagine nerves causing errors, and it’s this that meant I used to give time to Fabianski. But basic handling, can we really put that down to nerves?

    On the flipside, he cannot be that suspect in training otherwise he wouldn’t be anywhere near the first team.

  • walter

    We played with the players that were left so I don’t think AW would have picked this team at the start of the season for any game. Maybe CC ?
    I really think the players on the field made a big mistake and they thought the game was won. And this is the last thing you can do when you play in the EPL.
    I agree that RVP should have come on earlier in the game. If he is fit than he should have come on when 2-0 up and he would have brought the ball to their goal as now we lost it to much and to easy.
    The players that were on the field today are the players that need others like Cesc, RVP, Gallas or Vermalen around to help them and to guide them trhough that kind of game.

  • tim

    The cynic in me fears that a performance like this was what Wenger meant by “waiting to see if this club has the ability to win trophies.”

    Let’s all pray that’s not the case.

  • shane

    Defend that one pro-Wenger brigade! Flappianski a bigger clown than Almanure. Diaby making a dead person look bothered and an asset on the pitch. Total clueless team selection and substitutions (we should have been 4-4-2). Wenger has got to get his act together this summer or hes out, and his fine legacy will be totally tainted by his tactical awareness being shown to all the world (ie; he has none) Even for Wenger that rubbish was the most inept managerial display I think I have ever seen. The clown waves his arms about on the touchline as if it’s all someone else’s fault. Poor team selection, this stupid 5 in midfield, wrong substitutions at the wrong time, and yet another useless goalkeeper. We may not even get 3rd now. When will this moron ever learn. Remember we will never win the PL again with Wenger in charge. Just leave now Wenger, you’re a total embarrassment.
    We will struggle to finish 3rd, but you know what, it’s a blessing, maybe this will slap Arsene out of his delusion and he will be forced to realize that we need a new goalkeeper, two new Centre Backs, an additional Defensive Midfielder, and another striker. Hopefully they won’t all be Africans, as they trot off to the ACN every two years.

  • I think it is fine to say, “I don’t support this club and team any more”, and that’s your right – you can walk away. But there are some who will continue to support the club and the team, and continue to wear the shirt. We’ll be there next week, and giving everything for the club and the players.

    We played this game without something like eight of the players we would normally have in the first team, and included players who have only ever played a handful of games for us – and we lost to Wigan, as Liverpool and Chelsea have done before.

    If, under those circumstances, you cannot bring yourself to watch the match even on TV where you hardly have to do anything other than maybe get up early, or walk to the pub, or some other inconvenience like that, then that’s ok. You can move on and find another team to support. Or maybe give up on football.

    But it might be worth making a move to another club quick, because Liverpool and Man U have run out of cash, Chelsea and Man City have no solution to the Uefa financial rules other than to demand that they are changed, Tottenham’s finances are covered in suspicion and doubt due to their overseas ownership, and the Red Knights who want to take over Man U are run through Goldman Sachs, who are now being probed by the FSA.

    You could go for Barca, but they are over 300 million euros in debt, or Real Mad, who seem to owe more than the Greek government. And elsewhere in Spain the players have only just called off their strike plans, and the issue hasn’t gone away.

    The match fixing issue is returning in Italy, where still most clubs are hugely in debt… in fact apart from Arsenal, the only financially stable clubs that are likely to come through all this ok are in Germany – you might like to go there.

  • finn

    what is it with you lot on here? that how much more does wenger need to prove that he is a failure and needs to go. it is because of you fans that we are losing.if you had any ambition,you would give a damn about it and not see arsenal fail every etc,before you have a go at me yet again,think and write,don’t write and think.For the first time in a long time im embarassed to be a gunner! What was wenger thinking? He had obviously given up on the season, starting players like eastmond, fabianski.. they are not match winners, i support arsenal for their attacking entertaining style of football and i havent seen that in so long now, wenger iv lost faith in you, you dont have the drive to put a team together that wants to go out and destroy any team for 90mins, im tired of watching complacent players with one or two trying to score! Walcott was playing hard, nasri too.. But everyone else was poor and i havent enjoyed an arsenal gamefor too long now! Either sort it out or get out wenger, iv had enough of you and your complaning! Dont blame anything but yourself for this loss and for the seasons results.. If anyone else thinks wenger has lost the drive i would love to hear im not alone on this one!

  • shane

    Tony
    April 18th, 2010 at 3:12 pm
    It’s all good and well you state about the finances of the club but what is the point of being financially stable and not winning anything? C’mon realistically are Utd and Pool going to go bust? NO. They will certianly find investors, and even if they dont they have wealthy fans who can buy the club from the board. Why should we the supporters go somehwere? iN FACT IT SHOULD BE WENGER who should be walking. What has he done in the last 5 seasons?? NOTHING, this project was a total waste of time and money. and in all that we still didnt win anything, got made to look like right dummies against the top clubs yet we give the club our support, but remember it is our Club, not Wenger’s or anyone elses.

  • finn

    Tony
    April 18th, 2010 at 3:12 pm
    It’s all good and well you state about the finances of the club but what is the point of being financially stable and not winning anything? C’mon realistically are Utd and Pool going to go bust? NO. They will certianly find investors, and even if they dont they have wealthy fans who can buy the club from the board. Why should we the supporters go somehwere? iN FACT IT SHOULD BE WENGER who should be walking. What has he done in the last 5 seasons?? NOTHING, this project was a total waste of time and money. and in all that we still didnt win anything, got made to look like right dummies against the top clubs yet we give the club our support, but remember it is our Club, not Wenger’s or anyone elses.

  • l.a.brit

    tony, we all understand what your saying, and we all are truly arsenal fans for life. but come on, 2-0 up , you just cant defend losing from that..
    yes, all the great players are out, but even silvestre scored today and most of us generally think hes pretty aweful.
    bad mistake not having vp earlier. and like i said, we wouldnt be bitching if our keepers made a normal save to an average cross..
    wenger should stay, hes great, has vision, but that last 15mins was appalling from the team, not arsene.
    by the way im still awake, and not likely to fall back to sleep now.
    🙂

  • shane

    l.a.brit
    April 18th, 2010 at 3:22 pm I sincerely hope this is the slap in the face for this clown of a manager of ours otheriwse we are heading for one more trophless season & then thank God he will have to resign.

  • tim

    finn — It’s because of fans like you that we are losing. It doesn’t help the team to constantly be calling for the manager or the players’ heads.

    There are many other blogs out there if you want to hear like-minded opinions. In fact, I just checked one or two, and they all seem to be just like yours (except with less verbal diarrhea).

    I’m gutted and sick just like you, but I don’t see how it’s the manager’s fault. In the end, it’s up to the players, and today, they just didn’t perform for 10-20 minutes.

  • Phil

    I think a lot of football fans simply forget: shit happens. Every team has this sort of result, indeed it wouldn’t surprise me if we had the best record of all the top three against the other 17 teams. Progress has been made this season: it will be built on next season. As long as the trend is upwards (and it has been, bar a bad season last season) I’m happy.

    We’re building success. Lfc and MUFC may not go bust, but can they afford big transfers? I very much doubt it. Considering we’re close to them now, with a tea that improves asa a result of developement year on year, add in some purchases and we’ll be top of the league next year, and will dominate for the near future.

  • keith

    Tim

    The last 10 mins may not have been Wenger’s fault but why not put Van Persie on and go for a 4 nil win which was entirely possible – I was screaming for him to put him on.

    At times Wenger has been tactically naive.

    The players were easily good enough in terms of talent to beat Wigan but seriously lack the right mentality.

    I think I agree with Paul Merson that we will not win anything until we sort the Goal keeping role out. There was no excuse for Fabianski’s error it was a basic simple soft cross to catch. He is 25 today therefore not too young-any sunday league goalie would have been embarrassed by that.

    I am not asking for Wenger to leave but he has some serious thinking to do and must bring in some more experience and ship out Almunia and Fabianski-its time for him to be ruthless and start acting like a Manager and not someone caring more about young players careers.

  • walter

    As ARsenal is a club that holds on to tradition, we had to respect the tradition this season. Whenever we lost a league game, we lost the next one also. And then we started winning again, against all odds sometimes but we did.
    So we just should respect the tradition and start next week and win against City.

    And we were just 10 minutes away from challenging for the title. Maybe that is the reason why it is hard to take. Maybe Wenger should have done what the doom and gloom brigade has predicted. According to them we should have been in Wigans place with all those crap players we have.

    Remember, just 10 minutes away from challenging for the title with 3 games to go.

  • finn

    Oh and btw I realise we had 7 first team players out today but 2-0 up with ten minutes to go??
    And lets not think 3rd place is guaranteed I can see man city doing us next week

  • sad

    FINN: What i want to know is who you would play today from the team we have avilable instead of Eastmond and Fabianski? Oh maybe the other liability that is avilable for goalkeeper Mannonen? Just as unproven as Fabianski? And in the Eastmond spot? Did you see our bench today? have you ever een a more “crap” Arsenal bench? Do you know the reason? cos all the normal bench players was on the field? You know why? Cos all the normal field players were injured! I think if we had players like rosicky, diaby, wishire, Bendtner, Cambell and Gibbs on the bench we would have a rather decent bench do you not? Perfectly good squad players.
    That said, yes i am very dissapointed in the match, not in Wenger as he did what he could with the squad he had. However you should be able to expect more from players such as Diaby, Rosicky and Nasri. Silvestre is a joke we can all agree on that. Eastmod did a good job to be who he is and with the experience he has. But i felt the rest of the midfield just did not work at all today. Nobody to pass the ball around, nobody “in charge” cos they all injured!
    But even when i did see the match going downhill, there were nobody on the bench good enough to give us that extra quality and that was the problem! RVP on earlier in the match? in the 80th minute we were leading 2-0!!!! Who in their wildest imagination would think a team like Wigan could score 3 goals within 10 minutes? Its unprecedented!!! IT has never ever happend before. You cannot blame Wenger for not actually visualising that scenario and plannig for something as “sick” as that?
    But yes, the players need to take a good collective look at themselves and ask “do i really belong on this level?” It was wholly their fault they lost. They blew it all and tomorrow it will be embarrasing to be an Arsenal supporter…

  • Amare Eshetu

    AW SHOULD NOT BE BLAMED FOR SUCH A LOST

  • keith

    Walter you are right that we were 10 mins away from challenging for the title but the players choked and it just highlights that there is a lack of mentality there.

    But talking of “tradition” we have over the years had the best goalies around and we now dont even have a Goalie you would think is internation class. Fabianski/Alumina have had their chance and something needs to shift as otherwise Paul Merson will be right that we will not win a league campaign without a decent Goalie.

    Can anyone hand on heart say that Almunia and Fabianski are Arsenal Class when you compare the Lehmann/Seaman careers? I know money has been tight but surely we deserve someone better?

    Just seen Wenger’s interview with Skysports, he looked hurt and let down. Perhaps he will make the right changes in the summer.

  • walter

    If we had a full team available and would have done what we hava done today then I would be worried. With the team we had out today I think some players has lost their last chance. If Almunia is injured it will be him again between the posts or otherwise it will be Manone.

  • walter

    It was not the case of not being good enough, because in fact we were good enough to win this game and even the Tottenham game. It was more down to individual errors and the fact that we had, today, not enough mentallity in the team.

  • Phil

    Walter, I’d be interested to read your take on the nasri “could have been a penalty” incident just before we scored the second. He seemed to tug him back, but only very weakly. I think it’s important for our credibility that we have to look at decisions both for and against us.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Tony

    I agree with a lot that you say but it’s not good enough citing the 8 injuries. I made that point re the Spurs game and a Spud told me that, actually, Spurs were minus 6 or 7 too.

    When he listed them, I couldn’t argue. Lennon, Woodgate, Corluka, Jenas, Palacios with King back for his first game in a while.

    And they seriously turned Chelsea around yesterday: it could and should be in history as the most famous rout of Mr A.’s men in history. 6-1 or 7-1 was entirely possible. We got murdered by that lot at the Ems, so I think we need to start getting real here. Spurs are looking like Arsenal were in 1970 or worse, 1997, so I’d think about that if I were you…….after a great decade, there’s a danger that we’ll look like Spurs did around the same times if we don’t face up to reality and address deficiencies…….

    Dawson shackled Drogba. Ours couldn’t. Bale had penetration that none of ours show. Gomes was great in goal, Almunia isn’t. Huddlestone looked like England potential and he’s a big lad: our midfield lacks such presence when Song is out.

    Yeah, shit does happen. But as Sir Bobby Charlton once diplomatically said in the Man Utd down years before SAF turned up, ‘you don’t throw away a two goal lead. It’s not professional….’

    Robin was seriously pissed off at not getting on and I don’t blame him. The man was awesome for 20 minutes on Tuesday night, so why not run him out for 30 minutes plus today? It was 2-0. There was still a chance, albeit a slim one, of winning the title. Robin would be needed next week from the start against City so another 30 minute run out was indicated. He’d not suffer from that…….and Arsenal fans should be seeing him if he’s fit. He’s paid a lot of money, after all! By the fans worldwide shelling out on tickets, shirts, Sky contracts etc etc………..the manager’s the bank manager. The fans fill the coffers……important distinction.

    None of this means I won’t be there next Saturday. If I go and watch Spurs instead, it’ll be because a lifelong LFC fan started trying to tell me who I could- or could not support and did to me what Fiszman did to LBS – shaft me where it really hurt, in other words. And the reason I’d do that would be to say: you made your choice to shift clubs to crush my way of supporting my team. Now I will shift too, to the one club that you, as, in your eyes, the REAL Arsenal fan, cannot shift to. And you won’t do anything about it now, WILL YOU????

    It wouldn’t be anything to do with the Club, the manager, the players or the Board. To do with one person who doesn’t understand what the word betrayal means………and I’d do it sufficiently publicly that all and sundry would know what was happening, just to see if shafting me for the sake of it is the drug of choice in certain sick London circles………

    Now in my judgement there needs to be a clear out of two goalkeepers and a proper one brought in. We need a left-sided attacking midfielder with pace and who can cross a ball. We need an experienced Number Nine who scores lots of goals, plenty from 10 yards or less, some off the knee.For which I’d shift one of the current incumbents out….

    We need to bring in a long-term partner for Thomas the Tank, as Gallas can’t go on until he’s 50. Next season playing 25 games. The season after: 40+.

    And I’d bring in one international midfielder aged 24/5 who’ll go to the World Cup this summer. For which I’d shift one of the current incumbents out……

    I’d reintroduce some English steel into the side and I’d bring in three coaches/player coaches, former club stars, to work with the players in the areas necessary, namely defending and sticking the ball in the back of the net. Wenger’s a master in midfield, but Arsenal’s attacking technique isn’t good enough right at the top table, although as flat track bullies they were excellent this year until today. You watch Torres’ or Rooney’s way of making space in the box, you look at how two or three players create space for each other in the box in the really top sides, we don’t do it. It’s been the same for 4 years and it needs to get better.

    We need to address the pressing game when we need to win the ball back and you’ll see we aren’t as good as Barca, Utd, Spurs, Inter and others at it. It’s about shape, not 11 players doing their own thing. It’s about fluid adaptation, not rigid two lines of four with gaps in between to exploit. It’s about understanding the implications on your team mates of what you do and co-ordinating that through lots of practice so it is a well-oiled machine.

    We need to be better crossers of the ball and we need to score more from set pieces. We’re capable of doing it, but it’s not well enough drilled and so it’s not clinical on the pitch. It needs to get better.

    We need a keeper who dominates his area and marshalls his defence. There must be no language barrier. And if none of the four defenders is prepared to organise and if necessary shout, then we’d better bring someone in who will. Unless the ESP leads to a rock solid defence unit next year……..

    You’ll note from that that that I’m recommending incremental change, not a wholescale clear out. And a hard-nosed analysis of current training regimens to see how they must be made better. Because they do……

    I hope what I said is seen as really reasonable, within the bounds of acceptable opinion and isn’t saying ‘this is rubbish, that is rubbish, he’s rubbish’. It’s saying ‘this is where we are, this is how we must get better’. IMHO of course. And open to others pointing out where what I said is misguided, wrong and perhaps financially unrealistic.

    Isn’t it????

  • Gf60

    Come on guys. Look at the side we had out there at 90 mins…ie before RvP was on. (Yes maybe he should have come on earlier but at 2-0 why risk him?) Maybe 5 or 6 of our real first team squad? When I saw Conor Henderson??? on the bench, (he’s been injured and only just started again for us)I started counting the injury list. 11? inc Cesc, Alex, AA, TV, Billy, Aaron and JD.
    The class and the mentality is around but it’s all in the repair ward. We’re running on close to empty.

  • Paul C.

    Finn and Shane (why you are posting under 2 names is beyond me) – get a grip on yourself mate. You say this project (I assume you mean AW’s rebuilding of the side) was a waste of time of money (which is funny considering so many complain taht he hasnt spent money, but you are blaming him for wasting money) but what would you have done? I cannot wait to hear your genius theory as to what should have been done.

    As for those talking about RvP today, it ws known that RvP was stiff and sore after Wednesday and the manager ws trying to protect him considering he has just come back from injury. At 2-0 that was an entirely reasonable thing to do. Had RvP come on, gotten injured, and we’d won 2-0, we all know what the commenst would have been, something like “RvP just got back from injury, what was Wenger thinking playing him in a game we were cruising, is he crazy?” so AW can’t win.

    Be mad at the players today. They blew it. No doubt about it. Fabianski was awful yet again. Diaby went missing completely and needs to sort his sh*t out because basic effort should not be negotiable. Silvestre is on his final legs. We all know that.

    But let’s be realistic. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Only one team wins each year. That is the way it goes.

    I think Keith said it right – that AW looked let down. He has put a huge amount of faith in certain players and they have let him down once too many times. Eastmond will be forgiven, he tried his hardest. So too Campbell, Nasri, Bendtner (who had no service) and Walcott. But Fabianski, Clichy, Silvestre, and especially Diaby I think are walking on very thin ice right now. We all know AW will be in for a new keeper and central defender this summer, and that Chamakh is in. I wouldnt be surprised if another strong midfielder was sought out. Any ideas?

  • Paul C.

    Rhys – I think your comments are very controlled. Some points though – to say Lennon, Woodgate, Corluka, Jenas, Palacios are anywhere near the quality of Cesc, RvP, Arshavin, Song, Gallas, Vermaelen etc is insulting to my intelligence. Woodgate is a career underachiever. Lennon is a slightly older version of Walcott who doesnt score as much as Theo. Corluka is a decent fullback. Jenas is a another career underachiever. Palacios has even been criticised by his own manager for his inability to pass the ball straight. There is not a huge drop-off when Spurs go to their reserves because their 1st choice are nowhere near world-class. There is a massive drop-off when we go to our reserves. And Spurs are always, and always have been, tough at home. Let’s see how they do against Utd next week before making any judgements.

    Today was a bad, bad loss. But let’s not forget that with 78 minutes gone, we were all saying “what a terrific performance by our reserves!!!!” then it all fell apart. Let’s not tear everything apart because of a couple of poor games at the end of a long season. The last thing we should want is any kind of over-reaction by management because over-reaction is for fans. That is what we do so well and why it is best that we are kept far, far, far away from positions of influence. Let’s all take some deep breaths and trust that those in charge can see the same obvious deficiencies (goalkeeping and defense) that we can and that they address those issues.

    We’d all agree about ‘keeping and defending. MUST DO BETTER. No doubt about that.

    I completely disagree with the fact that we lack “attacking technique”. I think when Cesc, Arshavin, RvP, Nasri are all fit there are very few clubs that are close to us in terms of attacking technique. Do we need improved depth in that area? Yes.

  • arsenal slave

    if we don,t make champions lig i think all d players against wigan except rvp should play for another club what alousy lot no heart rubbish lot ,wenger no more favours pls buy a few hard tackling men not boys n a gk not a fucking pussy in goal fabianski a blooby disaster for arsenal ,slvestre that fuck head should be in the sunday league what a thwat wenger wake up you moron everyone with half a brain knows what,s wrong with arsenal.
    all brags no teeth,pls wenger buy some n not some shit head frm france.

  • walter

    I have seen two decisions from the ref (well a few others that cost us at the end) when it comes to penalty’s.
    We should have had one for handball in the first half.
    Wigan could have had a penalty for the pull from Nasri on Watson. The ref didn’t see it that way but it should both have been penalty’s to me.

  • adam

    Need some real impact players that can hustle the ball in
    the team and show more passion.

    Interesting that FINN and SHANE are in fact the same person on here. See 3.21pm and 3.22pm

  • Phil

    Rhys: you make some good points, and express them well. I won’t repeat what paul said, my main issue is this worry about Spurs. Realistically, they’re not a bad side. If they are as great as you make out, why are they behind us in the league? Let us not forget that the league is the best judge of a team (and don’t also forget that while they beat us recently, we spanked them 3-0 at home, so we win “on aggregate”)

    If we look at the long term, yes there are some issues within the team. But we have the means to solve them: Spurs do not. Their traditional “spend spend spend” approach has come to an end, so how can they build on their success?

  • Hartwick89

    I choose to support the manager.

    I choose to support this team.

    I choose to participate in the realities associated with the club.

    I choose to visit this pro-Wenger site and be productive in conversations.

    If you don’t choose to do any of these than why participate here?

    To have dual names and flaunt dis-respect to Tony and the rest of us is unspeakable… C’mon

  • MoMONEY

    Is anyone else worried that wenger may not renew his contract??? His change in tone and rhetoric has me up at night… He put his reputation on the line fir these players and I think he feels really let down by them as now everyone will be saying how his idea failed… I’m really worried

  • Cannon Man

    Agree with most of your points Rhys. Refreshing to read a comment where someone points out deficiencies and how they hope they will be rectified. For me, the club have become complacent in many respects because the board are laughing all the way to the bank just by making the CL group stages each season. We have too many fans who are ok with being losers and doing the absolute minimum. This attitude has found its way to the players who have caught on that they can get paid for doing f*** all. One can’t deny that many points raised in recent seasons have proved to be valid this season after previously being dismissed by folk who worship our manager. A bit of honesty for the sake of the club and up-and-coming Gooners is a wonderful thing IMO. We are not a political party.

  • Tone

    Wenger is a flawed genius. He does stuff no other manager does like run a tight financial ship and play wonderfully attractive footy for which we all love him. Then has blinds spots that are breath taking. The day Almunia got nutmegged at his near post in the CL 2006 final should have been the day he played his last game for Arsenal. A second chance maybe but 4 years on and he’s still there and still not good enough and the number 2 not so Fabianski is also not going to win us anything. Why can AW not see what is so obvious to so many fans?

  • Tone

    And another thing the reason we have so many injuries is because at 20-22 you are not a strong as you are at 25-28. We play so much football and without some mature players in the team our young players will struggle under the pressure and eventually break down.

    You have to wonder sometimes about the haste to ship out players like Pires when you see the likes of Giggs and Scholes still making a difference.

  • prites

    Just got back today and what a fucking joke!
    To be honest i cant see us ending the season 4th.Maybe thats what we need to finally send a message to the those c**ts in the board who seem to like us finishing in the top 4.
    Utter disgrace!

  • barry

    Thanks for everything Arsene, I hope your retirement is peaceful and healthy, but you are no-longer a top quality football manager.

    I’ll never forget seeing you studiously pacing the touchlines when no-one knew who you were. I’ll never forget the titles in 1998, 2002 and the amazing unbeaten season in 2004. The punch ups against Pardew, the wars of words against Ferguson. Wonderful, wonderful memories, which sadly all seem very distant memories now.

  • prites

    Wenger should just look in the mirror and realise what a poor manager he is. Tactically naive. What is butterfingers doing in goal and that gum chewing lanky striker continues to think he’s the best in the business when all can see that he’s kreb. Sylvestre scoring?? haha! Wenger must have thought his selection was justified. Our hungriest and best striker was kept on the bench until the last 5 mins. Great tactics, Wenger. We really deserve nothing this season- plain and simple. 3rd place is a very high achievement already after the many spineless performances by the “wenger boys”.

  • t00farg0ne

    I feel rally disappointed by this result. I didn’t see the game but after yesterday’s results

    The fact that Chealsa lost 3-1 at the JJB is something to at least think about and again we are struggling with injuroes at the moment.

    It’s really hard to lose like that in the last 10 minutes. If RvP needs gametime then I don’t understand, if we still had a chance of the title 60 minutes into the game, why wasn’t he brought on? We needed goals to try and sort out the gap in goal difference (I know that there was a small chance of us sorting that in the last three games but if we could’ve ended the season like we started it then why couldn’t we.)

    Just really disappointed, we could have done it this season.

  • barry

    I always hope Wenger will just realise where he has gone wrong and deal with it but like you I think that his leaving is inevitable if we are to avoid being a shambles. The reality is the Glee Club and Apologists will have their way. Wenger will still be with us for years to come. The Apologists dont understand what a crap board we have and that Wenger will not be sacked. Today’s game just exposed Wenger’s tactical cluelessness again. The more you look at Wenger you realise the only reason we won things was cos of the old AFC he inherited and what they passed on to the next generation. Yes the Invincibles did not have any core Graham players except Keown and Parlour as bit players. However,they had been passed on the real spirit and nous of AFC by having playyed with the old guard. Wenger threw that tradition into the bin. His weakeness have been exposed. Shape up or Ship out Wenger!

    and the funny thing is he says “Manchester City and Spurs can still catch us, so we have to win at least one of our remaining games” Arsene the Great can’t even put his eggs firmly on this clown to get him a win out of our remaining games! And it does look that way doesn’t it with this pack of losers! To think we had the easiest run in compared to Manure and Chelski 3-4 games ago and this is what you expect out of the a supposedly great team? Don’t make me laugh my head off! I already lost my insides from that piece of art I just witnessed from the Greaties!

    And to top it off I cannot believe there are so many people who defend Wenger. This performance was absolutely inept and disgraceful. It is bad enough that we have had to rely on a man utd reject who was poor in his prime and a 35 year old who could’nt even make the grade for Notts County – that is harsh on Sol who has really tried but the truth is that he is about three years past it. Wenger is to blame for all of this. The squad is so small if we have two or three injuries to key players then we struggle. Arsenal fans should stop living in the past regarding Wenger’s tenure at Arsenal. When George Graham was sacked there was no defending him regarding past trophies yet with Wenger he can fail year after year after year and still people talk on here like he was Alex Ferguson and untouchable. Mourinho hit the nail perfectly on the head when he said there is no pressure on Wenger to succeed and its absolutely true. We have a comatose board of directors that are far more concerned with running Arsenal as a business than as a football club. No pressure equals no success and I just wonder the real reason by Wenger’s decision not to join Real Madrid – Who on earth would not want to manage Real Madrid ? The fact of the matter is there is pressure to succeeed at Real Madrid and its just an easy ride at Arsenal. If you don’t have the ambition and drive to win you never will.

    I remember two years ago in the middle of our relegation spell of form in the last two months of the season, we still had the Wenger Fan Club coming out with bilge such as “If Chelsea and United lose all their matches and we win all ours we’ll be champions”. There were still echoes of that even this morning. What is it about these people that they’re continually predicting such events? They’d argue that the world is flat, that black is white, that the over-the-pond life are human and that Wenger hasn’t lost it. Next someone will say as they did at the last home match last season, that ASA drumming up a few people to march and say “Only one Arsene Wenger” is proof that everyone wants him to remain. Nonsense- he’s looking more and more like some escapee from an Old People’s Home and many fans I’ve spoken to at work, at matches , in the pub, have had enough. We are forking out for the most expensive seats in football- we can almost excuse the ridiculous perseverance with rubbish such as Almunia, Fabianski, Denilson, Eboue, Silvestre, Diaby, Rosicky, Walcott etc. What can never be tolerated is yet again the abject surrender by such highly paid players. The lack of effort, energy, desire and commitment will not be sorted out by 2/3 new purchases. The manager is responsible for this continuing to happen again and again. He has to do the honourable thing and resign as the fossils

    How does one spell nincompoop in french??

  • t00farg0ne

    ooops try that first bit again

    I feel really disappointed by this result. I didn’t see the game but after yesterday’s results we really could have been in for a good outside sniff of the title or at least worrying Chelsea and Man Utd.

    …..

  • prites

    @ t00farg0ne: Wigan were in Chelsea’s faces for the entire match. The pitch was rutted and horrible.

    Wigan rolled over and let us beat them today. We were 2 – 0 up with 43 minutes to play. We then played the next half an hour like the season had ended and the players were strolling around in the sunshine. Nothing happened. I don’t remember a tackle, a meaningful pass, a shot, a save. Were there even any corners?

    Spurs beat wigan 9 – 1. Wenger should have said them down before the game and said “listen lads, this lot are shit. We can get as many goals as we want. We’re still in the title race, but we need to somehow bridge Chelsea’s goal difference, and this is the most likely game we’re going to score a hatful. Here’s a DVD of the Spurs game”. Spurs were 1 – 0 up at half time; they scored their second in the 51stminute – almost identical to how our game panned out. They then pushed forward at every opportunity and brutalised Wigan. As soon as we got our second, the foot came off the gas and we cruised. While we play with that attitude, we will never be champions.

  • Tycho

    This panicking is an embarrassment. Get a grip. We’ll all have a few days of abuse and get texted and emailed bad jokes and half-arsed spoofs with Arsene’s face Photoshopped onto Gordon Brown, Icelandic volcanoes or whatever. And we have to take it on the chin. After all, most of us have dished it out over the Wenger years, eh? And then we’ll win a game, qualify for the Champions League and possibly not conclude that all the other clubs that haven’t won the CL or the league are in crisis and so should sack their managers.

    Maybe arsenaltv.com should commission a gooner version of Ashes to Ashes so that those of you too young/emotional/terrified-of-having-the-piss-taken to remember the days before Arsene can experience the giddy expectations we had for Arsenal (barring George Graham’s early results). We’d keep the title Ashes to Ashes, and for the upbeat 1998 Arsene Wenger sequel – Life on Overmars? (sorry). We have such a different perspective on Arsenal’s potential today, thanks to that Frenchman.

    Everyone in this debate loves the Arsenal – no question. But those shrieking that Arsene should go ought to be ashamed of how cowardly and unthinking they have allowed themselves to become. Arsene Wenger is still the finest manager our club has ever had. He has a great, singular, long-term vision for Arsenal that one dodgy keeper and three bad results don’t destroy. I want to see that vision come to fruition because, believe me, Arsene will be a really long time gone when he does go.

  • Youssef

    If we look at the bright side, this was one of the many defeats that will surely convince Wenger to spend some money in the summer. The defence needs to be heavily reinforced, as well as the goalkeeper position. I won’t name names of players we should sign like all the anti-Wenger fans out there, but we need some experience at the back, which has cost us defeats to the likes of Chelsea, Man City, Barcelona, and now Wigan. The fact that Silvestre, Gallas, and Campbell will inevitably leave might be a blessing in disguise. Gallas and Silvestre look like they’re heading for the exit door while Campbell has one year of playing then he’s done forever, if we’re being optimistic. This leaves Wenger with no choice but to sign at least two defenders this summer who can partner Vermaelen in what should be the most formidable Arsenal defence since the Invinsibles. Also, it has been apparent for two seasons that Almunia and Fabianski will never be good enough for Arsenal, which means Wenger might sing a keeper in the range of 27-32 years old to leave time for Scznesny (I know I butchered his name, sorry) to develop and become Arsenal’s #1. Other than that, the midfield looks set and the attack just needs one striker, and with Chamakh practically confirmed now, it shouldn’t need more reinforcement, unless van Persie spends his days on the sidelines again.

  • Hartwick89

    Are you fn kidding me?

    On a good day when Cesc is out it is difficult…

    Add to that Gallas…

    OK…So it’s horrid.

    Verminator too?

    Almunia, Denilson, Song, Arshavin, Van-Persie, Who is left? Farkn idiots…..

    How the fark can you judge theses guys?

  • Hartwick89

    Our line-up today
    Fabianski-back-up (injured 4 mos.)
    Sagna-Starter
    Campbell-Sub
    Silvestre-Sub
    Cliche-Starter (injured for 4mos.)
    Eastmond (reserve player)
    Nasri-starter (injured 6 mos.)
    Rosicky-starter (injured as long as Eduardo)
    Diaby-starter
    Walcott-sub (injured 4 mos or more)
    Bendter-starter
    Pundits say what….Theses guys aren’t winners?
    Wenger even says no focus…
    I say WTF it’s not our time and I accept that

  • Hartwick89

    Sorry I forgot Bendntner was out for 3 mos and Diaby has been out off and on for a few mos. collectively

  • Hartwick89

    So for me a normal reaction to this loss today is well why? Are their reasons for that? Break it down…

    For you lot it’s blame…

    Blame the manager first….

    Blame the players..

    Blame the board.

    And, the solution is fire Arsene…F the philosophy… F the the season.
    And most of you invested nothing but your two shillings on a negative vibe that I can’t even stand. It is same shiot difft day…

  • Jazbo

    As a long time supporter of Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, I can honestly say that he’s not to blame for this mess, it’s the players who let him down time and time again.

    Where was the pride, where was the passion, where was the ” I will die for the club” certain players need to be gone during the closed season and all of our young loanee players who have spent a season or two playing in the lower leagues need to be brought back in and intergrated into the first team.

    So before the season has ended I say goodbye to, Rosicky, Eduardo, Silvestre, Diaby, Denilson, Eboue, Almunia, Fabianski and Merida, I have supported you all through thick and thin but no more, it’s time to go. I wish you all the best of luck where ever you end up because your going to need it, and you will look back just like other players who never knew when they had it all and say I should have done better for Arsene & Arsenal.

  • Matthew B

    Leave it to the fans to panic and post knee-jerk reactionary ill-informed nonsense.

    Thankfully we have a manager who will take a few days to digest the last few performances and then address them with the team.

    The capitulation against Wigan was horrendous, one of the worst spells in a game I have ever witnessed. That said, it is one result; there are mitigating circumstances and it doesn’t write off our entire season and certainly doesn’t mean we should write off our entire team, or the best manager Arsenal has ever had.

    Get a grip.

    We have a great team, with a few additions (GK, CB, CF) this summer, we will come back stronger than ever.

    And another thing – Anyone wanting Diaby and Rosicky to leave (or be sold) surely can’t be looking at the same players I am? Denilson has also improved this season and proven he is an excellent squad player.

    Let’s all get behind this team, they will come good (albeit with a few tweaks).