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August 2021

Ten factors and a PS. What Wigan’s cup victory means for Arsenal?

By Tony Attwood

There are so many ways  to look at Wigan’s cup victory in respect of Arsenal’s game on Tuesday.  Here are just a few

1.  Wigan’s motivational response is good.

They take great heart from  their unlikely achievement in winning the FA Cup and from the off play with commitment combined with careful covering at the back.  In short they all play for each other, and are utterly determined to win, knowing that this is what they did in the cup final.

2.  Their motivational response bad

So overcome are the Wigan players by being holders of the Cup, and indeed being in Europe next season (and I am told, not even having to play in the qualifiers) that they think “we can beat Arsenal” without actually believing it.  They go for more of the same, but forget that just thinking it is rarely enough.  Eventually the desire and determination goes.  They are drained after the weekend game.

3.  Our motivational response good

Arsenal players know that Wigan will be on a high and recognise that they showed great determination to win at the weekend.  That raises Arsenal’s game, and they know exactly how Wigan will play.

4. Our motivational response bad

Arsenal so expect Wigan to be drained from the weekend, and expect an initial burst followed by an average display.   We are so focussed on Wigan’s own failings in the league, that we think it will be a walkover, as long as we play our normal game.

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5.  Their tactics are helpful to them

Wigan play a well planned tactical game which nullifies Theo’s run in from the wings, and is ready for Podolski and Cazorla.  They use Monday to play a tactical battle, and as their players recognise that it was tactics that won them the Cup, so they repeat the feat.

6.  Their tactics helpful to us

Wigan know they have to win this match to stand a realistic chance of staying up, and even then they dependent upon being able to beat Villa in their final game .  While it is certainly possible that Wigan can beat Villa know they have to win two games, so really go for all out attack and leave themselves open to counter attack.

7.  Our tactics helpful to them

We play a waiting game, knowing that most of our goals come at the end of the match.  They attack and score, and then play 11 men in defence.

8.  Our tactics helpful to us

Arsenal know Wigan will be playing the waiting game, so we play a shoot on sight game, and eventually one goes in.  Wigan know that a draw is not enough so have to attack as a unit and get two goals, which gives us space for the second to wrap the game up.

9.  Will Martinez go

Roberto Martinez is the key to Wigan’s success, and no one knows what he will do next season.  “Doing it for Roberto” sounds good, but there is no real tactical or psychological approach in such a view.  Like so much in football it is just a saying.

In one stage of his speech about next season Martinez said, “whoever the manager of the club might be, because nobody is here for ever” which is not really the best thing to say ahead of two must-win games.

Some suggest Martinez is going to Everton.  Who knows, but players rarely redouble their efforts when a manager is about to go.  It is after he has gone that you get the bounce back as everyone tries to impress the new boss.

Dave Whelan said of his manager, “I trust him implicitly. I don’t think he’ll go this season, but if he does [go] I’ll shake his hand and wish him good luck, because he’s been a brilliant manager for us and I hope he continues for another four or five years.”

10. The next game.

Both Wigan and Arsenal are focussed not only on Tuesday’s game but also on next weekend.  Wigan play Villa and must win, we play Newcastle and ditto.  In the end it could be about who worries about the next match the most.

PS: The crowd.

I have no idea what the crowd will be like in terms of Wigan support.  Last season they brought about 300 fans and most of the away sector was given over to Arsenal fans.   Will Wigan have sold more just because of the Cup Final?  Will Arsenal have sold the unsold Wigan tickets to Arsenal fans, leaving Wigan with their usual away fan base?  If Wigan fans did not buy tickets for this game way in advance then they probably won’t have a chance of a last minute purchase.  And will such a tiny crowd motivate or demotivate Wigan.

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57 comments to Ten factors and a PS. What Wigan’s cup victory means for Arsenal?

  • John

    The additional question is whether Arsenal can overcome Dean as well as Wigan

  • Homer

    Sorry to say,but this is a very bad attempt to OVERLY analyses.

    Yes, Wigan will be Very Motivated and will have belief that they can do it. But will they be physically able to cope for Full 90 Minutes after the weekend match and that’s the only twist.
    The only derivative from yur Entire analysis.

  • ClockEndRider

    And that’s the most worrisome thing. My guess is hell ignore their time wasting, fouling, feigning. Then book us for slight nudges etc. how manyt imes have we seen this?
    Frankly, if its looking like a fix, we need the crowd to damn well say so and embarrass the clown in the middle into officiating with something approaching fairness.

  • Wolfgang

    If Wenger aint careful with all out attack and a hdl,be prepared for Mk2 Hull version.

  • Rupert Cook

    Let’s forget about the ref, this is about our players turning up, something they only did in spurts against QPR.

    And let me say this, CONGRATULATIONS WIGAN. Proving you can win a trophy without spending deliriously. They even beat City, something we couldn’t do.

    No.7 on that list is the one thing we don’t want to do. The good thing about this match is that Wigan have to win so it’ll be more open and I think that’ll suit us.

  • Asif

    @Rupert – your blindness is apalling…they won a trophy and they beat City – feats that we couldn’t accomplish and then they are fighting off relegation – and we haven’t achieved that too? Take off your blinkers…

  • Rupert Cook

    @Asif, yes and they have a tiny budget compared to us so you take off your blinkers. Wigan should probably have been relegated years ago. In seven years we’ve not appeared in one FA Cup final.

    Well done Wigan.

  • WalterBroeckx

    So Rupert are you saying we should spend less?

  • Rupert Cook

    No Walter I’m saying we should get a new manager, but then you know that’s my feeling surely?

    I find it amazing that we can’t even get to a final since 2005 and meanwhile the likes of Cardiff, Portsmouth, Stoke and Wigan have. Oh and West Ham. I could understand it if we were too busy winning other tournaments.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I remember us playing 3 finals in that period but then again my memory might be playing tricks with me

  • WalterBroeckx

    Yes we could try to get Martinez. Maybe we would be delighted with the battle for survival each season?
    Or arry after all he won the cup with Portsmouth. Never mind the other trouble he won them….

  • AL

    I suspect it will factors number 3 and number 1, so we can expect both teams going toe to toe. Then number 10 could weigh in forcing some mistakes.

    I am also a little concerned with the flurry of red cards we have been seeing in the last few days, and bad refereeing decisions in the same period(saw one of the softest penalties I’ve seen all season given against Watford in their game v Leicester). Most of the decisions didn’t seem appropriate to/fit the offence, but more a case of the refs trying to achieve their own agendas(esp Webb’s red card at ot). With that mind-set i fear the ref might just do something that will tilt the game in one team’s favour, and given the ref for this one i doubt very much it’ll be in our favour.

  • Shard


    Yes. Congratulations to Wigan. Their victory is one of the good stories in football and should be seen as a good thing. Bringing Arsenal into it is unnecessary though. Arsenal’s achievements are different, as are the expectations. Wigan’s achievements stand on their own. Well done to them.

    However, you also have their owner now saying he’d give the FA Cup back for survival in the PL. Now there’s probably some hopes of motivating his team going on in there, but Wigan might struggle to survive without the PL football. At the very least, they will struggle. Their reliance on TV money is extraordinarily high.

    Arsenal face their own relegation from CL this season too. That extra 30m plus sponsorship plus gate money, reaches probably close to that figure too. And I wouldn’t trade a place in the CL for an FA Cup. Not yet, based on where we are financially. Maybe in 2 or 3 years. But by then, we hopefully, won’t need to choose.

  • Shard

    There’s no point worrying about Wigan and their motivations/tiredness etc. We’re a better side. We need to go out and show it, and get the result. Wigan, Dean..nothing can be allowed to stop us. We just have to do this. Beat Wigan tomorrow. Beat Newcastle on the last day of the season. That’s all.

  • bob

    Focus, mates, focus:
    All should bring red cards and chants of “Fix, Fix, Fix”,
    both for any time The Dean and Helpers pull off any
    Cunning Stunt. Anything other than fairness is not acceptable.
    Anything other than our maximal effort should lead to our player relegations from next season.

  • jax

    Wigan are a likeable side with a manager who deserves a bigger club (us?) and I’m pleased for them, but they only beat us last year because Moses ran riot and muscled his way past our defenders. They don’t have that sort of player now do they?. Oh, wait a minute, we’ll probably have to play Gibbs as well as Monreal on our left.

  • Stuart


    ‘Cunning Stunt’ – is that an anagram or just cockney rhyming slang for something?

    On a more serious note, everyone needs to be counting out loud the time wasting, take a whistle to blow up for the fouls and also a large A4 sized red card. We need to really dominate and intimidate!

  • Adam

    @bob, see what you do? Stuart it reminded me of something?

    Q: What’s the difference between a prostitute and a trapese artist?

    A: One’s got a cunning stunt…the other has a stunning c**t.

    So Sunderland couldn’t do us a favour but I can guarantee that every Sunderland fan will be a Gooner tomorrow night. Just need to overcome Two Scousers, A Stoke fan, and a Leicester bod.
    I wonder where Wigan is? Oh year up there near Liverpool and Stoke. I wonder if they will all travel up to the Capital together? Maybe talk tactics on the way?

  • ARSENAL 13

    FA cup winners get a berth in Europa league dont they??….

    I am sad that Wigan is dropping out. They dont deserve it. Specially when there are antifootball clubs like Stoke.

    But lets show no mercy. Lets win our games.

  • jax

    & Bob

    There used to be an all female band around the London area (1980’s) with that name. Never got to see them to qualify their claim.

  • WalterBroeckx

    OFF TOPIC: somehow I feel delighted for Almunia for his heroics in the play off for Watford. All the bad things he had to endure and hear from some of our supporters.

  • americangooner

    off topic but here’s an interesting article on why/how monaco snatched Falcao and others could not.

  • Shard

    Thanks for the link americangooner. Very informative. And to think that some people actually used Atletico’s ‘purchase’ of Falcao after selling Aguero as a sign of ambition that Arsenal lack. Try explaining to them that Atletico never really owned his contract. I always felt that a move from Porto to Atletico was a very strange one, and there were rumours of TPO there.

    The power these agents have to distort the transfer market and manipulate the sport itself is scary. What if they have 5 players in different clubs, but want to raise the profile of one of those players. Since they pay the wages of the players, can’t they simply ask the other players to under perform? That is apart from them having the power to decide which club gets which player.

    This might also explain why some players are painted as world class by the media. It’s these agencies putting their name about.

    Plus, this is a neat way to launder money for owners. Buy rights of a player. Finance your club through a loan to buy the same player for 40m pounds. Pocket the washed 40m, and your club still owes you 40m of clean money if you ever decide to recall it. Brilliant.

  • AL

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who felt that way, that double save from a penalty should never have ben given was the best as I have seen anywhere. It was made the more sweeter when Watford broke from his second save to go and score at the other end. Almunia deserves our respect; I dont remember reading anything negative from him or any references to him bad-mouthing us, even though he was pretty much a ‘forgotten man’ by the time he left us. I hope they get promoted, they deserve it.

  • AL

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who felt that way Walter, that double save from a penalty should never have ben given was the best as I have seen anywhere. It was made the more sweeter when Watford broke from his second save to go and score at the other end. Almunia deserves our respect; I dont remember reading anything negative from him or any references to him bad-mouthing us, even though he was pretty much a ‘forgotten man’ by the time he left us. I hope they get promoted, they deserve it

  • AL

    Interesting link regarding Falcao. While he’s being paid ridiculous amounts only a few could ever dream of, isn’t this tantamount to slavery? The idea of owning someone and being able to sell them on to the highest bidder, whether they like the buyer or not, doesn’t sound right to me. Eye-opening article all the same.

  • bob

    Stuart, Adam, Jax,
    Cheers for de-coding (SC to CS) my intended phrasing. 🙂
    And Stuart, I love your idea for bringing the whistles along.
    (I won’t go any further with that one, this time! 🙂

  • bob

    (I know I’m pushing my luck, but, in solidarity for tomorrow night) Should we advocate that the club splash for whistles at the gate, one per customer with no other comment, or is that too much to ask when our bank account is zero.:)? (Let’s ‘av us a pint on this one, no? – attempted cockney)

  • americangooner

    reading that reddit article provided quite an illumination as to the transfer dealings of several high profile south american players. and yes that can be related, partly, to modern slavery-where an investor owns a labourer and the fruits of the labour is in some amount also enjoyed by the investor while the labourer is forever bounded to the interest of the investor.

  • John

    Walter and Al, I fully endorse your sentiments about Manuel Almunia. He was always a better keeper than many of the media and some of our fans would claim. He deserves great credit for his exploits in the Play-off and it would be good for him to be back in the Premiership.

  • WalterBroeckx


    thanks for the link and I must say that this is closely related to a few articles that Adam wrote around this subject.

    I think TPO should be disallowed and yes it stinks and looks like slavery.

  • Shard

    I’m not sure slavery is quite an apt analogy. Those players obviously would have some say in whether they want to sign with a certain club or not. There must just be some financial penalties involved for breaking the contract they signed. For the contract to be valid, it has to meet legal standards, or else it is worthless.

    However, for many young players, it could be a way to mislead them and even extort them. FIFA had some concerns a few years ago about human trafficking. TPOs might be a medium to do that as well.

    The potential conflict of interests within the game, are of course, a real concern.

  • sperez

    I think it’s hilarious that the first excuse coming from a Wenger apologist is ‘lack of money’ to compete and yet they don’t see any problem with Martinez having to work with a very tight budget. How about giving Martinez a wage bill close to £150m mark? I hope he doesn’t piss money up the wall with a socialist wage model.
    Does Martinez earn £7.5m a year ?

  • AL

    I will take CL qualification over that FA cup any day. Even their owner is supposed to have said he would give back the cup to stay in the PL. Besides, the big clubs don’t take these cups seriously any more, at least since utd refused to defend that cup. They have been reduced to being used for blooding youngsters and give bit-part players the occasional run-out until the very late stages like the semis or so. Ask any Wigan fan what they would want, 41 points or that cup, and you bet not one will say that cup.

  • Adam


    The slavery tag comes from along time ago in English football and has stuck till this day when talking about footballers contracts.

    It refers to the “retain and transfer” system that was in place in England from 1890’s until 1963.

    Check out the Arsenal player who took it to court.

    There is also a link within the Newcastle United section for “retain & transfer”.

  • Pat

    Just watched the video of Almunia’s saves for Watford against Leicester. So pleased for him. Let’s hope he wins at Wembley.

  • Shard


    Thank you for the link and the information. I’ll take a look at it some time later. A bit busy time for me.

    By the way. What is Wigan’s win % under Dean? I couldn’t find it on the site, although I know it’s somewhere there. I don’t remember where it was. Was it something like 64%? That’s what I seem to recall, but could be wrong.


  • WalterBroeckx

    It is 50% and in general Wigan have a win % of around 25% (from the back of my head)

  • Shard

    Thank you Walter.

  • bob

    “socialist wage model”
    If I had a pound sterling for every time you write these three words, I could retire a wealthy capitalist. Are you stuck in a groove, keyboard on autopilot, working out an indentured labor contract, what? Agree or disagree, do you think anyone doesn’t get your point by now. Didn’t someone listen to you way back when? C’mon mate, you’re like I was about RVP – non-stop compulsive. Give it up man, we’ve got a match to win Tues night…

  • I read in one of the comments that have to play a patience game. WRONG! We have to come out all guns blazing & try to get at least 2 goals in the 1st 15 mins. That will make Wigan come out more. Their tactic will be to sit back and soak up the pressure, keep it clean and the last 20 mins give it a big push to score.

  • Persian gunner

    Bob 3:33
    I love you man!
    True true gunner you are!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Had a good chukle at the ‘cunning stunt’ joke above and will add another one here .
    Whats the difference between the girl in the church and the girl in the bath ?
    For girl in the church ,her soul is full of hope ;
    while the girl in the bath , her hole is full of soap !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The pessimist complains about the wind .
    The optimist expects it to change .
    The realist adjusts the sails .
    -William A Ward .

  • Arun

    Agreed. We must score early to force Wigan to attack.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Walter, I think you know I’m talking about FA Cup finals.

    @Shard, I’d rather win the FA Cup than qualify for the CL. I’m tired of us huffing and puffing and failing every year in a competition we’re not equipped to win.

    Also an FA Cup victory would be a great day out for the fans and it would probably boost the morale of the players as they need a trophy to give them that extra shot of confidence.

    Even if I were a Wigan fan I’d rather win the cup than stay up. Wigan will most likely not win it again, a once in a life time achievement. It might be tough for them but they will probably get back to the PL if they go down. Look at Hull.

  • bob

    Persian gunner,
    …and he’s 6:66!

  • @rupert. I fully agree with your last comment.

  • Stuart

    Sorry Rupert, I disagree. The last thing I’d want is relegation. From my point of view, the European competitions is far more enjoyable as a fan and I’d sacrifice the FA or League cup for Champions League football in a heartbeat too (and who knows, maybe even Europa??)

  • Stuart

    So Wigan should never have had that free kick and at 47.15, Mike Dean waves Wigan on to carry on and attack and seconds later, when we got the ball back he blew up for half time.

  • AL

    dean again, don’t see how we can win with a ref like this….

  • Mahdain

    Dean been Dean..Tilting the pitch

  • americangooner

    yep! its that dean again. clear bias and lack of competence from dean.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Stuart, well Wigan are in Europe. And what if Arsenal did get relegated? How long do you think they’d be in division two? One season probably.

    But that wasn’t what I meant. I said I’d rather finish fifth and win the FA Cup than finish fourth and flail about in the CL and win zilch.

    I can’t really see a scenario where we got relegated though it happened to Manu and Spuds in the 70’s.

    Fears about Dean unfounded so calm down paranoiacs.

  • Rupert Cook

    @americangooner, I’m sorry what are you talking about? For the first forty minutes we got all the decisions. Then we don’t get two and one led to a goal which was hardly predictable. I don’t think Dean whispered in Maloney’s ear where to place the ball.

    If there was clear bias Dean would have disallowed our first goal for obstruction in the box. There wasn’t any except a bit of harmless tussling which always happens from corners but he could have made an issue of it. And then when Kone burst through in our area and fell over Dean had a great opportunity to give Wigan a penalty yet he didn’t.

    I’m as much in favour of a good juicy witch hunt as the next incensed Arsenal supporter but there was very little to moan about regarding Dean.

    I’m not saying he’s a great ref but on this occasion he wasn’t half as bad as I expected him to be.

  • bjtgooner

    I suspect the rupert, as has happened previously, is commenting on a match that he did not see, but takes it upon himself to regurgitate rumours from the sewer.

  • Pat

    Rupert, have you read Walter’s latest article?

    Oh well, I don’t know why I’m even bothering to talk to you.