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Arsenal 2-0 Wigan (Groundhog day 4 possession proud gunners)

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 11:54 pm
by Reverend Gooner
Last year it took two late goals to settle this tie and lightening struck again this year although in slightly different circumstances. Wigan had then nerve to score last season (quality goal too) whereas they did not even have the ball long enough to fashion many chances this time around.

A depleted side walked out onto the Emirates turf this week with Hleb, Van Persie, Diaby, Flamini and Gilberto all out injured and super star hero Cesc Fabregas suspended. The replacements Diarra, Denilson, Eboue and Walcott are all exciting players and all the fans were happy to see them get their chance in front of the 60,000 strong crowd.

Wigan had been through one of the strangest three weeks in their history after sacking boss Chris Hutchings and then pulling off a coup in signing Steve Bruce off Birmingham only to see the move hit a snag after unveiling him as the new manager. As usual it was money which was presenting the problem with Bruce refusing to pay back royalties he should forfeit by leaving the club. Wigan however have more important things on their minds than money, mainly points and with caretaker boss Frank Barlow taking charge for this game due to the whole fiasco, the chances of them picking up any, where very slim indeed.

The match itself was so ridiculously one sided that I ask anyone to find me a more one sided match. The BBC showed a 76% - 24% advantage in Arsenals favour and if this is not a mistake then it has to be close to the premier leagues most dominant game. Even without the midfield marvels that usually run this team the gunner’s passing machine was fully capable of performing their game adequately and in truth this match should have been won by more goals.

An early offside decision saved Arsenal from going one behind after Marcus Bent rounded Manuel Almunia which would have given the latics a lead to defend just like last season. Instead the flag was raised and Arsenal began to charge forward in the way only they can. The midfield’s passing was not brilliant although was not as bad as some critics have made out. Diarra and Denilson were workhorses in the midfield and although they lacked the passing range and craft of the missing maestros they put in a relatively good performance and made up for any errors made through their own persistence and endeavour.

The one player who looked up for a challenge was Theo Walcott who was playing in his future prospective position of centre forward next to the Trojan worker Ade Adebayor. Walcott was quick, direct, intuitive and intelligent and although not everything he tried came off his, mentality made him care not and he was ready to sprint off again all for the Arsenal cause. He created a great chance for Adebayor after a slick run and one two but Ades shot was parried by Wigan keeper Mike Pollit.

Theo Walcott then sprung back into life by taking the ball into the area during a good passing spell and cutting it back to Eboue who as usual fluffed his chance to score by missing the ball completely and it was eventually cleared by the defence. For all the good Eboue brings to the team the fans have seen time and time again that he should not go anywhere near the final third because he is simply woeful at shooting and many good chances have been wasted by him this season.

Marcus Bent then had a second chance to score the first goal by exploiting the one criticism aimed at the gunner’s defence this season which is their aerial prowess. He jumped highest to reach Emerson Boyce's cross despite both Gallas and Toure putting him under pressure. Luckily for them the header went over the bar and a look of woe flashed across Bents face, he knew he will not have many more chances to make his mark.

A great passing move down the right wing involving Toure, Sagna and Eboue saw the ball end up at Walcott’s feet in a great shooting position in the area after a cut across pass, but unfortunately the shot was blocked by a defender and that premier league goal which all the fans are wishing for from the young England starlet would have to wait until another day.

The half time whistle blew and although the performance was not top notch, the gunner’s fans had nothing to complain about on the pitch despite the lack of goals. The Arsenal faithful know that the second half is when it all happens at the Emirates and it was good to see the stand in players muscling it with the rest of them in a hard fought premier league fixture.

The second half was all Arsenals and talisman Kolo Toure created a chance for Adebayor which should have led to the first goal soon after the restart. Toure is famed for his galloping runs up field and he ran with the ball via a one-two with Rosicky from deep in his own half to deep into Wigan’s and laid a through ball into the area for Adebayor to latch onto. Adebayor however was not coherent to the move and his drag on to a shooting position was intercepted by Boyce and the move broke down.

Adebayor has many great traits and one is beating the offside traps down the flanks and he did so marvellously on the right side and brought the ball to within 6 feet of the goalie but thrashed his cross/shot aimlessly across goal and out for a throw in. Soon after Sagna won a free kick by the left corner flag and managed to get on the end of the resulting Denilson cross but his shot was saved by Pollit who showed great reactions at a time of increased pressure. Another chance which failed to go in for Arsenal was a trademark long ranger from Rosicky which went narrowly over the bar.

Things then started to heat up after a disgraceful challenge on Denilson which left him writhing in pain. Marcus Bent slid in from behind completely taking out his back legs. A mini rumble ensued containing players from both sides giving it some welly with Gallas and Heskey giving each other the most grief which led to them receiving yellow cards. Heskey was to leave his tainted mark on the match a little later on. A yellow was showed to Bent by the referee although many would have shown another colour, which is probably what was going through the mind of an incensed Arsene Wenger.

A slick passing move gave Adebayor a chance of a long range effort which flashed over the bar although admittedly was not too far away. Then came the most controversial moment of the match when Emile Heskey crunched Theo Walcott from behind and left him in some distress on the floor. Arsene Wenger and the 60,000 strong crowd were spitting blood at Heskey for his challenge and what was worse than Heskey not receiving his marching orders was the sight of Theo being stretchered off in some pain into the medical room.

It looked then like it may not be Arsenals day and that the brave latics may take a point from the game which despite deserving last year (had they got it), would not have been justice this time around. Wenger threw on Bendtner and Eduardo to try and stop that happening.

Sometimes the captain has got to step up and make something happen and William Gallas, full of the fury of recent events and his passion for the Arsenal cause took the game by the scruff of the neck and put the gunners in front with a dramatic goal. Arsenals teasing passing across the outside of the box saw Gallas pick the ball up in a central position and play it to Bendtner who sent it to the wing. Gallas continued his run through the area will absolute purpose and when Sagna crossed it in from the right side he leaped true and powered the ball past Pollit into the back of the net.

There was pandemonium in the stands and Gallas ran what seemed like the whole pitch in celebration, billowing and shouting to all that the gunners will not be stopped on his watch, not when he has passion in his heart and fire in his belly. Gallas has had some doubters amongst the fans since his transfer but this season, as captain, he is showing his worth and proving himself to be an instrumental part of the team.

Two minutes later and the pandemonium turned to mass hysteria, even John Motson in the commentary box lost control of his senses as Rosicky slotted the ball home off the post to make it 2-0. A throw in from the left found its way to Bendtner who started running towards goal in an attack which left the Wigan defence short at the back. Rosicky was running unmarked up the right side of Bendtner and after a nice through ball in front of him Rosicky moved unchallenged into the area, teed his shot and wheeled away in joy after sealing the match for Arsenal.

The full time whistle blew five minutes later and a job well done was completed and to make the occasion even sweeter news that Manchester United had lost to Bolton filtered through the crowd and Arsenal claimed a three point lead with a game in hand over their arch rivals.

Wigan can be proud of their efforts today; they held back the Arsenal machine for a long time and never looked like dropping their commitment or effort. Arsenal for all their possession should have done a lot better and should not have taken so long to take the lead but nevertheless it was still a good performance and a win in a type of game they may have drew last season.

No solid news has come through to the extent of Theo Walcott’s injury and William Gallas’ statements of “he is ok” and “at least he is still walking” have given off mixed signals but gunners fans worldwide will be hoping for a swift recovery because he has looked really good for both Arsenal and England’s U21’s recently.

So yet again Arsenal leave it late to beat Wigan, once again with their two best players absent and what a fantastic three points to grab with United losing. Match of the day did not choose to show any highlights nor give the gunners the significant discussion they deserved but however a pundit may address us, Arsenal are the highlights of this season and we are the most significant team of this season. Three points, a game in hand, confidence is high and the clockwork is ticking, it is a great time to be a gooner, Sevilla is next and a win there will secure top spot for the north London hero’s in the Champions league. Will we win either competition this year, I cannot say for sure but I know one thing, I would not bet against us!

Re: Arsenal 2-0 Wigan (Groundhog day 4 possession proud gunners)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:18 am
by Fordy
nice one mate

i will put it on the main web site tomorrow

Re: Arsenal 2-0 Wigan (Groundhog day 4 possession proud gunners)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:23 am
by absolutely_fabregas
immense :flag:

Re: Arsenal 2-0 Wigan (Groundhog day 4 possession proud gunners)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:00 am
by Swifty
"The Walcott" as I have come to know him, had a fantastic game (injury aside) the Wigan defence simply couldn't keep up. Denilson & Diarra played pretty well from what I could gather from the limited MOTD highlights. While I was watching the coverage my girlfriend asked "Why don't they show when the other team are on the ball?", which only proved how convincingly we dominated possesion.

Also thought Bendtner came on to good affect albeit in a more creative capacity, I showed he could be a team player & helped himself by giving Arsene something to think about. Another clean sheet for Almunia was easily done, but won't do much to help Lehman's case...oh well

P.S. cheers Bolton.

Arsenal 2-0 Wigan (Groundhog day 4 possession proud gunners)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 5:39 am
by SE13
Another compelling read!

I actually thought we had more than 76% of the ball, that's how one sided it was looking.

Re: Arsenal 2-0 Wigan (Groundhog day 4 possession proud gunners)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:11 am
by rvtheace
Super report once again Rev!

BTW, I was impressed how Denilson did his best to keep the goal threat from midfield going with three strikes from distance. Some of them looked dangerous, but were blocked in time. Still, good to see him buy a few tickets.

Which brings me to Rosicky. He has the best shot in the team, why the heck doesn't he use it? He hardly ever tries to get into shooting position, and on the occasion that he does, he looks to pass, rather than shoot. I'm sure he could outscore Lump-a-lard if he tried his luck more often!

Swifty wrote:While I was watching the coverage my girlfriend asked "Why don't they show when the other team are on the ball?", which only proved how convincingly we dominated possesion.

Great insight! :cool:

Re: Arsenal 2-0 Wigan (Groundhog day 4 possession proud gunners)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:14 am
by Git
Nice one!

Re: Arsenal 2-0 Wigan (Groundhog day 4 possession proud gunners)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:15 am
by Libertine
Great report (as always!) Rev. :h:

Nice to read that someone else thought we played well and created loads of chances! ;)

Re: Arsenal 2-0 Wigan (Groundhog day 4 possession proud gunners)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 10:14 am
by CLS
brilliant report for quite a dull game, but we still won , these are the game we would of drew or lost last year so it all good :arsenal:

Re: Arsenal 2-0 Wigan (Groundhog day 4 possession proud gunners)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:19 pm
by YoungGooner07
3 points clear with a game in hand :d:

Re: Arsenal 2-0 Wigan (Groundhog day 4 possession proud gunners)

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 5:29 pm
by Cheese
Long but once again great report :cool: