Wigan 0 – 1 Arsenal – Match Analysis & Player Ratings

Final Score
Wigan 0 – 1 Arsenal

After a convincing win at Reading, Arsenal travelled to the DW Stadium to face relegation battlers Wigan. The Gunners were looking to turn over a new leaf before the New Year, by stringing a few wins together. In the end, it wasn’t convincing, but three points is three points.

The first half was a display of reserved, tactical football. Wigan were crowding the midfield and closing down Cazorla & Wilshere in numbers. The Latics were pressing our back four at every opportunity, and ensured that our striker, Theo Walcott, had no room to maneuver.

Arsenal however were not phased by the excellence of Wigan’s organization. our midfielders and wingers were soon finding space and causing Wigan some real problems.[quote_right]”It wasn’t our best performance of the season, but grinding out good results from poor performances is a desirable trait for any club. A job well done.”[/quote_right]

Theo Walcott, who was playing his second game as our striker, was making good runs off the ball, but was rarely found by any of our midfielders. Wigan were fielding just three large, stocky defenders, who Walcott would have easily outpaced. If only he had the opportunity.

The first half stalemate was full of half chances, blocked shots and aggressive challenges from both teams. It was frustratingly entertaining.

Arsenal began the second half in a more positive manner. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain turned on the style with various surging runs and quick passes. He was causing the Wigan defence real difficulties, as he attacked their left flank with purpose.

Jack Wilshere was getting himself stuck in with some excellent challenges, one of which was a superbly executed sliding tackle, which he was wrongfully booked for.

On the hour mark, Theo Walcott picked up the ball on the edge of the box and was brought down by the closely trailing Beausejour. Arteta stepped up to take the spot-kick, and sent Ali Al-Habsi the in the wrong direction as he coolly finished his penalty. It wasn’t pretty, but it was all we needed.

Wigan continued to press Arsenal and were creating plenty of chances for themselves. Mertesacker in particular was doing well to stifle many attacks, mainly from Kone.

As the game wound down, Coquelin, Ramsey & Koscielny came on to replace The Ox, Podolski & Cazorla respectively, to shore up the defence in the closing minutes. For a while, Arsenal had every man bar Walcott behind the ball. A rare spectacle.

Despite a few late scares for Arsenal, the defence (finally) did it’s job to secure a clean sheet as well as all three points. It wasn’t our best performance of the season, but grinding out good results from poor performances is a desirable trait for any club. A job well done.

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[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]

Szczesny: [7/10]
The big Pole in Goal made a few decent stops from Kone to stop Wigan going ahead, as well as doing well to prevent any equalisers. Good to have a solid keeper back between the sticks.

Sagna: [6/10]
Didn’t make any major errors, but its clear to see that Sagna hasn’t regained his best form since his latest injury. I’d give Jenkinson a shout for the next game.

Mertesacker: [7.5/10]
Our BFG was once again working hard to cut out crosses and through balls, and did well on two occasions to stifle a major goal threat from Kone.

Vermaelen: [7/10]
Both Vermaelen & Mertesacker had their hands full today thanks to a creative Wigan side. But our Skipper once again did well to block crosses and pick up any loose balls.

Gibbs: [7/10]
Did very well defensively and did his utmost to provide Podolski with some attacking play.

Arteta: [7.5/10]
Sat in front of the defence and played his defensive role brilliantly. His penalty was accompanied by a lot of pressure, but he delivered anyway.

Wilshere: [8/10]
MOTM. Jack never stopped. From tought ball-winning tackles to elegant short passes, Wilshere was everywhere today. He is the perfect blend of aggression and class. Unjustly booked for this great challenge.

Cazorla: [7.5/10]
Silky turns and quick passes to feet are Cazorla’s forte, and he was vital to Arsenal today as Wigan crowded the midfield as much as they could. I can’t help but point out his habit for giving away possession is dangerous areas though. Subbed.

The Ox: [8/10]
Alex was quiet in the first half, but burst into life during the second period. He was bombing down the flank, putting in crosses and tracking back to help out Sagna whenever he could. A brilliant display. Subbed.

Podolski: [6/10]
Another game of hiding unfortunately. When Podolski is on the ball, he is as threat to any defence. However, from time to time he decides to not touch the ball for long, long periods of time. Needs to get himself involved. Subbed.

Walcott [6.5/10]
Theo didn’t re-produce his great performance against Reading, but I feel that was mainly down to some great Wigan defending. The service was constricted, and Theo was man marked all game. Had a chance to bury a chance, but his shot was tame.

Subs:

Coquelin [N/A], Ramsey [N/A], Koscielny [N/A]

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[title]To the Arsenal One Nil[/title]

It turned out to be a classic “One Nil to the Arsenal” in the end, and I couldn’t be happier. Wigan away is a tough fixture, and they put on a firm defensive display, as well as providing some attacking threat.

With the way Arsenal have been recently, simple one-nil victories is more than enough to keep me happy. We ned to stabilize ourselves going into the new year, where Bayern Munich now awaits us.

What did you think of the Wigan Vs Arsenal Match? Should Theo be our first choice striker? Share your views in the comments section below.

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