Leaky Latics: Arsenal 4 – 1 Wigan – Report & Player Ratings

Final Score
Arsenal 4 – 1 Wigan

After Tottenham picked up three points against Stoke, the pressure was on Arsenal to deliver the same result at home to a relegation battling Wigan side. The stakes were set high, as Wigan needed a win to avoid being relegated at the Emirates, whilst any dropped points for Arsenal would all but seal Champions League football for their bitter rivals.[quote_right]”Between the twentieth and thirtieth minute, The Gunners took a step back and decided Wigan should be given a chance to play too…”[/quote_right]

Arsenal’s first half started off perfectly. For the first ten minutes, The Gunners looked confident, strong and full of life.

Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey were looking solid in the middle, pushing the ball out wide for Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla. Tomas Rosicky looked dangerous on the edge of the Wigan area, and the Latics had no reply for Arsenal’s drive.

In the tenth minute, Cazorla whipped in a corner which eventually found an unmarked Lukas Podolski. The German headed the ball into the top of the net with ease. It was a good finish, and Arsenal were looking ruthless.

However, like all strong Arsenal starts, the strength and confidence faded. Between the twentieth and thirtieth minute, The Gunners took a step back and decided Wigan should be given a chance to play too.

Wigan were growing in belief as time went on, as Arsenal refused to increase their lead. The very same midfield that dominated the opening minutes, were now struggling to create a half-chance.

During the forty-fifth minute, Wigan struck. According to Mike Dean, Arteta committed a foul outside the area. Maloney’s resulting free kick whizzed above the head of Podolski, who refused to jump with the rest of the wall. The shot was inch perfect. Szczesny got a hand to the ball, but couldn’t keep it out. Wigan were level, and Arsenal were completely to blame.

Thankfully, the second half contained a brilliant Arsenal performance.

Wigan came out looking to get their noses in front, but a reinvigorated Arsenal side were having none of it. The Gunners looked confident again, and in the sixty third minute, they got their reward.[quote_left]” It’s not usually a nice feeling to relegate a Football Club, but I couldn’t help but smile as Arsenal took all three points.”[/quote_left]

Santi Cazorla picked up the ball on the right flank and crossed perfectly for Theo Walcott, who had made an excellent striker’s run. He touched the ball over the keeper from close range ti give Arsenal the lead.

The pressure seemed to be off Arsenal now, and it took them just five minutes to register their third goal of the night.

Poor defending from The Latics allowed Cazorla to head the ball through to Podolski, who chipped the oncoming goalkeeper to put the game to bed. Wigan looked deflated, and Arsenal were finally in sight of  the three points they so badly needed.

Arsenal’s fourth goal came just three minutes later, as Aaron Ramsey floated in from the left-wing and finished at the near post to get his first goal of the season. His performance was below par, but the finish was solid.

The rest of the game was played out by The Gunners with ease. Wigan knew they had been relegated, and Arsenal looked like the well oiled machine that had disappeared in the first half.

The final whistle brought joy to Arsenal, and pure despair to Wigan. It’s not usually a nice feeling to relegate a Football Club, but I couldn’t help but smile as Arsenal took all three points.

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[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]

Szczesny: [8/10]
Our Pole in Goal made one or two match winning saves today. He was unlucky not to keep out Maloney’s free kick, but the shot was as perfect as they come. Great overall performance.

Sagna: [5.5/10]
It is hard to pinpoint exactly what went right for Sagna today. His passing was lazy, his crossing was mostly poor, and his defensive positioning was all over the place. Had it not been for Theo Walcott, Arsenal may well have found themselves in difficulty at times. 

Mertesacker: [7.5/10]
Per read the game excellently as usual, and won several important challenges in and around the Arsenal box. Kept a cool head under Wigan pressure.

Koscielny: [8.5/10]
A contender for MOTM, Laurent was – yet again, an absolute beast at the back. If the ball was in his vicinity, he was going to win it, and there was no room for debate. Headers, tackles, sliding challenges and accurate passing made up a spectacular performance from Koscielny.

Gibbs: [7.5/10]
Did well on several occasions to keep up with the pace and movement of the Wigan attackers. Kieran got forward whenever he could, and thankfully positioned himself well defensively.

Arteta: [7/10]
Mikel did very well in the opening minutes of both halves, dictating play and controlling the tempo of the game across the midfield. Some of his passing was suspect at times.

Ramsey: [6/10]
Aaron began the game with bags of energy, which he used well. He made darting runs and was completing good passes. However, as time went on, he drifted back into his usual routine of poor pases in the final third, and extremely dangerous passing in the Arsenal half. However, his second half goal was well taken.

Rosicky: [7/10]
His influence on the game wavered as the clock ticked, but Rosicky certainly had a positive impact on the game, particularly in the first half. Neat passing paired with good movement helped create space for players around him.

Cazorla: [8.5/10]
MOTM. Out of the four goals scored by Arsenal, Santi assisted all of them. His delivery in the final third was precise, and he looked dangerous throughout the game. Could have scored a couple himself.

Walcott: [8.5/10]
Another contender for MOTM. Theo was absolutely electric. His runs behind the Wigan defence were dangerous, and his defensive work was perfect – and much needed. He took his goal well and created numerous chances.

Podolski: [7.5/10]
Lukas looked slightly off the pace in patches, but he was certainly alert when it mattered most. His header for the first goal looked easy, but the technique was superb. Equally, his second finish was – like many of his goals, beautiful to watch.

Subs:

Wilshere [N/A], Chamberlain [N/A], Vermaelen [N/A]

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[title]Leaky Latics[/title]

To say Arsenal were desperate for three points tonight would be an understatement. Without a win, Tottenham Hotspur were basically guaranteed a top four finish, so long as they beat Sunderland at home. I have argued in the past that Arsenal would struggle to bounce back from Europa League Football, and at half time, I feared the worst..

But a fantastic second half performance from Cazorla, Podolski and Walcott secured the points, and sent the leaky Latics packing. Next up, and finally, Newcastle away. Hold on to your hats.

What did you think of the Arsenal Vs Wigan match? Share your views in the comments section below!

Image: GiveMeFootball

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