Posts Tagged ‘victor moses’

Live Report: Arsenal v Wigan Thoughts

01/12/2010

A few thoughts on last night’s victory over Wigan…

The performance wasn’t a vintage one but this was partly down due to the awful conditions. Freezing temperatures, falling snow and swirling winds did not for flowing football make. The atmosphere was pretty good all things considered but there were certainly far fewer people then the advertised 59,525.

I’m sure many people felt that they’d rather sacrifice the tenner they paid instead of sitting in the cold for two hours. Indeed, the guy sitting next me bailed at half time, clearly thinking “Sod this, I’m freezing”.

Kick off

On the pitch there were a few impressive performances. Wilshere kept things ticking at a reasonable pace, hitting probing passes and telling people where he wanted them to run. Van Persie, the captain for the night, had some lovely touches including a couple of flicks that Vela should really have finished off. His set pieces were always hit at a threatening pace too.

Kieran Gibbs has been getting rave reviews whenever he’s played and this game was no different. Always comfortable in defence, he consistently overlapped Vela down the left wing. The crosses/cutbacks didn’t always pick someone out but as many others have said, Gael Clichy should be looking over his shoulder.

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You could argue Vela, Walcott and Bendtner were disappointing, and I suppose they all had presentable chances to score (the latter of course did) – however it would be unfair to simply judge them by the scoresheet. Bendtner of course is still working his way to full fitness and as usual was often in the right place at the right time; his scoring touch will come.

Walcott didn’t really trouble Figueroa in the 1st half but found a little more joy in the second where he started to roam. Indeed his best effort came when cutting in from the left and curling a shot just wide.

Vela was the most interesting. He missed two glorious chances which he normally puts away but generally was always available as an outlet. He’s in the trickiest situation of those three, I just don’t see where he fits in long term.

Swirling snow.

I should mention Wigan’s performance which wasn’t especially bad but lacked a butting edge. Their early tactic was to hit balls out wide to the left where Victor Moses was situated – clearly they thought Eboue was not fully fit. However he went off with a dislocated shoulder towards the end of the 1st half and with that Wigan’s threat somewhat disappeared.

They had some half chances but these stemmed from sloppiness on Arsenal’s part rather than any real creativity. Perhaps I was most impressed with the fact that Caldwell, Alcaraz and Boselli all wore short sleeve shirts and no gloves. Hardcore!

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Once the second goal had gone in the game somewhat petered out. A few chances were missed and everyone was willing the final whistle. Some mild entertainment was provided by a pitch invader who ran the length of the touchline to shake Wenger’s hand.

Clearly the cold had numbed the stewards’ reactions. This was proven a few minutes later when two more kids tried their luck. They were more interested in putting on a show and spent the next minute or so sliding around the Emirates pitch whilst players stood bewildered and stewards chased in vain.

Eventually Eboue got them to stop. It wasn’t particularly clever on their part but I do think it is an isolated incident unlikely to be repeated. The combination of freezing cold weather, bored kids and stewards who weren’t alert is not a particularly common one. After all the one near me was sharp enough to spot me swigging from a hip flask. Given the choice/ultimatum of confiscating it or drinking it all at once in the concourse, I chose the latter naturally.

Pitch invaders...

An intriguing night all in all, with the victory being the most important aspect. The news that Ipswich will be the semi-final opponents should provide a great opportunity to play at Wembley in February.

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T.

Season Previews 2010/11 – Wigan

10/08/2010

Wigan

Last Season: 16th

New Signings: Boselli, Stam, McArthur, Alcaraz, Al-Habsi

Key Player: Hugo Rodallega

One To Watch: James McCarthy

Needs A Big Year: Antolin Alcaraz

Would Quite Like: To concede a few less goals while scoring a few more. Avoid embarrassing seven, eight and nine goal thrashings.

Less of this needed.

Prediction: 18th

Thoughts: As much as I’d love Roberto Martinez to do well with Wigan I worry for them this season. I was charmed by Swansea’s cup run couple of years ago as he oversaw an attacking, pacy style of play and he has made similar attempts to introduce this with Wigan.

However, the result had been a very leaky defence which conceded 79 goals last season, a figure which only Burnley ‘beat’. Quite why they’ve sold their best central defender in Titus Bramble I’ll never know. His replacement needs to perform straight away.

With this in mind plus the fact that bigger clubs are trying to swoop in on the likes Rodallega and N’Zogbia, Wigan’s prospects look a little grim. Their biggest signing has been the striker Boselli for about £6m and you just feel that maybe part of that should have gone on strengthening the backline.

I have no doubt Moses, Rodallega, N’Zogbia et al will ensure lots of goals but a defence like theirs means trouble. I like Wigan as a club and admire that they try to play football the right way but I think this season will see an end to their stay in the top flight.

T.


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