Arsenal 3 – 0 Wigan: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

Dominant. Impressive. Delightful to watch. I guess that was the most one sided game Arsenal have played for a long, long time. Wigan aren’t one of the league’s high fliers but any team would have struggled against Arsenal in such sublime form. But for some excellent saves by Al-Habsi and a couple of missed sitters this could have been a cricket score. I’ll happily take 3-0 anyway, thank you.

Some of the football played by Arsenal was mesmerising. Chances came at a regular interval like local trains in Mumbai. Unlike inside those trains, Arsenal found a great deal of space in attacking areas as Wigan didn’t park the bus. The visitors tried to press in the middle but Arsenal’s movement and passing was just too good for them.

Nasri was the first to test the Wigan keeper in the 4th minute. Walcott laid it on a plate for RvP after the same duration. Al-Habsi knew he was in for a big game and was showing that he won’t give in easily. Theo again found an Arsenal player free in the box in the 15th minute but Fabregas’ strike was blocked by a defensive lunge. This chance was set up by a beautiful diagonal ball by Clichy that put Walcott in behind. Minutes later the England international had his strike saved. In between all these chances Arsenal had plenty of corners and free-kicks.

At this point the believers would have felt that the first goal was just a matter of time. It arrived in the 21st minute after a spell of possession. Song played a lovely through ball to RvP who finished on the turn after being played on-side by Figueroa.

The Gunners continued to push forward and chances to double the lead were created almost at will. Walcott passed even when through on goal, Nasri didn’t generate enough power when he only had the Keeper to beat, and Cesc had some shots saved. At the end of the first half Arsenal had 13 shots, 8 on target, but only 1 goal to show for two thirds of possession and complete territorial dominance.

Martinez must have felt his side was still in with a shout even if they didn’t deserve it. The Latics manager introduced a second striker, Di Santo, and one of his key players returning from injury, James McArthur, at the start of the second half.

For the first five minutes after the restart it looked like Wigan will provide a fight and Arsenal struggled to get the ball moving. But the Gunners woke from their slumber soon enough and regained control of the game.

The second goal cushion was achieved in the 58th minute. Song took a quick, short free-kick. Fabregas controlled the ball, looked up, and dropped it on a penny for Van Persie. The Dutchman timed his run perfectly and volleyed it home. RvP generated a great deal of power on that volley without striking it very hard. Those who follow Cricket will know the concept of timing and this was a wonderful example of timing in football. Those who have played both games will know this was much tougher than timing any shot in Cricket. Van Persie made it look easy but it was another magnificent goal.

After the second goal Arsenal eased off a bit but the chances kept coming. Fabregas won a penalty and Caldwell was sent off for DOGSO in the 70th minute. I’m not sure of this but I think it came from a perfect through ball by Song. RvP had a chance to get his hat-trick but hit it over the bar.

Down to 10 men Wigan gave up all hope of coming back into the game and played for damage control. Arsenal took it easy as the pace of the game dropped.

No match with RvP is complete unless the striker rattles the woodwork. He did so minutes after missing the penalty.

With five minutes to go the Dutchman did complete his hat-trick. Cesc played another delightful ball for the run of Walcott who wasn’t able to take it in his stride. The youngster did well to hold off the pressure from the defender while Van Persie came and finished it off with his right foot.

In the whole game, Wigan only managed three shots with none on target. I thought it was a complete team performance from Arsenal with all the players doing well.

Individual Performances

Szczesny: Had a picnic.

Sagna: Good work up and down the right. Showed good understanding with Walcott.

Djourou: Read the game well, showed composure when needed. Rarely troubled.

Koscielny: Same as Djourou.

Clichy: Excellent. Looked like the Clichy of old. Good interceptions, couple of lovely diagonal balls, did well against N’Zogbia.

The back five were very solid and never looked like conceding. Fourth Premiership clean sheet in a row and one that was fully deserved.

Song: Strong in tackle and tracking back, provided the final pass on a couple of occasions.

Cesc: On another day he might have scored 3. Opened Wigan up time and again. Looked like he was enjoying himself.

Wilshere: Steady game. Kept it simple. Had a couple of exciting moments in the second half.

The midfield owned the pitch with their movement, passing, tackling, and interceptions.

Walcott: Made some perfectly timed runs, excellent intelligent crosses, could have had a hat-trick of assists, should have scored when he got through.

RvP: He’s back. Now he must stay! Excellent runs and finishing, put Walcott through with a delightful ball on a counter-attack, should have done better with the penalty but it was the only blip and an uncharacteristic one at that. Was this his first hat-trick for Arsenal? I recall a number of braces but no trebles.

Nasri: excellent movement, got into scoring positions, worked the keeper on most occasions, created openings for others as well.

The front three showed telepathic understanding and provided the midfield with plenty of forward looking options.

Subs: Arshavin tried but will take time to regain form, Denilson was strong in the final few minutes, Chamakh had a nice jog.

United have, as expected, carried on with their home form. The Tiny Totts needed a late equalizer to get a point. Man City have just lost at Aston Villa in a game where Hart gifted the opposition the only goal of the game, Tevez missed a sitter, and Yaya Toure looked like a bigger, slower, insanely expensive, and utterly useless version of Denilson. Arsenal are second now and looking set for a strong charge.


47 Responses to Arsenal 3 – 0 Wigan: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. shottagunna says:

    Desi – I am ashamed of you for using Denilson’s name as a form of insult. All you are doing is doing the dirty work of the crazy, football-ignorant members of the Arsenal blogshere. You know better.

    • Zgunner says:

      Ashamed is not the word… slightly surprised. I am tired of people going off at our players (even in “humor”).

      Denilson was great against Leeds. Just don’t play him in a “weakened” side as he still lacks experience. When he’s got cesc/nasri and song playing with him he usually performs much better. I guess the poor guy needs a beauty of a goal from a free kick or something to see a little more love from his fans.

      Denilson will be fine.

      • Phil23 says:

        If you bother to read Desi’s blog regularly you would find that he is a massive Denilson Supporter. He also didn’t use Denilsons name as an insult at all. He that Toure was much worse than Denilson, not stating how good Denilson was at all.

    • desigunner says:

      Perhaps you’re rushing to a conclusion there?

      How is what I said same as ‘using Denilson’s name as a form of insult’.

      All I said was that in this particular game Yaya Toure was much worse than the sixth choice midfielder at Arsenal. If you flip it, it would read Denilson is sharper, shorter, better, and cheaper than Toure (Based on just this game). How is that an insult?

      The way Toure let Young run past him, the number of times he just jogged around without contributing, and in general hardly any positive contribution – these are the kind of arguments used against Denilson and I thought it’s interesting to note that Yaya, probably the highest paid midfielder, did not do much better in this game!

      The wording was deliberate, I just wanted to see how people react. It’s nice to see both types of responses. One type as you have mentioned here and the other below where someone else is defending Toure.

      • veskovp says:

        Denilson is not an Arsenal type of player, he is not sharp , does not have vision for the game, no forward pass, not good tackling. And how many years you need to say he has experience .He plays in England from 6-7 years. From how many Jack Wilshere play. Do you get my point. Overall he can be a deep deep cover, and should play only in domestic cup games and against the last 6-7 teams in PL. But then if he is not going to be in your long term future, why do not you see what would happen with the likes of Eastmond, Frimpong and Lansbury and give them a chance , cash in on Denilson and buy some strong tall defender to cover our defenders.

      • Jazbo says:

        Every team needs it’s “water carrier” and that’s what Denilson is to us.

  2. HexyDre says:

    Yup. RvP’s first treble for Arsenal.
    Haha at your description of Yaya T, isn’t ‘utterly useless version of Denilson’ some sort of tautology? Kidding.
    Great game! Now for the important league cup matter on Tuesday.

  3. simmer10 says:

    I feel the same about haha very slow and predictable!

  4. cdawgg says:

    For goodness sake, as an Arsenal supporter, Yaya is ten times the player denilson will ever be, so please stop making pointless, inane comparisons.

    Also, if you’d actually watched the citeh match, Hart made a good save from Ashley Young and Bent simply knocked home the rebound. It was hardly a ‘gift’. Do try to get your facts straight.

    • Salvador Dali says:

      Absolutely right,he is tremendously powerful box to box player, he is not used in the Denilson position at all but if he was to be used that way and we had him , say,we could have played with him as SINGLE pivot, ( same as he played for Barca , when nothing went by him) it would have allowed more versatility in our attack. In anycase it is shabby to denigrate such a player and why diss Denilson like some of the jackals out there?

      • desigunner says:

        I don’t share your opinion about Yaya, I feel he is a touch slower and not fit (stamina wise) enough for the Premiership i.e. like Arshavin he doesn’t run/chase often enough. In La Liga he could get away with it but not here. If he plays the sole DM his team would seriously struggle.

        That said, I did not wish to denigrate the player and don’t believe I have done that. That comment was just for this one performance and a dig at those who diss Denilson rather than at Toure. Read it that way and perhaps it won’t seem so bad.

    • desigunner says:

      cdawgg do you realize that just because you have an opinion it does not become a fact?

  5. Tim says:

    Spot on: this was a complete team performance. For me, this all stemmed from Song and Wilshere’s iron grip on midfield, which meant N’Zogbia and Rodallega barely saw the ball. But the interplay among our front four was delightful. Cesc and RvP in particular are now back on top form, and if we can keep those two fit to the end of the season we can accomplish great things.

    What a weak it’s been after the despondency of the first Leeds game and then the Ipswich defeat! Just goes to show that fans need to keep the faith. When we play like we did today, we can beat anybody in world football.

    http://thearmchairsportsfan.com/2011/01/22/fabregas-the-architect-van-persie-the-destroyer-as-arsenal-humiliate-wigan/

  6. 1NilToTheArsenal says:

    An absolute joy to watch today. Could have easily been 6 or 7-nil to the Arsenal. As you’ve noted all the big names performed to potential, and (from open play) RvP has never looked better. He truly has his mojo back – what touch, what timing! Absolutely brilliant to stay onside for that first one, and the entire hat trick was one touch scoring (correct me if I’m wrong).
    That all being said, I wouldn’t be a modern-day Gooner if I didn’t complain about something, but it’s not about our club as they were truly Arsenal today. I am getting quite neurotic about Man U not having lost yet and as they are so wont to do, actually improving as the season wears on. They are so good – how I hate them. It’s a long way to go until then, but I really can’t wait for the home match with them in May. Still, it’s a great weekend to be a Gooner – enjoy it everyone.
    1NTTA

  7. john says:

    Great win today and Arsenal are ticking along nicely plus another clean sheet by careful desi there’s a lot of Denilson fans out there at attack anyone that says anything bad about him even when its the truth. Out of all the blogs your assessment of players performances are always fair and balanced….. keep up the excellent work.

  8. Wilsheres dad says:

    Another fantastic team performance & that makes 4 clean sheets out of the last 5 in the EPL, with only one conceded.
    I’ll have to watch the game on the TV ‘ cause I thought over all Theo had a poor game, looking like the pace only merchant of old. Bottling his one on one with Al-Habsi in the first half was criminal for a striker. He may have made a few good passes but he displayed his usual inability to go past players with the ball.

    • Mick says:

      Wilsheres dad, I cannot agree with you regarding Walcott, I thought he did well. He laid on two absolute gilt edge chances for RVP and Cesc in the first half and provided the assist for the third goal. Not a bad contribution if he had done nothing else in the entire game, but he appeared to me to be in control of himself and made several intelligent, well timed runs. I don’t remember any of those ‘two left feet’ moments today that we have seen on occasion in the past. He certainly did not look out of place amongst the magnificence of Cesc, RVP and Nasri.

      • james says:

        Same here, thought Theo had an excellent game other than the miss and the way he left the opportunity for RVP on the last goal was so nice; you’d have expected him to shoot but he saw he wasn’t in the right position and held up the play for Robin to hammer it in.
        You’re also spot on with his runs; he continuously caused trouble for their backs and did well with his runs and checking back into the central when there were no outlets. I also notice that a lot of his passes into the box for some reason aren’t well telegraphed by our forwards; we need some inward running into the near post when low crosses are fired in.

    • desigunner says:

      I agree with the observations of Mick and James. Strikers miss one on one’s all the time. It’s not that big a deal. I thought either Theo didn’t get the ball out of his feet in a manner that would have made a shot feasible or he got a call from Cesc. Perhaps a combination.

      His pass could have been better though. Even against Chelsea his square ball for Cesc was a bit tentative and almost short. That’s something he can work on.

  9. Metalhead says:

    First hatrick for RVP. This is the difference between RVP and Chamakh/Bendtner. This guys score out of nothing. The second goal that he scored is the kind of goal that Chamakh or Bendtner would have struggled to score. He made it look so easy.

    Last season at this time we were fighting to stay in the league title race by relying on last ditch efforts by Bendtner to win us games and our squad was as thin as the the resistance put up by Wigan. At this point we almost have a full squad.The key players for me are RVP, Cesc, Walcott, Nasri, Song and Djourou. If these guys stay fit, I am confident we can win the title. Go Gunners!!!!!

  10. stiko says:

    Where r those fake fans who asked for VP to be sold. I hope u have had ur share of humble pie. Yes we all know VP is injury prone but we luv him still. When fit he is unstoppable and arguably the best striker in d EPL. The team played well today. JD and KC more or less were rested today, ipswich nxt keep up d clean sheet n dnt worry MAN U can’t go unbeaten its nt just possible.

  11. geofel says:

    i”m surprised that majority of u guys didnt make any comments about walcotts game dis evening.
    I mean what was he thinking when he had only d keeper to beat. If it were arshavin,denilson,or even bendtner, y’all be screaming for their heads by now.
    But all d same, a wondaful game dat was..
    Jst pray rvp remain injury free for the rest of d season.

    • Phil23 says:

      Imo he did exactly the right thing. If he hadn’t miss hit the pass it would have been a tap in, which just happens to be a classic arsenal goal. If he tried to shoot and it was saved you would be saying he should have passed it to the open Fabregas for a tap in…

      • Messi's dad says:

        don’t forget, it was also excellent defensive work by the guy who did the last ditch tackle before Fab could shoot!

  12. Finnish Hit says:

    Drifting off to another topic… who was captain for the last 5 minutes? I tried to look for the armband but didn’t see it.

    It would be interesting to know who it was, after the three captainious ones were taken off. I would guess on seniority that it would be Arshavin, but saw him not waring the armband. Probably someone in defense – but whom?

    • Metalhead says:

      Good Point! If it wasn’t Arshavin it might have been Clichy or maybe Sagna. Probably even Song.

    • desigunner says:

      I didn’t notice anyone with the armband, that’s not to say no one had it. Could it be that Cesc took it off with him 🙂

      Most likely he’d have given it to the guy nearest to him when his name came up or to someone on the way. I don’t think he’d have thought too much about it at that stage of the game.

  13. Bongo says:

    Actually Metalhead the second goal is exactly the kind of goal bendtner scores the problem is he only ever scores spectacular/difficult goals and fluffs the sitters, he never has simple goals. Have a look at some his “best goal” compilation videos.

    Chamakh is fantastic, he tracks back and works far harder than Van Persie, holds the ball and brings other into play just as well as Van Persie but his strength is his aerial ability. He was bought to give us a new dimension to our play but he is never used that way he’s always dropping deep or wide and collect the ball, hold it give to a midfielder so when high crosses come in he’s nowhere to be seen. Besides most of our crosses come from Sagna and Clichy and they’re not the best at it.

    For our 2nd and 3rd choice strikers we could do a hell of a lot worse. As others already said, Chamakh got us through the start of the season, thrown into the deep end and he scored 10 goals and made 6 assists since august and hasn’t actually started regularly in weeks. In fact the most goals and assists he has in one season are 16/7. That’s a fantastic return for someone still adapting to the premiership.

    I wouldn’t swap them for any other teams 2nd and 3rds (man city don’t count)

  14. GunnerX says:

    Brilliant overall team performance, but the standouts were Rvp, Cesc and Song. Lets hope we’re peaking at the right time of the season and fingers crossed no more injuries.

  15. Salvador Dali says:

    Our left side with A.Cole, Pires, Henry used to be deadly, now it is dead.
    Clichy is not really an up and down effective LB, and since the mercurial great little Russian has demised ( hopefully like the phoenix will resurrect very soon) he is our Joker in the pack, and we need him for the tricky games, Nasri by default starts there but does his best elsewhere on the pitch.
    the lack of left wing play narrows us a lot.

    Arse forwards have to tune themselves to runs from deep to the face of goal when crosses come in. the last time I remember such goal was Lansbury; bundling, tapping in goals is something we don’t do enough. shame that.

  16. Jimmie says:

    “I guess that was the most one sided game Arsenal have played for a long, long time” Got to disagree..

    Have you forgot the Billion dollar luxury bus team… at least Wigan make our Cb sweat a bit.

  17. JP says:

    Job well done Go Gunners!

  18. w12mcee says:

    just hope all these one sided games dont turn out to be a curse for our defence when they suddenly have to face those barca boys. desi mate, i cant wait for your pre-match analysis on that one. my comments may need a bit of moderating due to the adrenaline thats built up over the last few months. just hope RVP, Nas and fab can stay fit, and fabianski stays unfit. i know i shouldnt mention barca yet, 1 game at a time and all that cliche talk but i cant lie, i’m amped. RVP is back!

  19. santori says:

    Bloody excellent game!

    Like you said 24 shots for us (10 on target), 3 shots for Wigan (zero on target)

    And yet another clean sheet at the back.

    RVP was superb. Definately coming back to form and we’ll need him for the rest of the season to finish strong.

    Fabregas is also coming into superb form. Some of his close control was mesmerising and the passing from deep was sublime.

    We’re looking very strong hunting down the ball and attacking at pace with menace.

    Even Hansen has conceded that we are United’s top challenger with City falling short. 😀

  20. AnonymousGun says:

    http://twitter.com/Persie_Official

    Is RvP’s twitter, promoted by Cesc himself.

    • Finnish Hit says:

      Thank you AnonymousGun for pointing out that Denilson was captain at the end.

      Actually I’m not at all surprised that it was him.

      What I am surprised at is to still see our own team’s “player haters” on this quality blog. I wish they would went their frustrations elsewhere. There are enough blogs where the main idea is to bash Arsenal players, whoever’s turn it may be on the day or season. No substance, not worth reading.

  21. Wrightydehenry says:

    Great write up, at the back it’s Sagna we miss the most he must be the hardest working player. He’s a rock at the back and links up brilliantly with the forwards. 20% improvement in his crossing and we would double the number of goals we score.

  22. Serengeti gooner says:

    after Rvp skied the penalty, I was a little dissaappointed at the thought of missing out on our 3 goals trademark scoreline! Thank God my dissapappointment was short lived.

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