Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Wigan

Recent trips to Wigan have been eventful but the memories aren’t particularly pleasant for Gooners. Arsenal have dropped 5 points in the last two visits after conceding late goals in games that the Gunners dominated and should have won.

I hope the dominance continues but the ‘Be a Gooner, be a Giver’ mantra is not taken on to the field. Arsenal have already surpassed their season’s quota of charity on the pitch.

The starting line-up for the game should be straight forward.

Szczesny – Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos – Song, Ramsey, Arteta – Walcott, RvP, Gervinho.

The only possible change I can foresee is at Right Back. Djourou could retain his spot in the line-up if Wenger believes the Swiss defender has done better than the Frenchman. The chances for that are slim though as Djourou has already played against Fulham and City. It’s doubtful that Arsene will play him for the third time in 8 games.

This should be an open game. Wigan are a team I like. Martinez has set them up to play football and deserves credit for sticking to his principles despite going through some tough times. In a similar vein, I also admire the faith the Latics have put in their manager. Both are rare qualities and I hope they stay in the Premier League.

That said, it will be extremely disappointing if Arsenal don’t pick up the three points on Saturday. Martinez hasn’t been able to get enough goals out of his side, currently the joint-lowest scorers in the League, and they aren’t defensively as strong as teams that base their game on parking the bus and route one football.

The Gunners should score at least a couple. Van Persie will again be the centre of attraction but I am hoping some of the other attacking players – Ramsey, Gervinho, and Theo – also get their names on the score sheet. The Ivorian, in particular, should get a number of chances against the likes of Emerson Boyce and Gary Caldwell. Walcott probably won’t get that much joy against Figueroa.

After the departure of N’Zogbia, Wigan’s biggest threat will probably come from the runs of  Victor Moses and the movement of Rodallega who has been struggling for form recently. Ben Watson has scored in Arsenal’s last two visits to the DW and Martinez might pick him alongside Diame, Jones, and McCarthy if he wants more of a battle in midfield. I don’t know much about Conor Sammon who has started the last two games ahead of Rodallega.

Wigan will rely on counter-attacks, shots from distance, and set-pieces. As long as there aren’t any blunders at the back, the Gunners should get the desired result. But in the last three games we have seen a counter-attacking goal with a number of players at fault, an own goal from an inexplicable error from the highly rated Vermaelen, and a physically weak moment from the big German. Against Arsenal the opponents always have hope.

The Latics know that as well as anyone else and will not give up even if they are trailing by a couple of goals with 10 minutes to go. A solid effort with unwavering concentration will be needed for the whole duration of the game. Since most of the players have had a break in midweek and are likely to get another one in the Champions League, there can really be no excuses for a poor performance. No lack of sharpness, no naïveté, no nothing.

On an unrelated note, if you like stat-based analysis, watch out for a statistical comparison of goalkeepers – Almunia, Fabianski, and Szczesny – for the last few seasons. There are some interesting/surprising numbers in there. I will be posting that on Epl Index later in the day and it should come up on NewsNow and GoonerNews. You can also join me on twitter to get a link when it is posted.


16 Responses to Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against Wigan

  1. OBA says:

    Desi, always on
    Point. 3 points
    ARSENAL

  2. war'ren gunz says:

    Enjoy coming to your blog pre and post match. Balanced and fair.

  3. cupsui says:

    good analysis there…can’t argue with any of it!! spot on mate!

    Wenger really needs to stress the complacency in this one and get the team really revved up to come out and smash them in the 1st half hour.

    there is however one interesting point that we were all saying that defensive blunders were more of a tactical and structural problem than an individual one…it seems the last few goals have come down to individual blunders. Merte’s, TV5’s own goal, and JD not covering aguero and before that yossi needlessly diving in when and not staying back to cover when koscienly was already coming across to make the challenge (probably more fault on him here than JD even).

  4. OBA says:

    No. Excuses tommorrow

  5. Desi,you are a wonderfully good blogger.

  6. WingedGooner says:

    Brilliant point that our goals conceded were more individual errors than structural. We have started consistently defending more as a team than when cesc and na$ri were represent. Even arshavin is trying his ass off.

  7. santori says:

    Reasonable enough line up. 😀

    Lets hope we wrap up the 3 points (maybe even get a fairly large score to better our goal differential.

    Good chance of Newcastle, Chelsea and Liverpool slipping up ahead of us but we must take care of our own business first.

  8. sweeper says:

    maybe alex will get an app tomorrow…. he might start

  9. Ayedun kayode says:

    Arsenal will beat wigan atleast 3 – 0 and again van persey and Geverho will score 2 day.

  10. Ngowa karisa says:

    Arsenal the best club

  11. Elekimad7 says:

    U sound more like a tactical genius

  12. feygooner says:

    I say let’s play Oxlade-Chamberlain at RB. That’ll improve his defensive game for sure!

  13. Cape Gooner says:

    “inexplicable error from the highly rated Vermaelen”
    This was easily explained by the tug from Zamora that threw him off balance.

    “and a physically weak moment from the big German”
    True, nevertheless it is only in the EPL that a player who is behind you can get in front of you without either going the long way around or by fouling you. We are lucky that the lesson was learnt in a game we won.

    It is clear that our defense is much improved. Kos will become the second choice CB when our RBs come back. PM will be rotated in and will get lots of game time. JD has had a succession of good games and on this form is clearly the best fourth choice CB in the EPL. Even Squillaci had a good game against Dzeko and Aguero.

  14. Jeff says:

    Hey Desie, i read your blog alot but i hardly comment, Just a lil advice, you can look into changing the theme of your blog on the wordpress page, your comment section looks to much like Le-grove.

  15. lankylorde says:

    Good preview as ever. Gervinho n walcott need to start taking the pressure of scoring goals off RVP. Ramsey should continue making those late runs into the box and I think Arteta needs to do the same too. Overall we have a more balanced team and I’m still looking forward to the return of JW ans AD2. 3 points in d bag after the match n confidence will b much more restored. COYG!!!

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