Wigan vs Arsenal, 2-2: Full time analysis and player ratings
Written by Chris on December 30, 2010 0:40
Let’s start from the obvious. With all the games coming up in the next two weeks, Arsene Wenger’s decision to change eight players was spot on and I’m afraid all those saying he shouldn’t have done so need to understand what it takes to play back-to-back games in such a short period of time.
But, the way he rotated the team was – to say the least – shocking. Starting with Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh together, two players who never played alongside each other and are so similar was foolish. In fact, as the game showed, one of them did well, the other was completely anonymous. I know Arsene wants us to understand that Marouane can play alongside other strikers but today was not the day to show it.
Starting with Abou Diaby was also a big no-no. Yes, I know, I praised Abou and he was in my favourite line-up but I don’t have access to the medical staff and when I believe a player is to start I am taking for granted he is fully fit and passed several tests before the game.
The Frenchman either didn’t pass any tests or he did pass them but as always there is something wrong going on with the medical staff. Way too many players are rushed back and suffer setbacks, this has to stop, well, it had to stop years ago.
End result: shocking first 30 minutes and we concede. But, having said all that, and because Andrey Arshavin sometimes wakes up and remembers that he can be a key element in our team, we took the lead. This means that regardless how wrong Arsene’s line-up was and regardless how shocking we were in the first part of the game we somehow managed to turn things round in style. No surprise there, it happens when you have top-class players.
Then what? Jack Wilshere gets a small smack on his face and goes down as if hit by a sniper, Wigan are down to ten men, our goalkeeper makes the umpteenth mistake as he fails to deal with yet another high ball in the air and it’s game over.
Notice how I didn’t mention the referee’s shocking decision not to give us a clear Fabregas-vs-Spurs-like penalty in the final part of the game or the fact that their penalty was on the edge and not inside simply because we can’t blame the referee for every single draw or defeat. Sometimes it has to be about us and today is one of those days.
To conclude, I repeat, rotation had to done today but the way it was done was completely wrong. I loved the way we bounced back from the early conceded goal but I hated how we conceded, again, from a set-piece. Shame, big shame.
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Fabianski: 6 – My man of the match before the conceded goal for some excellent blocks but yet again he shows why we cannot rely on him for a whole season. Two wrong decisions, one against Newcastle and one today, that’s five points thrown away.
Koscielny: 4 – Not good enough. Not my words, but those of the Italian commentator who at one stage said, “He’s a disaster, he doesn’t belong to this level of football”. In the second minute of the game he showed all his problems when he gave the ball away and then lost his man who went on to have a free header. More and more mistakes followed including raising his leg for no reason in the move which led to the soft penalty.
Squillaci: 5 – As disappointing as his French colleague. Also guilty of a foolish mistake inside the first five minutes of the game and again incredibly slow in certain occasions.
Sagna: 6,5 – Solid game as always from the Frenchman although I believe he could have done more to defend the corner which led to the equaliser.
Eboue: 5 – Charles N’Zogbia looked dangerous whenever on the ball as Emmanuel struggled on a wing which clearly he doesn’t belong to.
Denilson: 5 – A superb second half cannot cancel a shocking first in which he allowed the Wigan players to surge past him as if he was a training cone. This player, simply, does not try. Many criticise Andrey for not trying hard enough, it would be fair to look beyond Russia sometimes.
Diaby: No Vote – Together with Tomas Rosicky, Abou was the only one who actually managed to create danger in the first part of the game, including one of his typical nice runs on the left. Another injury ended his game prematurely. Shame.
Rosicky: 6,5 – One of the few who actually tried and tried hard from start to finish. Some of his passes were fantastic, like the 5th minute assist to Arshavin and of course cannot be blamed if those in front of him make no runs to meet his passes.
Arshavin: 7 – Wow, what a tricky rating. At one stage my match notes said, “33: arshavin, horrible game”. Minutes later, “39: arshavin, 1-1″. Granted, he was horrible in the first part of the game but let’s face it, if it wasn’t for him I doubt we would have got something out of this game. Scored with a superb acrobatic volley, was the one to win the ball and set-up Nicklas for the second and went close to score the third in the second half.
Bendtner: 6 – Horrible, horrible start from the Dane. The reason why he started on the right beats me, was of course more influential when he moved into a more central position. Top goal, great first touch and great finish.
Chamakh: 5 – Yet another disappointing game from the Moroccan who failed to take advantage of Monday’s rest. Working hard for the team is no longer a reason to justify his presence in the team, he is to wake up and start finding the net as he did in the first part of the season. If tired, others should play.
Wilshere: 6,5 – It is funny how many of the players who are supposed to be “mature” should look at this 18-year old and understand what it means to fight, give it all and not be shy to tackle. Brilliant pass to Andrey in the second half though a little bit disappointed with how he went down to win a red card though to be honest – on his feet or on the ground – the Wigan player made a foolish gesture for which he was rightly sent off.
Walcott and Nasri: No Vote – Surprise surprise, they came on too late to make an impact.