Wigan stalemate a frustrating yet fair result

It was a bit of a bump back to reality for Arsenal yesterday as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Wigan at the JJB Stadium. Arsene Wenger’s side had the two best chances to win the match – the first through Emmanuel Adebayor in the very first minute and the other through Cesc Fabregas at the very end – but in between those it was a very even contest with Wigan giving as good as the got on an exceptionally difficult playing surface.

A disappointed Fabregas trudges off after Arsenal’s draw with WiganA number of key players underperformed in this match. Adebayor as well as Alexandr Hleb were particularly disappointing – given the ball away on a consistent basis – while Cesc Fabregas struggled to have his usual impact after being forced wide on the right due to Gilberto Silva starting alongside Mathieu Flamini in the middle. It was a personel change that I had hoped Wenger could avoid going into the match but with Denilson missing out through injury the manager was left with no other choice.

Unfortunately, it proved fatal to Arsenal’s chances of winning the match. While the Fabregas-Flamini combination was a dominant force against AC Milan at the San Siro midweek the introduction of Gilberto not only limited the Spaniard’s influence but also lead to Flamini putting in a less-than-perfect showing. However, neither the Brazilian nor the manager should not be blamed for the chance; a bench void of Theo Walcott, Emmanuel Eboue and even Denilson meant that Wenger was left with no alternative but to start Gilberto in the middle.

The poor playing surface meant that while the attacking players struggled, the defensive players excelled. Philippe Senderos and William Gallas showed again how well they work together in the centre of the defence while Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy were arguably Arsenal’s two best players. As a result, despite Wigan’s admirable performance, the home side rarely caused the Arsenal backline any problems, as Wenger was quick to point out in the post-match conference.

“Overall we did what we could and gave everything. We had a serious defensive game and we did not give any chances away. Wigan deserve credit too because they fought very hard.”

The draw means that for the first time this year, Manchester United look set to overtake Wenger’s side at the top of the table. Yet there is still no need to panic. I felt the desire to win was most certainly present in this match despite the indifferent performances of a number of the Arsenal players and that desire will be incredibly important in the final stretch of the season.

So, it wasn’t a great weekend for the Arsenal Football Club but by no means was it a disaster either. Let’s just hope that the team can refocus and use the motivation of (most likely) falling behind Manchester United to play their way back into some form in the Premiership soon, starting at home to Middlesbrough next weekend. Fingers crossed then.

What do you think?

Have your say on Arsenal’s draw with Wigan by leaving a comment.



  1. i disagree on several points.
    One, that there is no need to panic. While i wouldnt want to panic, we have crossed over to a stage where it is now more likely to go away from arsenal than with arsenal.

    2nd, i dont agree that wenger didnt have alternative to leaving gilberto out. he definitely could have put gilberto at Right Back and moved sagna up . that way he could keep cesc and flamini in the middle. gilberto is hugely out of form, cannot hold the ball and puts too much pressure on the other players.

  2. I definitely get both your points. Moving Gilberto to right-back would have been a pretty bold move. When’s the last time he played there? I’d have preferred Hoyte to start and Sagna moved forward to be honest, but even that is such a significant change.

    In terms of ‘not panicking’ – I just mean that I think people shouldn’t go too over the top about this one. Yesterday’s post had so many comments saying how bad Arsenal are now – because of a few draws. As fans we mustn’t go over the top. Patience is the key! Cheers for your comments millefiori.

  3. It was a fair result in the end and a draw was deserved for both sides.

    I’m the first to admit that you had the better chances but we defended very well indeed and Kirkland was on fire.

    It doesn’t dampen your chances of winning the premier league so much but your ambition now is to at least get draws away from home against the other “top 4” teams.

    For us, its a point towards safety and I think we will be safe.

    Overall it was a decent effort from both sides.

  4. Disappointing but expected. After the highs of the san siro this was not a game we wanted, a home game would have been most welcome.What this game shows is that if we’re not given space and time (like milan) we struggle.Although I don’t think we’re being bullied,I don’t think we’ve mastered
    these types of games yet.It will be very difficult now, we just have to hope that the mancs drop a few points.

  5. If we look at it honestly, apart from the Milan games, we haven’t played well for the past couple of months and have thrown away the carling cup, FA cup and now (considering Man U’s current form in the league) very likely thrown away the Premiership. What hurts is that it is us that have had it all in our hands and let it go. I know this will sound like harsh criticism for some but the tradition of all football clubs, and what makes them the clubs they are today, is built on what they have won and the trophies they continue to win. To throw away the chance to increase our overall trophy tally in 3 competitions is disappointing. I have been supporting Arsenal for nearly 40 years and Wengers teams, and the football they play, are by far the best I have ever seen. The disapointment for me is that these great teams deserve to win much more than they have and inn years to come I don’t want to rue the fact that we let so much elude us in this purple patch of pure football. Just my views but interested to know what others think.

  6. i would have definetly preffered a reshuffle on the right rather than Gilberto playing in the centre, he really seems to be very off form at the moment, underperforming when he gets chances. We looked quite drained during the match and 6 days off will do us good. If we make less mistakes than Man U we can win..

  7. I wish y’all would stop whining about the f*cking pitch. Great teams don’t blame the f**king pitch. Wigan showed up to fight (they did well) and Wenger didn’t have a plan to break down their defence.

    Why bring off Bendtner instead of Ade? Ade was shi*e yesterday and Nicky (like Senderos) was on. That was the tactical move that cost us two points.

  8. How depressing it is to see a wonderfully put together team thwarted by the inept attacking coaching. I believe the main reason we didn’t miss Henry was that without him players were encouraged to keep the ball wide and for longer, sending late passes accross the goal for anyone to pick up. With him in the team players were encouraged to wade through a massively packed defence, straight through the middle,in the hope of passing to him even though he was extremely well marked. Now with Adebeyor up front this all too familiar pattern is again becoming the norm. Why is it that our own coaching staff cannot see it when every manager that plays against us can, even AC Milan tried to pack their defence to thwart our attack, all too common did they bring back at least seven defenders plus a keeper. Admittedly Fabregas shot a clean ball through from 30 yards, I wont call it a lucky goal as it will take the gloss off what was a good goal, but nevertheless ‘lucky’ in the sense that AC left enough room for his to shoot in the first place. Contrast that to the final goal, an excellent run out wide, wonderful ball control by Walcot culminating with a good shot accross goal for Adebayor to toe in. More of these please from either side of the box. The pitch is the same width all the way down, use the space productively and, don’t feel that a diagonal run is the only option from the half way line. More goals will follow, believe me, and non events like yesterday will be banished to the history books.

  9. And why was Toure, Senderos AND Gallas on the simultaneously? What boll*cks was that?

  10. Thank you Goons_With_Guns, a reasonable statement about the game on Sunday.

    It was an even contest and a draw was a fair result.

    End of.

    Do people forget that Wigan have to play on the pitch too, we put up an amazing fight and deserved a point?

    When its one of the big four, of course these points are overlooked.

    If we can respect Arsenal (which I do of all teams) then why not Wigan?

  11. Of course Wenger had a choice on whether to play the useless Gilberto.But playing him it meant pushing our most creative player out on the right.We were playing Wigan in a must win game yet we had no width for the whole game.Why does it take nearly 70 mins for Wenger to make subsitutions.I would have brought Toure on at half time,gone 3 at the back and push the two full backs forward into wing backs.We have come to the stage of the season where 1pt is not enough.Look at the league table only one defeat but 9 draws(nearly a 3rd of our games)We could end up losing less games than Man Utd and Chelski and still not win the title.

  12. Goons_wit_Guns: I will respond to two of your comments as follows;

    Adebayor/Bendtner comming out; Adebayor even in an off day he works the defense more which provides breathing space for our midfield and defense. With Wigan’s growing confidence near the end, he was required mainly as an “advance defender” and still provide a threat here and there. Bendtner Would have been great but with Van-Persie not realy “match-fit”, we needed a workhorse to partner him, otherwise he would have to work extra hard and we don’t want to see him work himself to another injury.

    Toure, Senderos and Gallas on simultaneously; Toure originally was a midfielder, and in his early days with Arsenal he played at right back. For me he should have started on the right so as not to disrupt our Cesc/Flamini partnership, either @ RB or RW.

    Ray evans; We did not have wide midfielders to attempt what you suggest. Hleb was not helped by the pitch and he was the only wide midfielder in the side, albeit playing on the left instead of the right side.

    Mark: We haven’t been unlucky on all 3 occassions. When Man U are unlucky they tend to lose the games. People are forgetting that A Villa couldn’t score and the goal we gifted them was under no preassure. Big Phill lost focus a bit and didn’t attack the ball. Even then, we scored both goals so they were lucky to draw. We are good and it is still in our hands.

    “Both teams played on the same pitch”; Crap, we play on that pitch once a season, they play on it 18 times. If you have two individuals speaking both french and english, but one is a natural English speaker with the other natural French speaker, Who is going to have an advantage in a debate in one of the Languages? the flip side is a good pitch does not hurt anyone, but a bad one does. Managers knows this and are happy to have a poor pitch when Arsenal comes to town. How about the OT pitch being woefull the day arsenal visited and good any other time? The advantage is that Arsenal have to spend some time adjusting to the pitch before playing their game and that put us on a back foot for a while. Depending on how the home side use those minutes while arsenal are figuring the pitch out. Matches can be won or lost. We RARELY lose.

  13. It was frustuating yesterday. Instead of getting 9 points from 3 league games we got 3. Two draws agaisnt relegation baattlers and a home draw against Villa. We should have at least made 7 out of 9 from those 3 games.
    Adebayor has been really poor for last 5 consecutive matches for ARSENAL(Milan away was acceptable though). We drew Birmingham and Wigan because of him. I think he has a bad attitude for sure. He might be thinking he has cemented his place in the team so now he don’t mind to not to play for the team but he wants to score goals. As an Arsenal fan I feel sorry to have Ade as our main striker. Of course he has scored 19 goals but he took over 100 chances to score those 19 goals. He has to improve his first touch, aerial ability, finishing and composure.
    Our injury problem has been a joke. Actually we don’t have natural wide players. We have to put Eboue(defender), Walcott(Central striker), Diaby(CAM) and now Fabregas(Central playmaker) in the wide position. This problem should be addressed in summer. To have a fit Rosiscky is okay but how long he can stay fit is a question. When he injures himself against Newcastle in the FA cup, Wenger said he will be back in 10-12 days but now it has been 7 weeks and still wenger is saying he get back in 10 days. We have problem with all of our injury-prone players and our manager too. Arsene is brilliant and I respect him but sometime he piss me off. Why the hell he has to lie about the injury to the player. Why can’t he say Rosiscky is out for 2 months instead of 10 days. Our players can injure themselves by falling from the ladder and slipping on the banana. This is a joke. I haven’t seen any club with such an intense injury problem for last 3 seasons.
    Wenger might have to regret by not buying LM in janaury. We might lose league title because of this. I think we would have easily beat Wigan yesterday with a decent wide player and Fabregas in the middle. How dare Wenger broke the glorious partnership between Cesc and Flamini. Gilberto and Flamini in the middle was way negative formation and Cesc in the left was dangerous. After Ade cunt missed first chance of the game I never felt confident watching game for 90 minutes. We had a wrong team lineup, wrong formation and some poor performances. We might have to fight for 3rd place if we continue playing like this. We have to bounce back in style and quickly. Our next game is a tough one too. I know Cardiff beat Boro but they are the only team to beat us comprehensively in league for a long time and Wenger has never won against Southgate. Considering our poorm form, I am not confident. Last thing, If we can’t get 3 points from Boro, league will be over for us. In our current form we will lose against both Manc and Chelsea, may be liverpool too. I don’t know how we will handle red hot Torres and Gerrard.
    If we had done good in our last 3 matches, we would have need draws at Trafford and Bridge but now those matches might be must win. It will be nice to win the league by winning those matches though. From now no excuses to the players esp Ade and wenger too. If we canot lift the trophy this year, it will be a morale losing season. After starting the season so brillinatly and leading till the end, it will be bittersour for the players, manager, fans and the club.
    Come on Gooners…Lets bounce back!!!!!!!!!!

  14. TayGoon … thanks for that but with all due respect I think we were outplayed by Spurs and Man Utd when we were knocked out of both cup competitions. Not because they are better footballing teams but because we didn’t want it on the day as much as they did. As for Senderos’s own goal against Villa, it sort of makes my point, instead of heading the ball straight in front of him and out for a corner her flicked it sideways and into the net. Yes as you say a lack of concentration, but as I said, this team had it all in their hands and mistakes like Sendoros’s and Ade’s failure to score yeaterday when it looked easier to miss are why we are throwing the cups and probably premiership away. All this when we know how great this team is but will they be remembered as a great team ????? I pray we win the Champions league to make it all right….. and win the premier league as well to make it dou8bly alright…. though my fear is without the stregnth in depth we may just peter out without anything ….leaving that double to Man Utd again …..

  15. We lost Diarra because wenger kept faith with Gilberto.Sometimes loyalty comes at a cost. That’s not to say that we’d have won had Gilberto not played but I think losing Diarra was a big mistake.AW should have been more accommadating to a talent like Diarra.Against lesser sides he could of played Diarra and given either Cesc or Flams a breather but he kept picking Bert who just hasn’t been at the races all season.
    We keep being told to trust AW but I must say I’m not as confident as I used to be.
    If we end up with no trophies this year some serious questions need to be addressed.

    When your manager says that the way a team plays and conducts it self is just as important as winning trophies then I start to worry. It’ll be 3 years since we won a trophy and that was a lacklustre performance against the mancs who should’ve beaten us. Was AW really proud of that performance? Did we play the football we’re renowned for?

    What kind of message does that send to the players? It’s ok guys it doesn’t matter if we win nothing as long as we play pretty football.
    This might disappoint some of you guys but I think AW is no longer working for the good of Arsenal and the fans, it’s his own ego he’s trying to satisfy.

  16. Nick .I know I have been a bit critical of the team above for letting two cups and probably the premiership slip through their hands but I really think if we are laying blame anywhere it has to be at the players not at Wenger. As I have also said I have supported Arsenal for nearly 40 years and Wengers teams are by far the most entertaining and technically skilled that I have ever seen. Technically skilled enough to give far better performances against the likes of Wigan, Spurs and Man Utd. That they didn’t is down to their lack of desire and not giving of their best on the day. Please lay off Wenger …. he has given this club a style of football I never dreamed I would see Arsenal play. If they called Murihno “the chosen one” for sending out Chelsea to play drab classless football ….. then Wenger must be the Messiah…

  17. Mark.What would you prefer, to play entertaining football and win no trophies or do what Mourinhio done with Porto and win trophy after trophy. I say porto simply because you could accuse him of having millions to spend at chelsea which would have made winning trophies easier.

    For me Mark, football is about winnning (especially for a club like ours), yes it’s great if you can do both but ultimately Arsenal should be winning trophies. My criticism is not the style of football we play (if it brings trophies) but AW’s reluctance to buy players that will improve the team immidiately and not constantly rely on the young players that he buys to fulfill their potential.

    The proof will be in the pudding Mark, if this team goes on to win a trophy this year I will hold my hands up and say I was wrong. I’ve been saying the same thing for 2 years now, sometimes you need to spend to buy a player or 2 that will make a real difference to the team.

    When players show a lack of desire it’s down to the manager to address their mental state and find a resolution, that’s part of a managers job, he buys the players, he selects them and he adopts a system of play, so ultimately the responsibility is the managers.

    Although Mourinhio’s style of football was drab and will continue to be, the guy’s sheer will to win is unsurpassed.

    In saying all that I have the upmost respect for AW for what he has done at Arsenal, but he is not infallible.

  18. Hard not to disagree with Nick who makes some fair comments,but this very young side does seem to go a bit French when things aren’t going their way.I feel a little more steel is needed in the side,particularly on days when conditions are less than perfect.Running out onto a pitch like Wigan’s must be very disheartening to some players,but their mental approach to adapting to conditions like this must improve.You don’t always have the luxury of playing on a glass surface and they should be prepared for that eventuality.Though it goes against the grain,perhaps a longer ball element to games like this might actually suit Arsenal.Whatever happens,as we near the run-in to the season,psychologically Arsenal must be strong.

  19. Yes Nick ..I do understand what you are saying and I did start my messages by saying that we have thrown things away, though I was putting most of that blame on the players. Where I do agree with you though Nick is that we should have bought a few more experienced players in January’s transfer window, injury’s and the long time loss of RVP, plus the Diarra debacle were all apparant then and buying a few more players to strengthen the squad looked, and still looks, obvious to most of us. But I still don’t blame Wenger …you are right Nick he buys the players, selects them and adopts the system …. I’m not saying Wenger is infallable or hundred per cent right but I can’t accept the team he picked to play Wigan yesterday were not good enough to beat them or the teams he played against Spurs or Man Utd were so useless to be thrashed. The players must take that blame. I would prefer us to continue to play with the flair, skill and to enteratin as we do under Wenger but add to that a couple more good players to give us the depth of a Chelsea or Man Utd and then we would win trophies. Lets hope RVP’s return gives us a few more options up front because frankly I think Bendtner doesn’t give the effort or show the desire over 90 mins and doesn’t threaten, nor has the sheer skill and unpredictability, as RVP. Nick lets hope they all find their form again for the run in …if they do we will have a great chance of wining that double …or is that wishful thinking…

  20. Nick all credit to Mourinho and his brand of football. But I think at Porto Mourinho already had a good team. He managed in a 2nd rate league (Can you name 8 Portugese teams?) where Porto n Benfica lyk Celtic have been steam rollering opponents for years, had less games to play than other top European teams, put in some gutsy performances and got rewarded.Mourinho had a fatter wallet at Chelsea and his big ego and all his whims indulged. If you like winning that way maybe you would be supporting Chelski. Arsenal dont and will never play that way. Arsenal have won 3 premier league and 5 FA Cup Trophies during Wengers reign. Should fans that support teams that dont win any trophies stop enjoying their brand of football and stop supporting them? In a fiercely contested League with no “easy games” I dont think thats a bad return and only Man U can boast of more in the modern era.

    Diarra left because he had no patience and his ego got too big and nobody is bigger than the team…Teams that are consistent win trophies not necessarilly with players worth a squillion pounds… We have been more consistent this season.Let teams that want to pay £30million for players do so. Your team have been leading the premiership for several months with a team that has less strength in depth, was predicted to finish outside of the top four, impotant players are returning from injury, have been proped up by Ades goals and The teams immense performances, the team costing less than the cost of Shevchenko or Rooney to put together but your still complaining!it sounds like a winning formula to me and every reason to be otpimistic.

    I agree about being weak in several positions at Wigan leading to the Gilberto debacle but we have been unlucky with injuries and still have only lost once.Man U have lost 4 times!!!!!Would they have faired any better with Injuries to key players?I dont think Arsenal will have any problems playing the big 4.Nobody wil be playing for a draw in those games.Its always the small fry who are prepared to play for a point and put 10 men behind the ball and try to catch us on the break that will need work on.

  21. Yes Gooner4life … I think I agree with everything you say …except perhaps your optimism that we won’t have any trouble playing the big 4 on our run-in …. but hope you’re right though.

  22. You guys all make valid points,we are still top despite our various weaknesses.You can’t ignore the fact however that when its get’s cold and wet and a little bit muddy we just don’t look up for it at times.Would the acquisition of a few English players change that?

  23. hey guys plz instead of quarreling u can sit back,pray,and hope that some of our injured players would be fit before our rival games(especially against man utd)…dont forget even chelsea are still in the tittle race…wenger must try resting some key players for those games in some of the somehow easy games such as our next game…and remember…WE THE FANS ARE THE CLUB….

  24. hey guys plz instead of quarreling u can sit back,pray,and hope that some of our injured players would be fit before our rival games(especially against man utd)…dont forget even chelsea are still in the tittle race…wenger must try resting some key players for those games in some of the somehow easy games such as our next game…and remember…WE THE FANS ARE THE CLUB….

  25. Cesc, I agree. As stated last time, lets step back, take a deep breath, forget all the differences and support the SAME CLUB!
    On the subject of resting players, should we give Barazite or Alex Song a game? They were/are top of their respective leages/clubs (Aresnal Reverves/and whichever African nation alex is from, i forget) so lets give them a run, and rest some of the other players (Flamster, Cescy)
    The good thing is with vP back we arent really as pushed for strikers anymore, so we will be able to rotate them a bit.

  26. I don’t think anyone is quarrelling today (I wish I could say the same for yesterday) – it’s just been an excellent discussion about some interesting points.

    This is a tough time for Arsenal but I’m confident they will pull through.

  27. We will pull through. Even Man U and Chelsea will lose points and Arsenal is likely to suprise man U and Chelsea by beating them in their own backyards. Arsenal fans should stop arguing and believein the team. Senderos and Wenger have backed the team to pull thru and win the remaining 9 games.

  28. Gooner4life, I didn’t say we should play like chelsea,but given the choice of winning trophies, yes I would play like chelsea. Have we forgotten the days of George Graham I don’t believe anyone was moaning about the brand of football he played. Remember 1-0 to the Arsenal. No, fans shouldn’t abandon their team because they are not winning trophies but Arsenal ain’t “any other club”, we’re a massive club and big clubs should be doing there upmost to win trophies.I’ve been a supporter for 38 years and saw more of the Arsenal when they were winning didley squat, so my loyalty is unquestionable.All I’m doing is giving an opinion just like everyone else. It seems to me that some of you guys believe we’re the finished article and buying million pound players won’t necassarily make us a better team.I am not saying that we should pay good money for has beens but there are young players out there who will cost a few quid but will certainly add something to the team.

    So would you be happy if we spent nothing for the next few years, kept faith with some of the players and won didley?

    And on Diarra, yes he was impatient but I believe he would still be at the club had AW handled it differently.The team has cost less than shev and rooney but manu and chelsea have been winning trophies we haven’t that’s the difference.
    Good or bad we all love Arsenal and will stick with them through thick and thin but that shouldn’t stop us having opinions and expressing them.That’s what football is all about “opinions” that’s what makes it the game it is.


  29. You’re absolutely right Mark.
    My grievance isn’t about this year or why we lost against the spuds or the mancs.It’s the overall picture I’m looking at.Like many of you guys I didn’t expect us to have a great season, what I did think would happen, was that we’d strengthen the squad this season and that might come back to haunt us.I HOPE NOT.

    This team is not that far from ruling europe, I really believe that, but all I’m saying is when a player becomes available that will truely improve us, then we should have no reservations about buying him, whether he costs 5M, 10M or 15million.We are in a good position financially so that should no longer be an excuse. AW will always unearth exceptional talent at little cost but occasionally a young player will become available who will cost that little bit more and that’s where we need to act.

  30. Gooner4life, it will only be a winning formula if we win something.So it’s a bit premature to say we have a winning formula.

  31. This wasn’t fans arguing this was an interesting discussion with lots of good points raised. I think we are all getting a bit nervous because we are so near again but could lose it all. Now we know Liverpool are through as well I really think I would prefer a foreign team next and not one of the premiership teams. I just feel they know how to play against us and frustrate our type of football. As for Gilberto …he has given this club really good service and we should all thank him and not forget him for that … but he is past his best and cannot compete at the top level anymore. Well that’s my view.

  32. Totally agree, there was no arguing. I enjoyed the comments in this post thoroughly – it was great to read.

    There’s no need for Arsenal to panic going into the final bit of the season – everybody is expecting United to win it now and that could really fire up our boys. Even if we don’t win it’s been a great effort to even be in with a chance at this stage of the season.

  33. Totally agree, it’s been an interesting debate and your right Mark we’re getting a bit nervous and frustrated but that’s only because we LOVE this great club of ours.

    Hopefully we won’t draw any of the english sides and go on to win it.

    Spanish Fry great point about not panicking, whatever happens this season we’ve done great, let the mancs have all the pressure and hopefully we can snatch it from their grasp.

    Bert has been a great servant to Arsenal but losing his place to Flams and the lack of games has certainly affected him.Hopefully he can go to another big club and finish his career there.

    Whatever happens this year we’ll be better for it next season a bit more experience perhaps the addition of a couple of quality players and we’ll win the lot next year.

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