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Wigan vs. Arsenal

DW Stadium

29/12/10

19:45

Preview: Wigan v. Arsenal

Less than 48 hours after beating a local rival and fellow title contender, a Fabregas-less Arsenal travel north and west to Wigan looking to exorcise demons of last season's embarrassing capitulation. For Arsenal, the name of the game is keeping the energy and momentum of yesterday's win going. If we can do that, then Wigan will be in trouble. But as we saw last April, nothing should be taken for granted with this group of players.

Vital Quotes:

Theo spoke about moving onto tomorrow's match:

'We can't dwell on this result. We could be disappointed if we win against Chelsea and then lose at Wigan.' said Walcott.

Wigan manager, Roberto Martinez, had this to say on the Arsenal, Chelsea result:

'It didn't surprise me at all,' said Martinez. 'We know what Arsenal are capable of and last night they looked really impressive.

'The way they moved the ball, the pressure they put on and the quality in the last third; that was Arsenal at their best.

'They are magnificent to watch and if they can carry on at that level, you could see a very special side for many years to come.'

Wigan Team News:

Hendry Thomas and Maynor Figueroa return from suspension for Roberto Martinez, but Emmerson Boyce (hamstring), Franco Di Santo (ankle), James McCarthy (ankle), and Victor Moses (shoulder) will not play any part in tomorrow's proceedings. Wigan beat relegation rivals Wolves on Boxing Day with a dominating performance. A late Steven Fletcher consolation made the 2-1 scoreline flattering for Wolves. Coming back to the DW, Martinez, like Wenger, will want his men to preserve their momentum.

Player to watch: Hugo Rodallega

The Colombian international will be another physical test for Johan Djourou. Rodallega will look to quickly hold it up for the likes of N'Zogbia. If you win the aerial battle, Wigan become very incompetent in attack.

Arsenal Team News:

Fabregas has been left in North London after receiving his fifth caution of the season. Other than that, the squad will remain the same. Rosicky or Diaby will come in for the captain, and Wenger will probably rotate in Arshavin, Eboue, Chamakh, or Bendtner. This is probably a good game to give Bendtner a run out. Caution should be taken before making too many changes, but changes need to be made for this one.

Possible Starting XI: Fabianski, Eboue, Djourou, Koscielny, Gibbs, Song, Wilshere, Rosicky, Arshavin, Walcott, Bendtner

Player to watch: Nicklas Bendtner

This is the perfect opportunity for the Big Dane to prove himself. He wants more playing time, so he needs to show the boss what he can do.

Match Facts & Stats

The Latics have only won twice at home this season but are undefeated in their last five games at the DW Stadium (W2, D3)

Wigan are the least potent side in the division, scoring only 15 goals in 18 matches.

Arsenal's away record of 17 points from nine matches is bettered only by Manchester City. The Gunners have won four of their last five away matches.

Ref Watch:

Lee Probert is the head official for this one.

Match Prediction:

I believe Arsenal will continue their good away record this season. Wigan won't be able to muster enough attack to get a result.

Next Fixtures:

1/1 (Sat) - Birmingham (a) - Premier League

5/1 (Wed) - Manchester City (h) - Premier League

8/1 (Sat) - Leeds (h) - FA Cup




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The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday December 28 2010

Time: 9:01PM

Your Comments

This has nothing to do with Wigan, but the official dot com has a nice video of Arsenal's best goals of 2010: http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/free-video-arsenal-s-goals-of-the-year
gunnerkid107
Nasri vs porto
ajwb
Keep it tight at the back and we will get the three points and manure has just dropped 2 points against Birmingham.
Armory
a win tomorrow will put us 2nd, level on points with manure. we need to give someone (wigan will do) a good thrashing to bring our goal difference a bit closer to utd. the way this season is going, the result could all be down to the goals
lifeisagooner
after watching several times i agree with ajwb. Nasri vs Porto is best goal on the video. it was a tough call though with the brace he scored against Fulham. All 3 goals just show his amazing technical ability. the link up between wilshire and chamakh was great too.
lifeisagooner
Gibbs is still out injured, isn't he? Couldn't possibly play at Wigan, so another night on the job for Clichy or a role for Eboue at left back. Must say I wouldn't advocate the wholesale changes to the team, as suggested. RvP should continue his return, for me, while Diaby must be allowed to feel his way back slowly, as a sub.
Naijagunner
Oops, I think you're right Naiji. So if Clichy plays then there are 4 changes from my possible starting 11 to the Chelsea team, with one being mandatory. I don't think that is wholesale.
gunnerkid107
I think it will be Clichy at left back and yes maybe Eboue. Hope he continues with Djourou though at CB. He deserves that spot. Squelchy is good but is only really good enough to provide backup. And I think he'll go for Arshavin as well tonight. He would be nice and rested. Possibly in place of Walcott or maybe Nasri to give him a rest
Eboue=GOD
6 goals will be enough I think today eh?? Will take us top on goal difference
Eboue=GOD
6 goals??!! I'll be happy with 1 nil win I just want the 3 points:)
Armory
Right GK. Who knows what the manager is going to come up with, anyways? Sounds like he will favour rotating the team, significantly. 3 points is all that's needed here; 6 goals will be the icing.....
Naijagunner
Nah a win with a 5-goal margin will do, but as Armoury said we just want the 3 points! :D
GoonerLou
Arsene is messed up. Have you guys seen the line-up? Fabianski, Eboue, Squillaci, Koscielny, Sagna, Diaby, Rosicky, Denilson, Bendtner, Chamakh, Arshavin. Subs: Szczesny, Nasri, Vela, Walcott, Wilshere, Djourou, Clichy
Keplaz
The positive side is that most of those players are well rested. Don't know how cohesive they will be but they are all quality players. Don't know about Eboue at left back though...
Keplaz
Eboue should be ok at Left back as Nzogbia plays right side and comes in on his left. Don't understand the mass changes, obviously we needed to make a few but 8?
Iceman10
Well, gunnerkid107, spoke too soon, didn't I? It should be okay though, as the team knows we cannot afford a slip up now. We still have enough to call upon on the bench, should things not go as planned.
Naijagunner
Nikky B hattrick
ajwb
Was that really a pen? Oh Shucks!
Naijagunner
This is too much. Too many rusty players there.
Keplaz
1-0 Wigan. A wake up call to Arshavin and the back 4. Denilson needs to hold his position (DM) more.
Naijagunner
Dive by N'zogbia.
Naijagunner
***** you Wenger!! All the hard work from Monday could be for nothing because he cant take Wigan seriously. 8 changes?? 8 ******** changes ******** moron.
Armory
Arshavin!!!! great technique too!
Naijagunner
Nice finish from Andrey
ajwb
And yeah Naija,did look a bit that way didnt it? need to see another angle
ajwb
Is Diaby injured?
Omogusii
2 to go Nik
ajwb
That penalty looked dubious. Koscielny didn't touch him and he was not in the box. Arshavin with a fantastic goal and Nicky B is refusing to play on the wing. Good goal for Bendtner as well. We need another two I think, one to settle the guys down and the other to send a message.
Keplaz
That Arshavin is useless. Little lazy ******** only has a goal and an assist.
gunnerkid107
Fantastic dive. I thought it was a dead cert penalty, until I saw the replay.
gunnerkid107
dirty foriners ruin'n the game
ajwb
Now Chelsea are ahead
Armory
Perhaps, time to throw on Theo, just for the fear factor.
Naijagunner
We need Walcott on to run at them
Armory
Very poor decision making, that time, by Sagna. But, where was the support for him?
Naijagunner
We need the cushion of a 3rd goal....we do.
Naijagunner
Is the ref on a mission?
Naijagunner
Dont like this they are starting to look like they are happy with 1-2 and that will spell disaster
Armory
No Naij he's just cluless...
Armory
At least jack got up and didnt roll around
ajwb
Well, the red to Nxogbia was the right decision.
Naijagunner
That's our defence...all over the shop again. TV can't get back fast enough.
Wyn Mills
If the memories of last season was not enough to teach us, I don't know what will.
Naijagunner
Deserved I must say we have thrown the 3 points away by stupid team selection. You don't make 2 changes in defense and 3 in midfield and 3 up front and expect to get away with it. We seriously need a # 2 that will tell Wenger off when he is full of *****.
Armory
Why can't we defend simple balls into the penalty area. I saw no reason to rest Djourou tonight. We look more solid with him in there. Wenger just does not know how to shut a game out.
Wyn Mills
We will just have to do this the hard way, then.
Naijagunner
Simple.....should have stuck with the same starting 11 bar Fabregas.
gunnerman76
How could the ref have missed that handball for a pen call?
Naijagunner
We never learn. We sit on a one goal lead every time thinking its enough and get done by a sucker punch. I thought the Chelsea game on Monday taught a few players something about the importance of a 2 goal advantage. But a different Arsenal seem to have turned up tonight.
Wyn Mills
Why was that not a penalty?
Armory
Full time - 2-2. What a shocker. After all the optimism and gung-ho after match prattle of Monday to this. Where is the consistency? Forget resting players for Birmingham...We should be playing each match as it comes. Nothing damages team morale more that dropping stupid points, and that's what we've done again spectacularly tonight.
Wyn Mills
Nearly an anti-climax, after that win 2 days ago.
Naijagunner
we dropped two farking points. totally deserved to to drop those points. wasn't it obvious to see that Arshavin and Bendtner were totally ineffective when we were defending a 1-goal lead? in fact, they both did nothing other than the 2 goals scored. 2 games played, 4 points, one was a big win at home vs our big rival, yet, they got 3 points from their 2 games. farking ridiculous.
fcdematthew
***** you Wenger. This was completely your fault. If he starts whining now over opposition tactics and refereeing decisions I will lend my voice to those that are calling for his head. This is simply bad management on such a high level it beggars belief. To make 8 changes against a team that is playing at home and is in a relegation zone is beyond stupid it is simply suicidal.
Armory
AW didn't need to rest players for the Birmingham game; we would have 5 days to refresh for that one. So, I can't understand his need to test the depth of the bench. Theo and Nasri came on too late, in my view as it usually takes a sub about 15 minutes to warm up in this weather. This is 2 points dropped unnecessarily.
Naijagunner
What a self inflicted ***** up, I have no idea why Wenger made those team changes, we just beat Chelsea, keep it going, play the same team. Needless Ranieri style tinkering. Very frustrating.
Professor Calculus
Wenger farked this up. Where is the consistency, Wenger??? U can't expect consistency by making 8 changes. We looked vulnerable at 2-1, yet u didn't take off Arshavin and Bendtner. i am beginning to feel for Cesc now. Why waste his talent playing for this team. He should be lifting trophies at Barca. Did you not learn anything in the last 5 years? I guess we will have to wait 4 more years.
fcdematthew
Well we were very close to the three points, got a decent away draw, only got one player injured and our main players got a rest for the games against Birmingham in 2 days and against Man City a few days letter.
Gun 'Em Down
People will say we should have had a penalty, and that may be the case. But honestly we shouldn't be relying on getting the rub on decisions in games like this. Ok, we didn't lose but it's very disappointing when you know we have the players who should be winning matches like this .
Wyn Mills
Yes, Wenger made too many changes. And we didn't play our best. For me, we were still clearly the best team. We created more chances (they had one from N'Zogbia, but that was all really), but in the end the referee decided the outcome. They got a penalty that never was, we didn't get ours.
ptv-
Wenger should apologize to the warriors that defeated Chelsea. their effort was totally wasted. Wenger, it could have been a near perfect holiday season if u had played the strongest side. New Year mood spoiled. fark, fark, fark.
fcdematthew
Supporting this team is certainly not for the faint hearted.
Wyn Mills
Not a bad result, keeps you in the race for 4th spot
Topspur1
And the sad thing is that the players will come out with the same old spiel about how disappointed they are and how well they want to do. the problem is that there is no one there that will stand up to Wenger and tell him he is full of *****. If this was a 2 all draw with the same team bar Fab we could look to Wigan and say ...well they deserved it. But the problem is that we sent a completely second string out there and somehow Wenger expected them to come there and get the 3 points no problem and go home. I don't care what it is he sees on the training ground....it is the actual game that matters not the ******** 5 aside they play at the Colney training ground. He keeps harping on about if we could only see how well they train....well for 40 grand a week I will train my ass off and then play crap no problem.
Armory
8 changes ? Wenger surely fecked it up for you guys, i agree.
ZeeNut
yes Topspur1 we will get the 4th spot.....on spuds expense.
Armory
ptv- as someone else said if we go to a game and exspect to get the rub of the green we don't deserve to win anything. It was not the ref that let us down bad as he was but Wenger.
Armory
I have no problem with Wenger making some of the outfield changes, but why mess with your defence? Our backline isn't that solid at the best of times but it looked fairly stable on Monday (bar the Kos mistake that gifted Chelsea their goal) and I would have persevered with it. We dropped points tonight because Wenger cannot cobble together a settled defensive unit. The more you tinker back there the less cohesion there will be.
Wyn Mills
Last time I made that bet I ended up wearing an Arsenal shirt for a day, not going to make that mistake again. But we are far stronger than then so we'll just have to wait and see
Topspur1
Topspur1, bet that Arsenal shirt felt good to wear huh? Better than that grey rag you normally have to pull on.
Wyn Mills
He he Topspur1 I have a manure supporting brother in law that I got into an Arsenal shirt on two occasions:)
Armory
now if we dont beat b'ham that team selection would look ... well, stupid
Gooner SA
Don't really care if we finish above you are not at this point, just want another top 4 finish. Oh! and by the way the bet was with my son in law
Topspur1
Lol Topspur how did it feel when the daughter brought him home the first time and you had to sit there and be all polite;)
Armory
Wenger has not recongnised that Squillaci is the probelm in defence. Every time he is there, there is panic. Kosielny and Djourou are better but he thinks he is experienced.
Arseniger
Djourou is the man yet that useless Squillaci started the game. Anyone who knows the first thing about defending is to be goal side of the attacker. Of course if you let the attacker to get goal side of you there is only one way the ball can go if u get your head to it - into your own net.
Will-i-am10
You have no idea, but to be fair to him he's a good guy just a bit misguided
Topspur1
Similar story. Playing pretty patterns and passes without a real cutting edge when 2-1 up when we should be looking for the killer third goal. For me, Fabianksi is in no-man's land for the equaliser. If he stays put he can catch or punch that away. He's simply not a good enough number 1 to win us a league title and Szecsney looks more the part and should be given his chance. I don't buy the 8 changes as the reason, I can see why he did it. He should have made the changes before he did. However, let's win on Saturday against Brum, I can't see us doing it.
Gooner_Vin
Our problem isn't in scoring goals, its keeping them out. Our defensive record is the worst of the top 4 by a clear margin. I despair of Wenger actually rectifying this. Success is built first and foremost on sound defence, but its an area our manager refuses to invest seriously in.
Wyn Mills
Sorry, I meant to say: However, let's win on Saturday against Brum, I can see us doing it.
Gooner_Vin
2-1 up and then he makes eight changes? What in god's name....
Henry Baker Brown
There's little point in Wenger urging for more consistency and then chopping and changing his team from match to match. How is that going to build consistency? Build up a head of steam, get a winning mentality ingrained and then tinker at the edges and where necessary. Especially important in defence.
Wyn Mills
The only other thing I'd say is that I would have played Rosicky on the left and Arshavin in the middle because Rosicky is far better defensively than AA23. And Eboue is suspect himself - i.e. all their threat coming from Ngzobia on our left.
Gooner_Vin
Arsène Wenger: "I'm frustrated because it looks like nobody takes resposibility for our organision on corners." erm? that's kind of your Job Arsene. Also helps if you pick your strongest line up when ever possible, you can't moan about inconsistency then make 8 changes. We all said we needed to treat Wigan with the same respect we treated Chelsea, Arsene would never put that team out against Chelsea. If the manager is that blasé about premier league games against the lower teams don't expect much different from the players.
Iceman10
And if anyone cites fatigue Fat Frank Lampard has just played 2 games in 48 hours after 3 months out.
Iceman10
That had nothing to do with Eboue being suspect defensively (I actually rate him as a defender) Gooner Vin but the fact that Aeshavin was again not providing the cover. I have said before that it is no good that Arshavin gives us 5 minutes of magic if he is nowhere to be seen for the other 85 and that happens to often for my liking.
Armory
If that's the case then Arshavin is a bit of a luxury player for us. If he's not prepared to track back and defend he shouldn't be starting matches.
Wyn Mills
I can't see any other manager than Wenger making a staggering 8 changes to his team, a team that was full of ambition and vigour, and then waiting until the final 10 minutes to throw on players to rescue the game. It smacks of a man who loves gambling and playing the stats. This is not a tactician.
Wyn Mills
I think we can all agree it was a terrible decision to make 8 changes after your team have played their best game of football all season. If you find the magic ingredients to put you on form, it's a bad idea to stop and change, I know from experience that you it may take a while to find it again. Baffling piece of decision making and strange reasoning from Wenger.
Professor Calculus
i'm just DISGUSTED ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED , this is the kinds of wasteful points that ruin winning the league , EIGHT CHANGES WENGER !!!!!!! does the players really ve got no fitness to play 2 games in 48 hours in december , i really can't express how frustrated i am.
princeoflove909
On making eight changes for the game… We had a disadvantage that Wigan played three days ago and only 48 hours ago we played a big game in the evening. I had to change it because we play on Saturday and again on Wednesday so we can't always play with the same team. But I don’t think that was a problem at all. That was not the problem , REALLY ????
princeoflove909
We have to play every 2 or 3 days for 2 weeks.........tell me do our opponents have to do the same? ***** off of coarse they do and he gives 3/4 of the team the day off!! Idiot.
Armory
Some of the changes were inflicted. Fabregas 5 yellows, Clichy injured, Song had a muscle strain, RVP has been out for too long to play consecutively. Squillaci & Arshavin coming in are not major changes considering they have been first choice for most of the season.
paul_ownz
I'm sure Wenger has his reasons and he can justify them but I personally don't think you should ever deliberately weaken your own team when you are going for a major trophy, we have no friends who will roll over for us in this league, you send out your best team and worry about the present day, not a theoretical future. Wenger over thought the situation when it was quite simple - you play your strongest possible side - which at the moment does not include half the players he selected against Wigan. He made a mistake, lets move on and hope it wasn't too costly.
Professor Calculus
When a draw away from home invites some of the hysteria I see here, you know that nearly all the fun seems to have been sucked out of football. 8 changes don't stop you perforing basic defensive duties. The level we played at on Monday is not sustainable over a long period. Those of you complaining about two games in 48 hours miss the point, we have another away game on Saturday, followed by a big match Wednesday. If we played the same team for all of those games, we would probably be drained and lose to Citeh and you'd all complain that we haven't rotated enough. Seriously, you all want a big squad, with depth. Yet when we use it, you want us to stick with the same players? Next time you're all calling for mass signings, remember the disgust you have registered here at the use of the squad., That team was more than good enough to beat Wigan. Look elsewhere for the criticism.
Little Dutch
a team fighting for the league title can't defend a one-goal lead against the 18th club in the league. 11 players vs 10. how many times do u expect the other top teams to drop points again?
fcdematthew
LD, trying to keep players fresh is understandable (I quite forgot the sequence of games to come, tbh, and can show AW more understanding now) but I am not sure the best way to do so is to make sweeping changes to a side that did so well on Monday night. Players like Djourou, RvP and Theo need the games and may not wilt if played for 65-70 minutes; Song is a strong lad and can take the strain. Why not gamble positively instead of bringing on Diaby and starting Squillaci? It is good to keep all of the squad match ready, but this can be done more carefully, with team psychology in mind; it is a long season too with plenty of games to test out the squad depth. No need to kill the winning momentum now. My thoughts on the subject.
Naijagunner
Killing momentum is exactly right. Was there really a need for Wenger to try to show off his wealth of squad players with a major revision of the team? He should be concentrating on extracting maximum points with the best team he has and that means assessing players on their individual merits. Cesc, Nas and Theo must be feeling gutted today after the effort they put in at the start of this week. Monday's performance level might not be sustainable over a prolonged period, but when you achieve that level surely it makes sense to extract as much advantage from it as you can. Next thing you know Theo and RVP will be injured in training and will require months to get back to where they are now. It's a draw. Yes. Its not a disaster. Yes. But let's be honest, it should have been 3 points. Wenger gambled and it backfired. No amount of arm spreading and blaming of decisions will change that.
Wyn Mills
I disagree with your shallow line of reasoning Wyn Mills. Wigan away before playing Birmingham Away is exactly the kind of game where some squad rotation is done. Birmingham away is the tougher game and requires the full strength first team. When one looks at the team sheet against Wigan it is clearly stronger than the opposition and is enough to win the game. It is the players fault for not winning it and you can blame them all you want but then again you would much rather prefer targetting the manager. You are utterly predicatable.
Deltaforce
 

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