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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Wigan Athletic vs. Arsenal

DW Stadium

22nd December, 2012

12.45pm

On Sky

Latics v Arsenal Match Preview

Arsenal will be looking to build on Monday's stroll against Reading with another victory against Roberto Martinez's injury hit Wigan side.

With their Boxing Day match now postponed, Arsenal are likely to lose ground in the race for 4th- albeit with a game spare- and will look to make sure the table makes as pleasant reading as possible come 2013.

Vital Quotes:

Arsene Wenger was effusive in his praise for Wigan's set up, particularly their scouting model, in unearthing players,

'They always have good players. They always have technically talented players and they scout countries where nobody else goes.

'They have for me an intelligent idea they say, 'if we go to France, Germany, we face Arsenal, Man City, so let`s go where nobody goes`.

"There must be a good player in every country and usually they find him. They have done that very well."

Meanwhile Roberto Martinez says his side have to be 'perfect' to beat Arsenal, ''We know we need to be perfect to be able to compete against this Arsenal side but, in this situation, if we can get a positive result and a strong performance, I think we'll reap the rewards further down the line when we've got the full squad ready.

'We'll never be happy if we're not in a position that we feel we should be, but I think the performances have been very similar to the ones we had in the final nine games of last season and I'm very pleased with that.'

Wigan Athletic Team News:

Midfield cog James McCarthy faces a late fitness test before deciding whether he will be ok to face Arsenal, whilst Adrian Lopez deepened Wigan's centre half crisis by tearing his mastring against Norwich last Saturday.

Ryo Miyachi would have been inelegible to play in any case, but has an ankle injury. Ben Watson (broken leg) and Albert Crusat (knee) are other long term concerns.

Gary Caldwell (hamstring), Ivan Ramis (hamstring) and Antolin Alcaraz (groin) are also unavailable.

Wigan Athletic (from): Al Habsi, Pollitt, Boyce, Stam, Golobart, Figueroa, Stam, Maloney, Jones, McCarthy, McArthur, Mcmanaman, Fyvie, di Santo, Kone, Gomez, Boselli, Beausejour.

Player to watch: Shaun Maloney

Assuming James McCarthy doesn't pass a fitness test, then Shaun Maloney could pose the biggest danger to Arsenal. The Gunners have had a habit this season of backing off of midfielders from range.

Maloney is certainly capable of letting fly from range. He also has a cool head in the box. If Arsenal allow him a chance anywhere in their defensive third, he can punish.

Arsenal Team News:

Arsenal have no new injury concerns but no returnees either, so will take the same squad to Lanchasire that travelled to Berkshire on Monday.

That means Abou Diaby (thigh), Andre Santos (stomach / being sold in January), Johan Djourou (calf / being sold in January), Lukasz Fabianski (ankle) are out.

Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Mannone, Sagna, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Squillaci, Gibbs, Arteta, Coquelin, Ramsey, Wilshere, S.Cazorla, Rosicky, Walcott, Chamberlain, Gervinho, Podolski, Arshavin, Chamakh, Giroud.

Player to watch: Theo Walcott

Having had a 90 minute soiree as a centre forward on Monday, it will be interesting to see where Theo is played tomorrow. I would suggest back on the right hand side.

Gunnerblog wrote an interesting piece this week suggesting that Arsenal play much better with a more mobile striker, such as Gervinho or Walcott.

Match Facts & Stats

Thomas Vermaelen has scored in his last three appearances against Wigan Athletic.

The Latics have conceded seven goals to defenders in the Premier League this season; more than any other side.

The Gunners have won four and lost just one of their seven Premier League visits to the DW Stadium and overall they have won 10 and lost just two of the 14 meetings with Wigan.

Wigan have lost five and won just one of their last seven Premier League matches.

Arsenal have averaged 60% possession in their games so far this season, Wigan average 58% in their home fixtures.

Ref Watch:

The referee will be Jon Moss. I've never heard of him either.

Match Prediction:

I'm fairly confident here. Wigan's injuries don't mean a lot I don't think, if Bradford can shut us out effectively, it's hard to derive any satisfaction from that. But I think Arsenal will outnumber Wigan in midfield and win 2-0. Arteta and Walcott to score.

Next Fixtures:

Arsenal play Newcastle United next Saturday at home. Wigan are away at Everton on Boxing Day.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday December 21 2012

Time: 1:47PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
This is a game we should be able to take on with some measure of confidence. With the performance against Reading, Monday night, no reason why that shouldn't be the start of a new found rhythm, which would make it tempting to start with the same squad and tactics. If having fluidity involves starting Theo up top, I am all for that. Giroud may come on late to add muscle late on when, hopefully, the game would have been won by the Gunners. Let's just go for the 3 points today. I also hope the fans make the trip in numbers, despite having to make an early trip in the cold of the morning; Arsenal has a large following in those parts as well.
Naijagunner
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22/12/2012 07:03:00

LD, do you know for sure that Djourou and Santos are "being sold in January" or have you merely expressed a wish for Santa? How much of a Crock has Ryo been? He did have a few injury issues at Feynoord and has hardly played 4 games on the bounce for Wigan.
Naijagunner
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22/12/2012 07:07:00

I would be disappointed not to see Walcott upfront for this one. There is not a lot of conceivable benefit in playing a big slow holdup player against a team like Wigan. In fact in the last couple of years most of the teams you need a guy like that against; Bolton, Birmingham, Blackburn, and Wolves have been relegated. There's only really Stoke left of the traditional physical teams.
Arsenales f.C
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22/12/2012 11:14:00

Ironically it seems like just as we've gone for a big holdup player all the 'brute' teams are gone, and the prem is filled with teams who are a lot more technical and fast-flowing.
Arsenales f.C
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22/12/2012 11:23:00

Well, it's been Walcott up front and no Giroud on the team sheet. I am not sure we are playing with the same verve as we did at Reading today. Whether that is down to Wigan's tactics (Martinez was at Reading to see us win with same selection) or our players not being up for the challenge, I wouldn't know. But, it promises to be a nerve jangling 2nd half.
Naijagunner
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22/12/2012 13:36:00

Walcott needs to get his ass into gear put himself about the pitch a lot more. He's trying to be that focal point, that's not what he's there for. He's there to bring other players into the game and put pressure on the opposition as well. He's looked best when dropping off a bit.
Arsenales F.C
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22/12/2012 13:37:00

Agree with you there, Arsenales. We can't take anything away from the Wigan side for their industry. They have stopped Cazorla and Wilshere from playing and this has to change. We need 3 points.
Naijagunner
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22/12/2012 13:45:00

....could it possibly be that Reading wudda flattered the Queen Vic Rejects XI. Arse have been lulled into a false sense of (near) confidence after Reading, could the illusion reinforced the idea that Wally can be consistently used as a lone striker.... balloons and pr1cks eh...
Viyyash-Ramosh
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22/12/2012 13:49:00

3 points.
Naijagunner
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22/12/2012 14:39:00

trouble with getting all your good luck in one period, is that all te bad luck is just around the corner... another win from a dubious penalty LOL.... good thing tho' is that Wally may well continue upfront now, great news for Everton and WBA..
Viyyash-Ramosh
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22/12/2012 14:42:00

Oh to be a spud, life in such simplicity must be bliss... Walcott does need to put himself about the pitch more. I missed the word 'only' from my post, but he's only trying to be the focal point. In order for us to get runners from midfield he's gotta be willing to drop back and go wide sometimes. He was forced to drop out of the area to retrieve the cross and in playing the one-two with Cazorla won the penalty. No point in having a mobile striker if he's standing still all the time.
Arsenales F.C
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22/12/2012 14:45:00

Pathetic substitutions - all we did was hand them control of the last 20 minutes. Made it harder than it need be but maybe confidence from the touchline isn't that great either at present. Some good signs especially in the early parts of each half. We've a way to go yet but right now the points are more important than the performance.
Amos.
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22/12/2012 15:14:00

Arsenal must be the only team who have ever one a dubious penalty, god forbid any other team that gets one. Am I right in thinking that this is a worse start to a season for arsenal in the history of the world? In that case I'm still waiting for the good luck. It's not my fault your a spud.......get over it. 3 points, cheers easy.
gunnerman76
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22/12/2012 16:42:00

Won
gunnerman76
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22/12/2012 16:43:00

.....should be interesting the way he season pans out, do you think Arsenal will be ahead of Spuds by Xmas then, cos I don't think thats happening Viyyash-Ramosh

sssssssshh!
Amos.
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22/12/2012 17:18:00

Whatever that lonesome freak says lump a stack of wedge on the opposite happening Amos, I just picked up a tidy sum betting we'd be ahead of spuds come xmas as soon as he spouted that :)
nikolaijns
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22/12/2012 17:47:00

As for today it was never gonna be a classic was it, another bunch of relegation flirting no hopers giving their game of the season against us and us needing a soft pen to nick the pts. utd play as bad as that constantly and come away with a win, citeh did it today. Just keep racking up the pts and let's limp on to January, not much more bandit country to traverse until we reach Fort OpenWallet where the cavalry must surely be waiting.
nikolaijns
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22/12/2012 17:54:00

I laugh at the Spuds! That's another 3 days we will be shot of their trolling. Hahahahahahaha!
Naijagunner
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22/12/2012 17:55:00

I laugh at the Spuds! That's another 3 days we will be shot of their trolling. Hahahahahahaha!
Naijagunner
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22/12/2012 17:59:00

It was written in the stars. As soon as that mug spouts off on here the spuds choke. Learn some humility and the gods might be a little kinder next time instead of spanking your ass every time you pipe up.
gunnerman76
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22/12/2012 19:01:00

Result is more important that performance. Don't doubt the determination of the team not to concede but at times Wigan were getting at our back 4 fairly easily. I don't know why it always seems that teams can cut through our midfield like a knife through butter. Wonder if it's the formation with Cazorla and the the front three so high up when the opposition win the ball that opponents only have to get past Wilshere and Arteta and you're at our back 4. It's worrying especially when we have to play the likes of City, Chavski and Bayern coming up. I think we need 4 players: 1. a defensive minded midfielder to relieve the pressure off Arteta (why doesn't Coquelin get more game time if he's in the squad?!). 2. A creative attacking player to take the burden off Cazorla (god help us if he's unavailable). 3. A striker 4. A backup GK. I don't count on it happening.
Gooner_Vin
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23/12/2012 14:23:00

KJH signs on for Schalke
Sajit
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23/12/2012 16:48:00

We were never going to match his wage demands anyway. Same can be said for the smoke surrounding villa. God knows what he is earning at barca.....or what's remaining on his contract. We won't match it that's for sure. Unfortunately any striker who is half decent and around the age of 30 is going to have wage demands that we won't meet, which is understandable considering the life span of a striker and their last big pay day while they still have legs. Personally I think we should have resigned Henry last January on a contract similar to bergkamp in his last few years. It's done no harm to utd squeezing their money's worth out of scholes and giggs mixing them in with youngsters. I would have the option of bringing Henry off the bench in a heart beat for the rest of the season. He could even play deeper giving cazorla a breather every now and then, he certainly has the vision and intelligence to play there pulling some strings, and of course it goes without saying just the presence of him at the club is worth it's weight in gold.
gunnerman76
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23/12/2012 23:17:00

Merry Christmas to Gooners worldwide. Hope you all enjoy the holidays and the Boxing Day rest ;-)
Naijagunner
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25/12/2012 15:31:00

gunnerman76, I don't think Villa's salary could have been a problem if we were really in for him. Barcelona are not known for paying very big salaries as they have more to offer in terms of reputation, trophy opportunities and a dead certain chance to star for the National team. Personally, I didn't care for Huntellar; never saw him as the Arsenal type of striker, not that we have much better at the moment, but if we have to go out and get someone...... Now, Villa, I can pay good money for or take on loan since it could be a big gamble.
Naijagunner
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25/12/2012 15:36:00

wigan will defeat arsenal by 2-0......
shlok27
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26/12/2012 12:19:00

Boxing day's results mean we just have to sustain a winning run of games, irrespective of who we meet or the venue. Of course, we have a tough looking list of fixtures after Southampton but we have to stay positive and do the business or we will find we are too far off the pace by February. Come on you Gunners!
Naijagunner
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26/12/2012 19:11:00

This Villa result just hammers home how abysmal we were up there, ffs Wenger.
shewore
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26/12/2012 19:15:00

Shewore, different circumstances, if you ask me. Did you see their injury list and coming from such a thumping by Chelsea, confidence is affected. Plus the rush of games does something to you. They did beat Liverpool Away, just for some perspective.
Naijagunner
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26/12/2012 19:18:00

Beating Liverpool offers no perspective at all. They'd just lost 5-0 when they played us mate. Similar circumstances if you ask me.
shewore
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26/12/2012 23:41:00

.....and we did beat Spurs. I am not saying we weren't poor at Villa park, but these things even out, over the season. The log leaders struggled to beat Reading 4-3 at the same venue we whipped them. Sometimes, it just ain't your day, as it may be at other times.
Naijagunner
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27/12/2012 05:29:00

"Barcelona are not known for paying very big salaries" Barcelona pay the highest salaries in world football, even higher than Real Madrid, Manchester City & Chelsea. I'd like to know what numbers you looked at before making that statement. Villa may not be the highest paid player in Barca, but he will surely be paid more than any other at Arsenal. The link below is dated by a year or 2, but I'm sure the trends will not have changed. http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/7850531/espn-magazine-sportingintelligence-global-salary-survey-espn-magazine
prits
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27/12/2012 08:48:00

Prits, I stated that off the cuff; no numbers gleaned except for the fact that they have had players poached in the past and I recall it was reported that Cesc did take a "pay cut" to make his move possible and emphasize that it wasn't about money for him. Now, if our captain needed to take a pay cut from what we paid him, that was saying something when you know they paid about 35m pounds for him. Again, there is the story about how Dani Alvez has been asking for a small increase of just 15,000 over his about 75k (or so) salary. As good as Messi is, he still isn't the best paid footballer around. These are snippets of how the wage thing is done at Barcelona.
Naijagunner
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27/12/2012 10:57:00

It will be interesting to see individual player wages, I guess. The link you posted shows the total spend. Which usually includes agents' fees, bonuses and other such player based expenses. It would seem they operate a performance based pay differential structure, which our fans have been crying out for at Arsenal.
Naijagunner
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27/12/2012 11:13:00

 

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