Well, where do you start after that load of rubbish last night? Personally, I lay the blame for last night’s result squarely at the door of the manager. He made some big decisions which in my opinion cost us the game. The first was his decision to make EIGHT changes to the side that beat Chavski on Monday night. Now, I am all for rotating the team, but considering that the team had a good long rest due to the postponement of the Stoke game, there shouldn’t have been a need for so many changes.
Cesc’s suspension and the injury proneness of Djourou, Diaby, RvP and Walcott should have been the five obvious players to be rested. According to @orbinho (on Twitter) the manager has now made eight changes to his side on three occasions in the Premier League, of which one was a draw and two were defeats. However, the team that started last night should have been more than capable of beating that Wigan side.
The team started off slowly and were punished with the awarding of a penalty following a blatant dive by N’Zogbia, which Watson scored. Then Diaby picked up his mandatory injury and was replaced by Wilshere. The young Englishman’s arrival marked a turnaround in our fortunes and we were soon rewarded with a cracking goal from Arshavin who showed fantastic technique to pull of a scissor-kick volley to make it 1-1 following a Bendtner shot that was saved by the keeper. Arshavin soon turned provider for the young Dane and we were 2-1 up going in at the break.
2-1 up against Wigan was never going to be a safe score line and the team really should have pushed on in the second half. But, as the minutes ticked by there was no real sign of a third goal coming, an Arshavin one-on-one aside. Wigan were creating some chances of their own and looked like they might sneak another goal against our porous defence.
At that point I was both shouting at the TV and on Twitter for the manager to make his final two substitutions in order to redress the balance back in our favour. Wenger seemed intent to waiting as long a possible to make any further changes. The only thing missing was the sight of him rubbing his face a la Roy Hodgson a few weeks ago. It also had echoes of last season at Wigan when the substitutions came too late.
N’Zogbia got sent off for a stupid off the ball head butt on Wilshere but instead of any changes being made to put some extra drive and energy into the team and go for the throat, nothing was done. Then Wigan scored after some truly shambolic defending from a corner. Fabianski made a half-arsed attempt to come for it, but if you go for a ball you should make sure you get there or else just stay on your line. This mistake was compounded by Squillaci making a pig’s arse of defending and heading the ball into his own net.
The fact that we should have had a nailed on penalty following a hand ball in the wall from a Nasri free-kick, which was no different to the one that was given against Cesc in the Spuds game, certainly added to the frustration. However, we shouldn’t have been in a position where we were hoping for a late penalty to beat 10-man Wigan. The referee got both penalty decisions wrong.
More annoying still were the post game comments from Wenger where he said:
“As long as we didn’t score the third goal in this kind of game it can end 2-2.”
Which begs the question, why sit on your hands and make no changes until the 83rd minute when Wigan had already been allowed to get back to 2-2 instead of us making some changes and trying to kill them off?
This was followed up with:
“I’m frustrated because it looks like nobody takes responsibility for our organisation on corners.”
Well, you are the manager and it is your job to select people that can do their job properly. To paraphrase @DarrenArsenal1, if you buy bargain basement defenders, you get bargain basement defending. Szczesny would have been more vocal in organising his defence than Fabianski and that is a problem of Fabianski’s that has been highlighted already this season but I can’t for the life of me remember in which game.
Dropping points isn’t the end of the world, it is just the manner in which we dropped them that is so frustrating, especially as ManUre had drawn the day before. A chance to close the gap has been missed.
Beating Chavski didn’t make us brilliant and drawing with Wigan doesn’t make us rubbish. Anyone that has regularly read this blog will know that I have always been pro-Wenger and I still am. However, I think that he got it badly wrong last night and there is nothing wrong with saying that you think that he seriously dropped the ball.
If we can come out of the festive period with ten points out of twelve, then that would be a good return and one we would have gladly signed on for before playing Chavski. The team has to deliver in the next two games. I’m getting sick and tired of saying that and then seeing the team under-perform.
Right, angry rant over. The demons aren’t exorcised but writing this has certainly helped. I know we got a draw yesterday, but it feels like a defeat.
Try and enjoy your day as best you can.We simply must bounce back against Birmingham at the weekend.
Take it easy.