It doesn’t really come as much of a surprise that we lost today. If you look at how the team has done over the season already, it was on the cards that we would fall apart. However it was so much like out with the new and in with the old.
The line up was nothing different to the two previous games, and why should it have changed? The players had been doing well picking up four points and had every right to be in the starting line up against Arsenal. You would have expected a continual from the last two games.
It looked like we were up for the fight, as we started the brighter of the two teams and within the first ten minutes really forced the issue at the sloppy Arsenal defence. Yet the limited pressure we gave them, we were only able to see Jordi Gomez snuff a golden opportunity to put Latics ahead.
It could have changed the game. Yet it wasn’t to be.
By the half an hour mark it would be 2-0 to Arsenal after poor defensive displays. The first came from Gomez, who in recent performances had look to be reborn. Sadly today he looked his usual slow and pointless self. Allowing Thomas Vermalan to stride about 40 yards into your half isn’t great, then backing off and allowing Arteta to shoot is even worse. The fizzling strike from the Spaniard, bamboozled Ali Al Habsi who looked like he could have done better with it.
Two minutes later, we gave the ball away, allowed Arsenal to attack and win a corner. Robin Van Persie’s corner finding Vermaelen at the back post, who out jumped a grounded Gary Caldwell. There was a hint that Vermaelen had fouled our skipper, but even so Gary should have done better.
Well that was the game all over for Wigan. Arsenal turned up the class and it could have been so much more, if it hadn’t been for Ali making some good saves, and some poor Arsenal finishing. It was beginning to look embarrassing for Wigan, but we managed to hold on with a 2-0 score line at half time.
Could Martinez change it around at half time?
That would be a no; although we came out looking like we had the fight back. Ronnie Stam firing a great cross into the box, but Sammon was blocked off by two Arsenal defenders. And really that was our best attack of the second half.
We need a change, Di Santo and Crusat coming on for Sammon and Gomez, to try and add that aprk to a dull Wigan performances. However one Arsenal attack later and it was 3-0, and the game beyond our reach. Robin Van Persie’s strike saved by Ali before Gervinho tapped in from two yards out.
We were lucky to get a touch on the ball, as a dominate Arsenal side were making a point by playing the way Arsene Wenger wants them to; something Roberto aspires Latics to be like.
Before long Arsenal would go on to make it 4-0, Theo Walcott for the first time in the day getting past David Jones on the Wigan left, cutting the ball back for, guess who, Robin Van Persie to score. More goals looked likely to follow but two great clearness of the line by Gray Caldwell saw Wigan save themselves from further embarrassment.
It will be a day for Latics to forget, as we focus on beating West Bromwich Albion next weekend. A game which picking points up in is going to be vital, for the sides survival chances.
Next week Alcaraz and Boyce will both return to the side. The back five is likely to be a much stronger force in forth coming matches, instead of the week and flimsy back line we have at the current time.
Don’t lose the faith!