As I write this Arsenal are driving back home down the motor way with three very valuable points from a tough encounter with a Wigan team fighting for their lives. These points, as I am sure you know, put us in third place and if we stay there at the end of the season we will get an even bigger trophy than we usually do from finishing forth. Not enough to warrant an open top bus driven through the streets of Islington but perhaps a mini bus decked out in red and white with a few beers in the back. Get it where you can I say, lol.
Yes, only two weeks ago people on this site and many others were calling for Wenger’s head but now we have gone three League games unbeaten the faithful can breathe a little easier. Phew.
Have you noticed Wenger’s cunning plan?
We have all heard the stories about the club offering Walcott 75k per week, just as much as we have heard the stories that he wants 100k per week, what irritates me is that some actually believe that if he were offered the 100 he would gratefully sign to Arsenal for a further five years or some such number. To you I say this; no he won’t. With Ballotelli reportedly earning 190k per week Theo’s agents are going to do their best to try and make sure some of that action comes their client’s way. Only if no other oil rich club is interested in Walcott will his agents suggest re-signing to Arsenal.
So what’s Arsene’s cunning plan. Prior to the Reading game, Walcott playing through the middle had reached almost mythical proportions. Thierry Henry was talked about in the same sentence whenever the subject of Theo at number 9 came up. It is so easy to imagine Theo’s agents talking to other clubs in excited tones about how great Theo would be playing down the middle of their club; all it would take is the same wages as Balotelli and Theo is your boy.
Wenger’s cunning plan was to simply pop the balloon. Theo was pretty good against Reading. He was quite good today but 190k a week good he was not. His close control does not put him into what? Oooh choose anyone of the Barcelona front line including those who regularly make the bench. Bringing Walcott’s real talent as a number 9 into sharp focus maybe Wenger’s best shot at keeping him..
Back to the game
According to Arteta in his post match interview, Arsenal were expecting Wigan to come onto us strong and the expectation was correct as come onto us they did. Arteta also made the point that it was easy to see that with that kind of drive and the occasional rub of the green Wigan are capable of inflicting serious damage. All in all I would say that the first half was honours even with Wigan perhaps shading it.
The second half was different; of course, from the restart Arsenal upped the pace with superb runs from the Ox down the right and the rest of the team moving the ball around with far greater urgency.
It wasn’t long before Wigan had been pinned back and a goal looked on its way. It arrived courtesy of a penalty awarded against Walcott, Theo did well to get this it must be said. Up stepped our penalty king to slot home his third in a row, one nil to the Arsenal rung out. This was the signal to Wigan to double their efforts and they almost came straight back with an equaliser. It became clear we had a nail biting twenty minutes in store. Mertersacker stood strong and Szcesney made important saves but Wigan just kept on coming. Time for Arsene to batten down the hatches and batten them down he did, throwing on every defensive player available with the only exception of Steve Bould but I am sure that thought crossed Wenger’s mind.
The end finally arrived followed immediately by a huge sigh of relief. Three points, third place, now that’s my idea of a good Christmas present.
Written by LB