Relegation is hard to stomach

Man at the Match, Chary: Arsenal rain on Wigan’s parade

Despite the award of a free kick for a non-foul that led to an undeserved Wigan equaliser to Podolski’s early strike, Arsenal bit back in the second half to score 3 goals in a 15 minute spell and trounce championship bound Wigan.

As the rain came down in relentless sheets on the red corner of North London the Arsenal faced up to a Wigan side fresh from a giant killing of Roberto Mancini’s former team, Manchester City.

The neon lighting around the Ashburton Grove stadium combined with the heavy bursts of rain to give the look of a Blade Runner inspired backdrop but with a cool autumnal feel despite it being mid-May.

With all but the ever injured Abou Diaby available for selection the major choices for Wenger would have been whether Gibbs and Flappy would return to the starting XI at the expense of Monreal and Chesney, with the latter having done nothing to deserve being dropped, in the event the return of Gibbs was the only change.

Wigan’s support were squeezed into one block, rather than the three away clubs normally get probably due to their supporters opting for the Wembley fixture of their 2 London dates in the space of four days.

Wigan squeezed  into 1 block

As the game kicked off the Wigan danger man McManaman was given license to run their right wing however it was clear early on that Gibbs had the measure of him – Kieran’s anticipation of his interplay with Maloney prevented anything of consequence developing offense wise for Wigan.

While there was a little tension in the air around the stadium Gooners would have done well to realise that Wigan’s defence has been leaky most of the season and so it was to prove. A cross into their box was headed in, with little challenge from the Wigan defenders, by Podolski to put the good guys one up fairly early. Due to Arteta losing the toss we attacked the North bank in the first half, and not the second as is usual, so my view on the goal was a distant one as I was in the Clock end lower tier.

The rain carried on saturating the players and the pitch and possibly Mike Dean’s brain as he gave the first of two Wigan free kicks for fouls of what seemed to be of minimal contact and close to the edge of our penalty area.

The first of the free kicks went into the wall and ricocheted off in my direction to the right of the goal but the second 30 seconds before half time beat Chesney’s left hand.

The sense of injustice of an equalising goal coming from the “Dean effect” galvanised the crowd and the aforementioned official and his team left the pitch to a justified chorus of boos and whistles.

The atmosphere at the stadium could have gone one of two ways in the second half – either nervous anxiety or defiance and support of a team that deserved to be winning. It went the second way and it has to be said the way the crowd got behind the team and didn’t let the officials get any respite from home crowd pressure or the timewasting by the Wigan players (the goalie, who was given the countdown, or the player who got booked for slowing down the taking of the corner) go unnoticed.

The Arsenal were now attacking the goal in front of me and it seemed the team were being energised by the crowd to get the win that was rightfully theirs with Cazorla being effective in decisive bursts.

Goalmouth melee

All of a sudden he was running towards me, down our right wing, and a cross was slung in towards Theo. At that point time appeared to slow:

Oh, it’s bobbling around in there, wouldn’t it be nice if Theo got onto that, but wait the goalie has ploughed into him, that’s a penalty surely, never mind it’s a goal now as he’s bundled it in!

It was nothing more than Arsenal deserved and the crowd felt the vindication of taking a lead that was lawfully theirs.

About 25 minutes or so to go, would we hold onto the lead? Moments later, all of a sudden Podolski latched onto a through ball from Santi, who I think took advantage of napping by the Wigan defence to send in a quick cross, and Lukas duly lobbed the floundering Joel in the Latics goal.

Pod's second

Relief! A two goal buffer, one that this more defensively resilient Arsenal would surely hold onto. However yet another telling through ball from Santi set off Rambo on a marauding left wing run, which just as I saw the whites of his eyes he flashed them to the side and curled in a delicious goal past the keeper who was expecting him to cross, and made it four goals for Arsenal. After another lung busting performance in a dynamic midfield the supporters to a man were elated for Aaron, who thoroughly deserved to score

Rambo goal golf

A few late subs saw Jack return; he suffered his first foul (one that Dean even called) after being on the field for five seconds and our skipper come on after Oxo.

4-1, a decisive score line and one that started the exits of the bedraggled Wigan supporters to begin their long journey up north to Lancashire, where they would contemplate life in the Championship come August. To the Arsenal supporters credit when the Wigan team went to clap their fans at the final whistle they also applauded the team and their remaining fans.

Relegation is hard to stomach

The chants of “We’re coming for you, we’re coming for yoooo—uuu, Tottenham Hotspur, we’re coming for you” rang out at fulltime and while the job is not finished the home season ended on a high note and the lap of appreciation was warmly received and all thoughts would then be focused on final fixture against Newcastle.

Lap of appreciation

It’s been a rough old season and your humble scribe hopes you enjoyed this season’s reports and looks forward to a win on Sunday to salvage a season that started off inauspiciously.


By Charybdis1966, on Youtube and Twitter.

This entry was posted in Arsenal, Chary, Columnists and tagged , , , on by .

About ChärybdÏß1966

As a product of 1970’s Essex I was only ever going to be Arsenal or West Ham – luckily the playground bullies in my junior school were Gooners so given the “choice” it had to be Arsenal. First Arsenal memories are of the Alan Sunderland 1979 FA Cup final when my dislike of ManUre started, which was then turned into an abhorrence by the battle of Old Trafford in the 90-91 season (“You can stick your 2 points up your Arse!”) and it to this day burns brightly as a hatred of all things Red Manc. Match day reporter for 7am where I hope to bring some of the atmosphere of the game and crowd to my reports – I will call the match as I see it at the time – but always from a Gooner’s point of view. Hate reporting on losses but luckily that doesn’t happen often. UTA! On Youtube and twitter as @charybdis1966.

11 thoughts on “Man at the Match, Chary: Arsenal rain on Wigan’s parade

  1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Jax

    Nice write up. It was a good move putting Gibbs in ahead of Monreal. I think McManaman only got passed him once, and when he (McM) decided to come inside Ramsey & Arteta blocked him off. I still thought he might cause us problems at some point, considering how he made Clichy his bitch on Saturday, but was relived to see him go off. Hope he’s not badly injured though as he seems a good England prospect. Loved Ramsey’s “eyes trick” before scoring. Henry used to do this didn’t he. And effing Dean again! What has he got against us?

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Charybdis1966 Post author

      Well observed point about McManmamamamamaman, I feel that the defence had identified him as a threat and worked well to nullify him mind you his replacement, Santo, did make a few direct runs. By then it was all over really.

  2. +3 Vote -1 Vote +11ntta

    Classy report as usual. Too bad it’s the final one of 2012/2013.

    I would like to spare a thought for plucky little Wigan as well. They provided all football supporters (except the blue half of Manchester) a hugely entertaining weekend and I salute them.

    We shouldn’t be proud of sending them down, but they were on the fixture list and in the way of an important goal and simply had to go.
    Good luck to them.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Charybdis1966 Post author

      Thanks 1NTTA, as Wenger said previously, when you play with the threat of relegation so often, eventually it’s going to go wrong. A point I should have made is the importance of getting a stand in for Santi as when the lap of appreciation started I saw him grimace and hobble at the start of the lap – the guy is running on adrenaline and needs more rest next season so his effectiveness is not lost.

      Such a key player shouldn’t be playing in the red zone.

  3. Pingback:

    Vote -1 Vote +1Arsenal beat Wigan and it’s one for the road: plus when a Yank is a yank | 7amkickoff

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Shard

    Thanks for the match report Chary. And congratulations to you on being featured on the official site’s Media Watch.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Charybdis1966 Post author

      Thanks Shard, nice to get some recognition albeit in a small way from the club.

      Great atmosphere – maybe one day the media will stop goading us about Arsenal’s place being a library.

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1Ssinderias

    A much better end to the home season this year I think. Weren’t fans asking Wenger to spend some money last year? Or was that the year prior

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