Saturday, 3 December 2011

Back To Winning Ways

I return after a long absence from blogging to write an article about today's marvellous win and performance at Wigan. It had been over year since I went to an Arsenal game and they won. That was Everton away last November. The time before that was a 4-0 win at Newcastle, and that was also the scoreline today.

Wigan started on the front foot much to my concern as I sat suprisingly positioned in the second row back of the whole away end (odd that we were sat there given we bought the tickets a day before they sold out and on general sale,and after we were sat about 40- 50 rows back last season here), but anyway Arsenal started to take over more after Wigan had their best chance of the game and would have gone ahead but for a fabulous block from Andre Santos.

Mikel Arteta lashed a shot in from about 25 yards (I think) to cue the celebrations of the first goal from me and 4500-ish Arsenal fans in the ground. Their keeper probably should have saved it but that proved the merits of shooting from distance every now and then. Almost immediately we won a corner which Van Persie swung towards the back post for out defender/ regular goalscorer Thomas Vermaelen to powerfully head home. 2-0. Cue even bigger celebrations and a 'Yes!' from me as I threw my arms in the air and clenched my fists. Get in!

The rest of the half was comfortable and we could have gone into it 3 or 4 up. The second half started off like the first- Wigan looking threatening, but continued like the first as Arsenal found their rhythm again to take control of the game and create a few chances. I'll have to see it on Match Of The Day later on but I think we should have had a penalty when Ramsey was sent tumbling, and Van Persie had a shot fly wide.

But then it came. After much pressure the mighty Arsenal made it 3-0 and 3 points surely secure when Van Persie's cute turn was followed by a parried shot and Gervinho put in the rebound to silence his harsh critics about him not scoring in all league games. The away was in bouncing, joyful, party atmosphere mood and continued it's loud noise that started even before the opening minute of the match. 'Jump up if you're 3-0 up' they sang. Then my Dad began jumping. (No he didn't really! It would have been funny if he had have!)

And what would a win be without Van the Man himself getting on the scoresheet. Theo Walcott made an intelligent run before being put through by a good through- ball and unselfishly squared for Van Persie who expertly finished to make it 4-0. Game over. And even then, Benayoun could have added a 5th.

It was a very solid, fairly comfortable (or as comfortable as it gets in this league when playing away from home) and clinical win where Arsenal showed strength, solidarity, creatvity, maturity, a killer instinct and looked a lot more intelligent than they were in the last couple of seasons at Wigan. Mind you, actually have our first choice team helped with that.

One of my favourite things about Arsenal this season is their togetherness that is evident and the closer relationship they have with each other and us fans. A good example of that is Wojchiech Szczesny singing 'We're by far the greatest team' in front of us at the end, joined in by the fans of course! They do seem a much tighter unit, not only defensively, but as a team as well in terms of togetherness and team spirit which is the first time we've been able to say that in years. A lot of our players are improving and there is a better variety of qualities in the team now, with more pace, strength, experience and aerial ability. We also have a solid, reliable keeper and a fit and in form Robin Van Persie (touch wood!)

Man of the match today goes to Mikel Arteta who was outstanding. He scored the first goal, his retention of the ball and his passing were excellent and he was solid defensively. Vermaelen, Ramsey and Van Persie were other contedners but the whole team today was brilliant so it's hard to choose and could have been almost anyone in the team.

Match Ratings:

Szczesny 7
Koscielny 8
Mertesacker 8
Vermaelen 8
Santos 7
Song 7
Ramsey 9
Arteta 9 - Man Of The Match
Walcott 8
Van Persie 8
Gervinho 8

Benayoun 7
Arshavin 6
Coquelin 6

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