Arsenal 4-0 Wigan: Stress-free win a welcome relief

Arsenal 4-0 Wigan: Stress-free win a welcome relief

Arsenal 4 (Vermaelen 25, Vermaelen 49, Eboue 59, Fabregas 90)
Wigan 0

Video Highlights | Wenger Interview

Vermaelen provided surprises with his two goals

Match Review

Arsenal completed a very positive return this week with a comprehensive 4-0 home win over Wigan. Thomas Vermaelen was the chief threat – surprisingly netting a brace – while Emmanuel Eboue deflected home Eduardo’s shot for the third goal before Cesc Fabregas completed the scoring in stoppage time with a simple finish.

Arsene Wenger made two changes to the team that fought back from two goals down to win against Standard Liege, with Robin van Persie returning to the side in place of Nicklas Bendtner up front and Emmanuel Eboue moving forward to the right wing to allow Bacary Sagna back into the team on the right side of defence. Vito Mannone kept his place in goals while Alex Song, Abou Diaby and captain Fabregas completed a midfield triangle with an excellent balance of strength, skill and creativity.

The game was virtually all Arsenal from the first whistle right to the very end. Two early chances went begging early as van Persie scuffed wide from Eboue’s cross before Eboue hilariously attempted to score with his hand and was rightly booked by the referee. It wasn’t long before we got the goal we deserved though and it from a set-piece as van Persie’s excellent corner was belted in by the head of Vermaelen. 

Mannone was called into serious action for the first time shortly after when he produced a smart reflex block to keep out a Wigan header before van Persie somehow failed to make it 2-0 at the other end, swiveling the wrong way in an attempt to volley home a deft Fabregas pass. Van Persie also had another attempt saved by the ridiculous-looking Chris Kirkland (who looked like a female Korean golfer with that hat and outfit) after good work by Eduardo, which meant things went in at 1-0 at the break despite a clear chasm in quality between the two teams.

The second half was a different matter entirely as the Arsenal boys found the goals to go with their impressive overall play. Vermaelen got the ball rolling again four minutes into the second half when he collected the ball on halfway, swapped passes with Eboue and produced the sort of left-footed finish from the edge of the area that Dennis Bergkamp would have been proud of. It was superb stuff from the centre-back and despite being just eight games into his Arsenal career the Belgian has already become a huge favourite of just about every Arsenal fan I know.

Eboue then made it 3-0 when he deflected home Eduardo’s shot and Song almost added another when he struck the base of the post after a delightful run. Down the other end Paul Scharner had a goal ruled out for offside after Mannone deflected Scotland’s shot onto the post and captain Fabregas completed the scoring when he finished low from substitute Nicklas Bendtner’s firey cross.

In the end it was as straightforward a 4-0 win as you’re every likely to see and given the complexities of Arsenal’s games so far this season, a welcome relief.

Talking Points

The biggest talking point to come out of this game was undoubtedly the two-goal performance from Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgian’s brace meant he edged out Song for Man of the Match (how many games have those two been our best two performers this season!) and since debuting in the opening round has added aggression, defensive stability and a genuine improvement on both defensive and attacking set pieces. Vermaelen’s superb technique has also seen him take on the role of chief distributor from the back and at just 10 million pounds he looks nothing short of an absolute bargain.

I mentioned Song’s performance but to refrain from sounding like a broken record, I thought I’d focus on one of the other shining lights in this game; Emmanuel Eboue. 

Eboue was back to his electric and eccentric best after a difficult game at right-back against Standard Liege. Eboue’s finishing ability will always be a concern but he was a real handful for Wigan on the weekend with his unpredictable play and willingness to dash into the penalty area and given his versatility is proving to be a very handy squad player. Additional credit has to go to him for the character he has shown to fight back from being booed last season and although he will never quite be a favourite of mine on the pitch until he eradicates his play-acting and general tomfoolery, he nonetheless remains an entertaining character and effective contributor to the team.

Final Thoughts

After the games that had gone before it I think every Arsenal supporter was hoping for a straightforward win over Wigan and that was exactly what we got. Four goals, a clean sheet and (as far as I know) no injuries to speak of. Despite having a luckless afternoon in front of goal van Persie is starting to throw his body around like a real target man, the likes of Song, Diaby and Eboue are all clicking and our defence responded smartly to shipping six goals in the last two games.

Although we remain a little way off the top I have to declare myself satisfied with the performances and results of the team in the early part of the season. We’ve had a tough draw with two trips to Manchester and two additional Champions League qualifiers, but with four home games in the next five against some rather modest opposition there is a real chance for the boys to start their surge towards the top of the table. With the Eduardo dive incident behind us and the Emmanuel Adebayor performance likely to have galvanised the team spirit within the squad, things are looking a lot better than our current position on the table suggests.

Have your say on Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Wigan by leaving a comment

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27 Responses to “Arsenal 4-0 Wigan: Stress-free win a welcome relief”

  1. Michael
    September 21, 2009 at 3:27 pm #

    Plus we have a game in hand, which had we played already (and won) we would be 3rd based on goal difference. But then again Villa and City also have a game in hand, but theyve come across far less superior teams than us (bar man city v utd ofcourse, which they lost)

  2. leany
    September 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm #

    So, we overcame all the troubles in the last week. Hope that next time Gas will be stronger.

  3. Darragh
    September 21, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    Go the Verminator!

    Pretty good stuff – our defense still looks a bit shaky with our total football approach.

    It is funny that Gallas and Vermaelan alone seemed to have scored more than our centre forward pairings this season.

  4. Anonymous
    September 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm #

    Dat was a great performance frm d arsenal squad

  5. Dare
    September 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm #

    Dat was a great performance frm d arsenal squad

  6. Dare kayode
    September 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm #

    Go vaema, you ar d best + song ever improvin dm

  7. Dare kayode
    September 21, 2009 at 6:35 pm #

    Go vermaleen, you ar d best + song ever improvin dm

  8. Cleture
    September 21, 2009 at 6:56 pm #

    The overall performance was class. I worry seriously about Fabrigas. Is anything the matter with him? To me he didnt look the same on saturday.

  9. dhanteras
    September 21, 2009 at 7:10 pm #

    I hope I’m not making a mountain out of a mole hill here but I’m worried about our little darling Cesc Fabregas.

    I hate to say it but I’ve watched him in recent games and he doesn’t seem right. His body language and the way he is playing suggests that he either has things on his mind or he is just short of confidence.

    It’s obvious he loves Arsenal, he has said he is more than happy here plenty of times, but perhaps there is something just niggling away at the back of his mind.

    It’s hard to criticise Cesc because he is the skipper and the face of Arsenal football club but I think that maybe he has had his head turned slightly. I reckon in the summer, when on international duty, Fabregas was tapped up yet again.

    Now I don’t think that Cesc has to publicly declare that he is staying at Arsenal again, he does enough already, but I think he needs to have a serious thinking session with himself. If he is having doubts about being at Arsenal then he seriously needs to weigh up his options.

    I’d imagine that the idea of playing for Barcelona is very attractive, especially for a young Catalan like himself. It’s like Arsenal wanting to sign me or you as a youngster. Would a move to Barca be a good one for him in the next couple of years? I don’t think so.

    However good Fabregas is, I think he would struggle to get into the Barcelona side at the moment. In my opinion Barca have the best midfield partnership in the world. Of course Barca are the cream of Spain and Europe but I don’t think Fabregas would be happy getting splinters in his arse from the bench.

    Of course there would be hysteria in Barca at the capture of Fabregas but how long would that last? At Arsenal he is loved by Gooners and will be forever. He is the lynchpin at Arsenal, numero uno, and pretty much has the side built around him. At Barca he would be just one of the boys.

    I understand he is ambitious, I know he wants to win things. He can at Arsenal but firstly he needs to shake off this “hang-over” and begin to show us the Fabregas we all know because if Fabregas is buzzing so is this Arsenal team. And a buzzing Arsenal are untouchable.

  10. billy
    September 21, 2009 at 7:19 pm #

    @cleture. i agree with you mate. fab is very quiet in the game. its like the passion is just gone. why wnger didnt take van persie of beats me. i said it before and i will say it again, van persie is not great at all. his just not that strong on his legs. the same goes for diaby. thats why the defence score all the goals. if we gonna take on big teams, then we have to replace that non scoring players and bring os guys like arshavin, nasri, rossicky and eduardo. we just cannot keep those struggling scorers.

  11. enemyairships
    September 21, 2009 at 7:34 pm #

    Van Persie is a fantastic player, you’re talking rubbish. Not to mention the fact he notched an assist and some difficult attempts on target. He has been incredibly unlucky not to have more goals to his name this season, but it’s not through lack of trying.

    I suppose that list of mostly injured players would all magically heal at the drop of a hat? And did you miss the fact that Eduardo played at the weekend and didn’t score?

  12. Hey Nonny Mouse
    September 21, 2009 at 8:05 pm #

    @billy = you’re talking codswallop. When a striker’s not scoring he’s usually doing nothing much else and it’s a pain having to wait til his ‘touch’ returns – but Van Persie is constantly, constantly I say in there, every game, getting involved, having cracks, hitting the woodwork, setting up goals for others. He’s passionate, hard-working, a fighter, a leader – he’s been brilliant for us this season. He pretty much terrorises every defence and they always know he can score at any time.

    I also feel the same is petty much true of Fab who even when he’s not 100%, as he isn’t at the moment, is still better than most and always making a class contribution and at the heart of Arsenal’s creativeness. The reality is that Fab probably will leave the Gunners, maybe even at the end of this season – but he’s too good and too loyal a player to be letting something like that effect his play while he’s still in Arsenal shirt. My guess would be that he’s unhappy with his own performace, as he has such high standards – or possibly even he’s carrying an injury which is bothering him. But I wouldn’t drop him if one of his legs fell off. He’d still outplay most.

  13. Cleture
    September 21, 2009 at 8:15 pm #

    @billy Van Persie has a sure technique and a very quick brain. I will pick him to lead the front line any time.

  14. Tom14
    September 21, 2009 at 8:44 pm #

    Anybody seen a bad touch by Diaby yet?

  15. butterfingers
    September 21, 2009 at 9:14 pm #

    @tom14 yeah a few but hows denilson been?
    Does anyone know if the cc will be played on any ch in oz been looking but no setenta are sooooo $hit I’m going to cancel my 16 bucks a month now.

  16. Andy @ Arsenal FC Blog
    September 21, 2009 at 10:47 pm #

    Some good support for RVP here. I like it. He’s been pretty good so far this season despite the lack of goals. Has anyone noticed how hard he’s been working?

  17. Andy @ Arsenal FC Blog
    September 21, 2009 at 10:48 pm #

    @ butterfingers – Not sure, you might have to stream it. Looks like I probably won’t be able to watch it though.

    Oh and by the way, yes cancel your Setanta.

  18. Shane
    September 21, 2009 at 11:23 pm #

    Van Persie has been very unlucky. I would like to point out his brilliant performances. His free kicks have been great. A big improvement from last year. Other players who have performed will in every game would be Gallas.

    As for Fab. He is our best player still. ANd will be while he remains at Arsenal. He gets alot of pressure from other teams and is shut down quickly. Since we are lacking Arsharvin we have less players who can incorporate him into attack. I say this because Arsh with his pace and agility can cut balls into an onrunning fab.

  19. Johno
    September 22, 2009 at 12:21 am #

    I am seriously concerned about our captains attitude. Maybe he isn’t fully fit and he certainly copped a few heavy tackles on Saturday but he couldn’t even raise a smile after his goal. Is there too much pressure on him? We desperately need Arshavin and Nasri back to help carry the load, if they are not going to return soon then Ramsey or Wilshire should play to provide some creativity rather than Eboue’s erratic contributions.

  20. billi
    September 22, 2009 at 1:58 am #

    van Persie reminds me a bit of Klose from Bayern Munich, maybe the latter had some more problems but it was similar at some time, and referring to Cesc, I don’t believe that there’s something wrong with his attitude either, I would rather think he is a bit frustrated about his performances, too, but who knows

  21. GetGunMN
    September 22, 2009 at 2:01 am #

    Yes, this is exactly the kind of games we need for a few weeks. We need to stay out of the headlines. I also noticed Fab was hobbling a little after the full substitution was made. He might have expected to be subbed, I don’t know. Did you notice, he didn’t even celebrate his goal?

    One other issue I noticed for awhile, but also I heard it from a commentator over the weekend. Do Galas, Song, Diaby, & Van P have little tolerance for Pain? They spend a whole lot of time on the turf for what seem to be a minor contact. I wonder if that gives the opposition an encouragement to go at them all the time. Arsenal’s soft underbelly comment that we can’t shake off every season. I’m sure you guys have heard it very often.

    I’m no fan, but ManU win over ManC was not bad. Somebody is holding the self destruct button tight at ManC. I was hopping a draw, but getting burned by the ref like that must have hurt. ManU benefited yet again, a different call against us, but still the same result.

  22. theicehammer
    September 22, 2009 at 3:24 am #

    anyone notice how often Den looses the ball because of lack of strength and how often he passes the ball sideways or backwards.

  23. theicehammer
    September 22, 2009 at 3:30 am #

    butterfingers i pay 12.50. PS keep watching the den and see how often he slows the game down because he is looking to pass the ball back.

  24. theicehammer
    September 22, 2009 at 3:38 am #

    johno, i agree. But i did say during the summer that the work Wenger expects from Fabs will catch up with him. He should be there to create and score the odd goal that is all.

  25. shambogunner
    September 22, 2009 at 7:32 am #

    hello all its my first chance to get on as as i mentioned before i brought my wifes sister who has a learning difficulty to the manc derby for her 21st birthday…which i honestly enjoyed as it was great for her to get such a game and atmosphere….3-3 woulda been ideal and i done wel to conceal my delight at bellamys last gasp equaliser only to be dissapointed at another blatant old trafford bullshit decision…and fergusons childish giggling with alan wiley was sickening but indicative of the stuff they get away with…i wouldnt go as far as to call it bias but its more the fear they hav of him and utd as a club…their either gettin it in the ear off him and petrified or giving him/them the benefit of the doubt and sharing jokes like old pals, thoroughly unprofessional and it was just a little show to rub salt into the onlooking hughes,anyway came away from the game still really disliking both which is healthy and means i still hav my perspective and common sense
    vermaelan is just class and has the bottle iv said we need in our ‘soft underbellied’ young team,now wenger should learn how good it is to trust ur instincts and invest in quality,please god hel consider bringin in strong characters in the same vein as ‘little tom’ or as i like to call him tom thump
    rvp will never score you 20 PL goals in a season,thats not his bag hes a grafter and he makes things happen and im worried that when the goals run out from our surprise packages we may come up short in the ‘strikers’ department.in my opinon there are only 2 goalscorers with natural instincts in the whole of our club and they are du du and vela,both of which lack physical/aerial presense
    one last thing iv often been hard on some players for their shortcomings or erratic behavior,no more so than eboue who never seems to learn from contoversy; diving at old trafford after the week wed had, revealing some over the top statement on his substution after wed levelled against liege after a below par individual performance and then another embarrassing moment with that handball sat…honestly we dont need the negative publicity or stereotypes that get thrown at us anymore we just need wholehearted players who love arsenal…..and manu eboue is definately one of these in my book..iv read an interview from him bout the ade incident and he pulls no punches,yeah he said they were close befor but now he and song hav come out and said they couldnt care if they dont ever hear from him that their priority is arsenal and their teamates..also the revelations of how hurt and inconlsolable he was in his own home after last years boos opened my eyes and hes never once said a bad word bout the fans…am proud to call him an arsenal player and we need more players with his heart…just leave the shenanigans in the dressing room pal

  26. Owen7
    September 22, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    That additional added time was absolutely spot on by the ref. Can ppl stop complaining about it. United won and deserved to win.

    Who said we cant go on without Ronaldo….
    Hey well trade you Berbacrap with RVP anyday hahaha

  27. carole osako
    September 22, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

    Wow!! Need I add anything more? For Eduardo skeptics, shame on you. Virmaleen was worth a buy. This guy is proving to be so good. Work well done my boys!!!!

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