Three points is what we pointed and three points is what we got but we made hard work of it. As usual the opposition took the lead. I need to make a template for that SFCSFAAÂ©Â® (Some fucking cunt scored first against Arsenal).
After Johann Djourou was muscled off the ball by Agahowa he deflected the Nigerian’s pass into the path of Denny Landzaat whose 25 yard screamer gave Lehmann no chance. Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say a goal is a great goal but we could probably have defender better initially.
Previous to that Thierry Henry had a missed a great chance when the much more lively and productive Theo Walcott found him at the back post so that only added to the frustration. He missed another chance late in the first half when he headed wide. Emile Heskey could have made it 2-0 to Wigan when he was cleverly played in and our central defence was cut wide open but Lehmann’s fingertips were enough to see the ball onto the post before being claimed by the German keeper. So half time 1-0 Wigan.
In the second we struggled make any clear openings and were frustrated by Wigan’s time-wasting. Chris Kirkland in particular was guilty of it. Now, naturally I was frustrated by it as I’m an Arsenal fan and we needed goals but I understand it completely. They’re a smaller team scrapping for their lives and a goal up against Arsenal. They’re hardly going to be in a hurry. I understand it, you understand it, the players understand it. However, understanding it is one thing but not getting annoyed about it is another.
We made changes. Djourou went off after an arm in the face from Heskey (looked accidental to me, Heskey had eyes on the ball the whole time), Gilberto moved to centre-half, Baptista to midfield and Adebayor came on up front. He then proceeded to get offside all the time, which was also frustrating. He did have the ball in the net and the offside call was very close but it was disallowed. Then Aliadiere and Flamini came on for Hoyte and Walcott who, after a much better first half, was pretty anonymous in the second but it was good to see him more involved.
Then came the incident that made Paul Jewell lose his reason. Wigan had a player receiving treatment on the sideline when Emile Heskey was put through. Flamini was the last man and he did touch Heskey, no question. What gets me is the commentators and pundits suggesting that somebody touching, and I mean literally ‘touching’ – no grabbing, pulling, wrestling or anything like it, is enough to warrant a powerful athlete tumbling the ground looking for a penalty.
We saw the same thing last week with Senderos and Yakubu. Yakubu is one of the biggest, strongest players in the league but Senderos ‘touching’ him made him fall over. If Flamini had grabbed him or pulled him back I’d have said it was a penalty, no question. He didn’t though and in an era when diving with no contact is condemned I think we have to acknowledge that just because there is contact doesn’t necessarily make it a foul. Sky were particularly annoying yesterday and I vented my feelings more concisely here.
So denied what they thought was a penalty Wigan were even more pissed off when we broke up field, Flamini was played through and he was more offside than Adebayor for his disallowed goal and his cross was turned into his own net by Fitz Hall. Of course Sky couldn’t wait to condemn Thierry Henry for his reaction. He grabbed the ball and showed it Kirkland, obviously giving him some verbals about his timewasting.
The condemnation was unanimous. David Platt said Henry should give Kirkland a public apology. What a load of shite from a moon faced cunt. Andy Gray said players at big clubs don’t realise what it’s like to play for a small club and to be on the verge of a big result. Utter bollocks, of course. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing Wigan or Real Madrid or Scunthorpe United. A team that delays everything, stops free kicks being taken quickly and does their best to waste time is going to drive you mad. Henry’s reaction was great to see, it showed passion, and a relief that despite the time-wasting we’d got back into the game, nothing more. It wasn’t anything worthy of that much discussion but then it’s something to knock Arsenal over and Sky love to do that.
No doubt Kirlkland’s mood wasn’t helped by Arsenal’s winner which came from a beautiful move. Rosicky played it to Adebayor who slipped a lovely ball through the centre of their defence. Although it went a bit wide Julio Baptista whipped in a brilliant cross and Rosicky was following in to bullet the header home for his first Premiership goal.
He then got booked for celebrating with the fans which is another bullshit rule but we can save that for another day.
After that Phil Dowd showed himself up perfectly when he booked Jens Lehmann for time-wasting. Jens throwing the ball over the advertising hoardings and missing was funny as fuck but Jens got a yellow for one incident while Kirkland’s constant delaying over goal kicks and free kicks warranted nothing. I know Wigan fans will feel the ref cost them the game but Arsenal fans won’t have anything nice to say about him either. He’s absolute shite. If Wigan fans can take any comfort it’s that if they play like that between now and the end of the season there’s no way they’ll go down.
So time was played out, we won the game, the three points were absolutely necessary because of Bolton’s 2-1 win over Fulham and we move back into fourth place, a point behind Liverpool with a game in hand. I’m not going to comment on the performances individually except to wonder out loud about Kolo Toure’s increasingly tendency to play long passes from the back, bypassing the midfield. I doubt very much this is deliberate tactic so I’m curious about it – especially when in the first half today he didn’t even have Adebayor to aim for.
In terms of the overall performance we didn’t play anywhere near as well as we can but you have to look at the positives and those say we showed great character to come from behind – AGAIN – and we won the game. We’ve lost playing pretty football in the couple of seasons so it seems a bit churlish to complain if we win ugly.
Afterwards it was the usual stuff from the boss, praising the spirit and character of the team and he also revealed that Johann Djourou has broken his nose and that Cesc has an injury to his knee but we don’t know how serious it is at the moment. Considering he played the whole game and the incident happened in the first fifteen minutes you’d have to assume it wasn’t that bad.
He also defended his captain for the incident with Chris Kirkland, saying:
Okay, he should not have done that – but it is not the biggest insult we have seen in football.
Tell that to the cunts at Sky who went over and over it like he’d committed some cardinal sin. Henry himself called the incident a ‘joke’ but Phil Dowd, the fattest ref in the league, didn’t see the funny side and booked him.
Now, we take stock, give some tired legs a rub down and prepare for an FA Cup replay against Bolton on Wednesday. We’ll look at possible team news and such tomorrow and Wednesday.
Finally for today the voting is open in the Irish Blog Awards. Arseblog has been nominated for Best Blog, Best Sports and Recreation Blog, Best Podcast and Best Podcaster. If you could find time to go and vote today that would be great. Please make sure you only vote once and you only need to vote for those categories unless you have some favourites from the other categories. Don’t just randomly vote for sites you don’t know. Much appreciated.