Morning to you. Feels worse than a hangover this no thanks to the loss coupled with the news on Jack Wilshere.
I’d say it’s a good thing this is just coming up otherwise it would have been a real mess of a post.
Wigan Athletic had two goals in just over a minute very early in the first half to thank for a memorable 2-1 win at the Emirates.
It which pushes them five points clear of the relegation zone while at the upper end, allows for the Sillywhites and Newcastle as well as Chelski to close up on us in the race for Champions League places.
Franco di Santo helped his former club’s cause, eventually getting the ball in the net after a precise Wigan break from a poor corner at the other end.
We hadn’t recovered from going behind when Victor Moses made light work of Sagna and his deflected cross to the box was pounced on by Jordi Gomez who made it to the ball just before Szczesny to poke home a second.
Both goals came just as Mikel Arteta was being treated on the sidelines so the sight of Aaron Ramsey replacing him soon after.
This leaves us sweating over how bad the Spaniard’s ankle injury is with resurgent Chelsea coming up for us in Saturday’s early kick-off.
Thomas Vermaelen did pull one back after 21 minutes with a good header off Tomas Rosicky’s cross and you just felt then that sure, we still got this! No we don’t got this (bear with my ebonics) as Arteta’s calming chi was sorely missed by Song, left Ramsey exposed per se and rendered our wingers wingless, Walcott especially.
Walcott was on the field? Apocalyptic! Sagna could’ve done much better, Santos missed a good scoring chance in the second half, Gervinho brought nothing after replacing Benayoun, so too the Ox when he came on for Djourou.
Then Arsène Wenger made some noise about the impressive Ali Al Habsi’s time wasting on the night. Well, we’d be elated to see Szczesny do same for us with a similar score at a place such as the Nou Camp or Old Trafford… I’m just saying.
Szczesny – 6
Sagna – 5
Djourou – 7
He has deputised pretty well for Koscielny, just unfortunate to be on the losing side tonight.
Vermaelen – 7.5
Another goal and he’s certain to end the season as the league’s top scoring defender, well ahead of the likes of Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll.
Santos – 6
Arteta – N/A
Song – 4
Rosicky – 6.5
Walcott – 3
Benayoun – 6.5
He had two headers well saved by Al-Habsi either side of the goals we conceded. Just shows how differently the night could have turned out for us.
RvP – 6
Ramsey – 3
Gervinho – 3
Oxlade-Chamberlain – 5
Summarily, we let ourselves down yet again as we were flat for large periods of the encounter with the exception being early in both halves.
Like at QPR, this is just a blip and there will be no need to raise ‘unnecessary dust’ about this.
Hopefully we’ll respond to this defeat just as well as we did against Man. $hitty and effectively end Chelski’s Champions League ambitions from the league end of the business, we’ll see how they fare against Barcelona either side of their visit to the Ems.
Wilshere out of Euros
And to cap a generally bad day at the office, 20 year old Jack Wilshere tweeted last night after the game that he will miss out the rest of the season and consequently the European Championships to be held at Poland and Ukraine.
“My ankle is good, I just have a few niggles and having been out so long I will not be fit enough for the Euros!” tweeted Wilshere who was civil in his frustration in a previous tweet that read
“Gutted, sad, devastated..its been a test mentally for me this season and it will continue to be tough until I am back out on the pitch.. “.
This was soon after le boss made known at the post match what we all along have feared for the lad.
“Jack will not play again this season and he will not go to the Euros, that is for sure.” said Wenger.
The manager went further to say “He is not ready to practise today or next week. He is devastated and you can understand that. What kept him going was that he still felt that, if it was not with us, he would have a good chance to go to the Euros but that is over now.”
Wenger however reckons Wilshere could make the Team GB squad to the Olympics later this year though he would much prefer that Stuart Pearce doesn’t invite Wilshere for that, to avoid a recurrence of what has been a mentally challenging year for the midfielder.
Here’s wishing Wilshere good and timely recovery from this.
The news on Arteta is not too good either. Wenger had this to say:
“It is an ankle problem…but it doesn’t look a little ankle sprain. It is a serious one.”
The Spaniard faces up to 3 months on the sidelines if our worst fears are confirmed. He was seen leaving the game in crutches, with his right foot in a protective mask.
If it’s any consolation, it comes late in the season. There are only 4 games left and surely we can keep our place in the top 3 in his absence.
There is some good news on the injury front for us though, with Francis Coquelin due back in training this week, while Per Mertesacker will fly back from Germany in the next two weeks, having travelled to his homeland for surgery and rehabilitation on his left ankle.
A decision is also expected this week on Abou Diaby, who has been building his fitness up in training, and is in contention to be in the squad for Saturday’s clash with Chelsea. Surely he can do better than Ramsey who has been unconvincing of late.
RvP nominated for Player of the Year
Captain Vantastic has been nominated alongside five others for the PFA Player of the Year award. Van Persie also is firm favourite to get the award ahead of Wayne Rooney, Sergio Agüero, Joe Hart, David Silva and I’m sorry… Scott Parker?
Why not just put Nicklas Bendtner in it then? I can feel the Dane being gutted by this ‘gesture’.
Agüero meanwhile was nominated also for the PFA Young Player of the Year seeing as he is still of age as the case here is. Our own Oxlade-Chamberlain made the shortlist as well along with Wale’s Bale, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Kyle Walker.
Apologies for the long post but last night’s victory left a sour taste in our mouths. What went wrong? Even Arsene doesn’t seem to have answers which is very unusual. Was it physical fatigue? Mental stress? Or just overconfidence?
Do share your thoughts with me in the comments.
Remember to follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs
Have a pleasant day nonetheless!
It has been quite a summer for Arsenal with the Gunners without doubt being the champions of transfer speculations all through. Can Arsène Wenger and his charges end a run of seasons without a competitive trophy at the seventh attempt?
An answer to that largely depends on the club’s mental approach going into matches and this is in two aspects. Firstly, we must kill games when leading and in the inability to do so, be able to hold onto such advantage till after the final whistle as evident from both legs of last season’s north London derby and home matches against Liverpool, Aston Villa, Newcastle United and West Bromwich-Albion as well as the infamous implosion at Newcastle where we ironically open this season’s campaign.
The other aspect of our mental approach to games is how we fare in the months of February and March, months that have proved the Achilles Heel in the leap towards a trophy in the last four seasons.
Last season’s episode proved the most painful, we suffered defeat to Birmingham City (now of the Championship) in the League Cup final on the last day of February, before enduring a mediocre run of form in March that pretty much ended all other title ambitions on other fronts.
And there’s the additional mental jabs dealt the team now no thanks to speculations surrounding the future of Samir Nasri & Fabregas who has reportedly agreed to a deal to return to his boyhood club. Which means a new era is about to start, one without the club’s best player. But no one man or player is greater than the club.
Meanwhile the latter is once more reportedly close to completing a £22m move to oil rich Manchester City, some reports even suggesting he may do so before the protracted tug for Fàbregas finally ends.
Arsenal’s hopes of ending the trophy drought will now rest on 20 year old Jack Wilshere(albeit not solely) as it was the English international who flourished – when Fàbregas was mostly half fit or out injured last season – with consistent and assured performances. While possessing admirable mental and physical strength, the rest of the team will determine just how much impact Wilshere will have this season.
With Laurent Koscielny apparently being the notable addition to the team last season, the Gunners actually did well until those dreaded months. This term, Ivorian forward Gervinho has joined and impressed so far with his quick feet and good composure.
Other than him, Wenger has (annoyingly) kept to his policy with a roll call of highly rated youngsters such as Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and Ryo Miyaichi. The transfer window however is still over a fortnight from closing so some much needed experienced players may yet arrive at the Emirates.
While awaiting those, Gooners will be banking on Robin van Persie to pick up from the fiery form of the second half of last season that saw the Dutchman finally show us his potential with a high return on goals per game. Having him fit for a whole season on such form leaves the heights attainable by the team optimistically imagined.
In the event of him being out injured as he is sadly prone to, Theo Walcott gets my nod to spearhead the front ahead of the overly disappointing Marouane Chamakh and the England international has publicly stated his desire to play upfront rather than on the wings.
Last season, he posed a real threat to defences with his raw speed that was, unlike previous seasons, complemented with much technique. This sort of form gives promise of this season being perhaps a breakthrough season for the 21 year old.
Those other than the above players that could contribute to a successful league campaign, and perhaps success in any of the other competitions, are Thomas Vermaelen, Andrei Arshavin, Koscielny and goalkeepers Lukasz Fabianski and Woijcech Sczeszny just as I’m personally looking forward to how Aaron Ramsey fares with Abou Diaby’s injury presenting the Welsh midfielder a chance to impress.
Vermaelen on his part was out virtually all of last season injured and Squillaci failed woefully as partner to Koscielny. Consequently, the efficiency of our physios this season actually comes in just behind the team’s mental maturity as deciding factors on how this season will pan out.
Arsenal’s campaign begins at St. James’ Park in Saturday’s evening kick-off having survived getting postponed due to the violent scenes that besieged streets in London and Birmingham.
That match is then followed in quick sequence by games against title rivals Liverpool and Manchester United, with the Champions League qualifier against Italian side Udinese buttered between those red encounters.
In all honesty, Arsenal are strong contenders for the title and hopefully we avoid burning out at those times aforementioned!
That said, enjoy the season ahead, it’s great to finally be getting underway!
C’mon You Smokin’ Gunners!!!