Latics were given a footballing lesson today by a team whose average age was 19 and the lack of passion and commitment today from an a group of players who are paid a lot of money to perform raises concerns about Latic’s ability to remain in the Premier League.
Latics travelled to the Emirates, to face a largely young Gunners side, without their talismanic England striker Emile Heskey. Steve Bruce resisted the tempatation to shuffle his pack replacing Emile with De Ridder and playing 4-3-2-1, with De Ridder and Koumas slotting in behind Zaki, whose fitness before the game had been called into question.
This meant no place in the starting line up for Henri Camara and this must raise questions about Bruce’s faith in Henri’s ability.
Latics started brightly with Koumas producing two sublime passes across field to Valencia and De Ridder but neither could take advantage.
At the other end, a superb double save from Kirkland kept out Wilshere when he seemed certain to score and then Simpson hit the bar from the clearence.
Arsenal were in the ascendancy and once again Kirkland had to be sharp to deny Simpson.
Latics seemes determined to press down the right. Valencia crossed and De Ridder’s fierce shot was beaten out by Fabrinski and as usual no Wigan player was there to pounce.
Once again Kirkland saved Wigan with a superb one handed save from Ramsey.
Again Arsenal’s youngsters poured forward and Kirkland who looked in agony with his back saved Wigan again.
Koumas led a counter attack, finding Valencia on the right, the cross came out to Koumas who blazed over the bar. The next half chance fell to De Ridder but the shot was well saved by the keeper.
The game then settled into a midfield battle the biggest scare coming from a corner which Bramble missed and Melchiot came to the rescue.
Latics appalling defence was painfully exposed by the kids, when a through ball from Wilshere split the Wigan defence played onside by Melchiot, leaving Kirkland with no chance, as Simpson coolly slotted the ball home.It was no more than Arsenal exhuberant attacking play deserved but was cruel on Kirkland.
Half time dawned ,with the Latics totally embarassed by what is essentially a youth team and if Kirkland had not been on form we could quite easily have gone in at five nil down.
Latics has the first real chance of the second half but as on Saturfay there seemd to be a relucance to shoot.
Latics had a good shout for a penalty when Djourou appeared to handle the ball in the area, Mr Tanner ignoring the pleas.
Simpson was close to getting his second goal at the other end but his header went just over the bar.
Kirkland put his back to the test once again with a fine save from Merida.
After 57 minutes Latics opted to replace our most creative midfielder Koumas with Camara switching to 4-4-2.
Mr Tanner then showed his lack of comprehension of the game giving a free kick for a foul by Zaki when he was a good five foot from the defender. Arsenal went straight up the other end and Kirkland once again was forced into a good save.
A quick break from Arsenal after Wigan passed the ball around the penalty area once again to no effect so Boyce totally left for pace and Simpson scored again.
Vela outlined Arsenal’s dominance with a superb chip exposing Wigan’s woeful defence once again.
Not surprisingly Latics heads dropped and apart from aimless balls from De Ridder Latics offered absolutley nothing and Vela almsot got a fourth.
Latics almost got a consolation with a good break by De Ridder put Zaki in but the ball was tipped onto the bar.
Fabianski, Hoyte, Song Billong, Djourou, Gibbs, Wilshere, Randall, Ramsey, Merida, Simpson, Vela.
Kirkland, Melchiot, Bramble, Boyce, Figueroa, De Ridder, Valencia, Cattermole (Brown ), Palcios, Koumas (Camara) Zaki.
WOuld have been double figures but for him.
Slow, off the pace and as captain should have led by example…he didn’t
Given a testing time by the youthful Arsenal team
Newcastle will be praying he plays on Saturday
Awful,can’t beleive how bad the defence was tonight
Played some good balls and again was our most creative midfielder
Tackled hard but exposed by the skill of the Gunner’s team
Failed to impose his personality on the game
Daniel De Ridder…5/10
At least he kept going but awful final ball
One chance , well saved. Doesn’t look fit
Ran around a bit
Did he touch the ball?
Gambled with a half fit Zaki, took his only creative midfielder off and failed to motivate a well paid experienced team of professiopnals agaisnt a team of kids
Arsene Wenger…10/10. What an exciting bunch of kids he has created.
With the exception fo Kirkland all the other players shoulc give their wages for the week to compemsate the fans who travelled to London tonight.
I have not been as ashamed of a Latics performance since losing to Canvey Island. No matter how good Arsenal’s kids are, our experinced players should have dominated the game. Instead they were toothless, clueless and spineless.