By that I mean the scoreline. Had our players been more lethal, they could have easily shattered the Premiership record for highest number of goals in a game. The statistics tells us that we had 24 shots on goal and 63% of the possession. Only 10 of those were on target, yet we only managed to make Wigan pick out the ball from the next 3 times.
Arsene Wenger went for his latest favourite formula, i.e. the one that beat Chelsea. Again, it was one that worked. We peppered Wigan’s defence at every opportunity right from the start. The way that each shot continued to be blocked by Wigan’s defence or parried by the Wigan keeper, Ali Al Habsi, was starting to make me a little worried.
That despite the control we had on the game and the opportunity that we had, Arsenal could end up missing out on maximum points. It would be fair to say that, in other games that means the opposition will nick a goal out of nowhere and we had to be chasing the game when we should have been comfortably ahead. Thankfully at the 21st minute mark, it changed.
Alex Song had another one of his better nights. Defensively sound and rarely we find him ahead of Jack Wilshere or Cesc Fabregas in the build up. This time he contributed to the goal, albeit from a position further behind. His through-ball to Robin Van Persie was precise and with enough weight on it, that the Dutchman did not have to break his stride before slamming home for the opening goal.
RvP continued his rich vein of form by adding the second and third goal in the second half to claim his first ever competitive hattrick for Arsenal. He could have had a fourth had he not missed the penalty. It is wise for up and coming players to learn that powerful penalties give you nothing, accuracy of the shot is the shot that counts.
RvP’s second goal was the pick of the bunch. Fabregas picks up the ball in the middle of the pitch and looked to see if there is any movement ahead. There was, and a delightful chip towards the path of RvP was forthcoming. A sweet left foot volley later and many was left wondering how is it possible for him to score that and not the penalty.
When Marouane Chamakh was playing in the early part of the season and doing very well, many questioned whether RvP can still claim a place in this side. I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t part of that mob. While the Moroccan does his job with much dedication and desire, he is still not in the same place as RvP in terms of quality. The recent month showed what a fit RvP can add to the Arsenal side.
A special mention also goes out to the Arsenal defence. Ever since the breaking up of the Invincibles, Wenger’s defence has come under much scrutiny for their perceived porosity. Yes, we are still the worst among the top four but we are only 3 goals worst off than the other 3. Yesterday’s result meant that we have kept 4 consecutive league clean sheets. That 2 of those were on the road, augurs well for our immediate future. Defence is one department where familiarity and understanding plays a very crucial role to its success. The same set of defenders played each of those 4 games and they are starting to appreciate each other’s strength and cover for each other’s weakness.
Manchester United also won their game as yet another former Alex Ferguson’s player rolled over to them. That leaves the gap maintained at 2 points with the leaders still yet to play their 23rd league game. Also important was the dropped points from the others in the chasing pack. It does at least give us some breathing space from those below us.
Time now to book our place in the first cup final of the season.