Arsenal 2 Wigan Athletic 0 - Snow slaughter but a cup win's a cup win

Last updated : 01 December 2010 By Brian Dawes
The crowd was given as 59,525 but how many were there is hard to assess, certainly less than that. That said spectators were still arriving at half time and not that many left before the end considering the potential problems of getting home. Arsenal kicked off towards the Clock End up against a Wigan team in colours not unlike Real Madrid's away kit, namely all black. Our boys included a fair sprinkling of those looking for match fitness, plus others looking for a bit of time on the pitch in the first team. Essentially then this was a scratch reserve team.
Generally our boys looked short of match sharpness with the exceptions of Wilshere and Koscienly and Vela at the start. Vela had a good game until it came to his shooting, which wasn't awful but could have been better. Fair to say that overall we were for the most part in control and that Pollitt had far more to do than Szczesny throughout. Walcott was tripped almost immediately and Atkinson, the alleged ref, seemed quite happy for Theo to be chopped whenever they felt like it without recourse to bookings. We went close as early as the second minute but were not quite like Barca were the other night. Vela with a shot on the run. Moses with a shot wide. Vela ran back to stop a break and stopped his man from behind in exchange for a yellow card. Later in the match Walcott, Vela, Wilshere and Nasri when he came on were all taken out from behind without cards or in some cases without so much as a free kick.
Denilson hit the wall from a free kick after he was fouled. Vela to van Persie in a nearly but not quite type move. Van Persie's long free kick wide on our right, after Jack had been hacked, saw Bendtner head over. A Djourou solo found Vela who went on to have a shot on the run which won a corner. Theo to Laurent from the corner who headed over. Szczesny out to save at feet after the ref and lino both missed an obvious foul. Two good crosses from Carlos followed. Theo brutally axed but no card. Nick won the ball well but then wasted it, pretty much the story of his night in the main. A Bendtner cross blocked.Figueroa booked for a body check on Theo. At this point play had moved on down the line as Eboue left Moses on the ground following what looked like an innocuous tackle. Moses however was down for quite a while and had to be stretchered off.
Big shout for handball in the Wigan box by fans and players alike, van Persie was livid with the lino whom he obviously reckoned had a good view. Good cross from Denilson found Vela at the near post who headed just past the far post with a decent glancing header. Close but no cigar. A Gibbs cross was headed over his own bar by someone in a black shirt and from Theo's corner we scored. It looked as if Bendtner just failed to connect thanks mainly to a shove in his back. Then it may have got a slight deflection before going in off another Wigan player at an angle. I couldn't quite tell because it was at the far end and the replays were not conclusive. Whatever happened it was 1-0 and there was no announcement regarding the scorer. Another massive appeal for handball in their box, but no penalty given. Carlos to Robin, a Robin back heel to put Carlos through on goal but he slipped over in their box thus missing a glorious opportunity close to half time. Djourou headed clear for a corner following a decent cross from Wigan's right flank. Half time 1-0 to the good guys.
The usual Mickey Mousers crowd were in. Lots of youngsters, which is always good. Too many 'stand up if you hate Tottenham' chants, vain attempts, thankfully, to start a Mexican wave. Two nutters in block 12 were bear chested for most of the second half. Plenty of people standing up when there was no need, other than to stamp the feet for warmth of course. Sadly however near the end of the game three ignorant thick little tw*ts, probably in their teens, thought it would be fun to run on the pitch and act like the arseholes they so clearly were. Arsenal fans should know better. Way back when they would have got a good battering from the Old Bill, nowadays they are just lead away. I hope the silly little f*ckwits get a lifetime ban.
The second half started with a great Vela cross being headed over by Nick. How it happened I'm not sure but at this point Robin went down and stayed down, needing extensive treatment, a worry at the time but when he did get up there was no apparent limp or other obvious injury. Shortly after Nick headed over again, but this time from a fine Theo cross. At the other end there was a good punch clear from Mr Massive Scrabble Score in our goal. Arrrggghh! I noticed about then that Eboue was wearing white tights. Not a sight to relish and when he  next rolled around the ground, as is his wont, I was seriously concerned that he might have laddered them. Fine cross from the left, this time by Nicklas. It was about at this point that my notes became sparser due to probable frost bite. I'm not able to take notes in gloves but very bravely soldiered on for all those suffering crap internet feeds or none at all.
Theo shot from an angle on the left. Wigan had a cross that was far too deep at the other end. This rare Wigan attack of note got me pondering their lack of first half efforts. The only dodgey moment I only recall was one iffy moment in the first half that saw a lucky Scrabbleman scramble succeed as Robin sliced clear. A good positive move down our right, of which there were many saw Bendtner taken out off the ball. Atkinson of course didn't see it, neither did the lino. Our second goal when it came was sweet. A sweeping move from Wilshere to Robin, Robin out wide left to Vela who got in a telling low cross for Nick to get on the end of and steer it home from close range. 2-0. But I couldn't hear the fat lady singing, possibly because my hat was pulled down right over my ears.
Wilshere, Walcott and Vela in an almost brilliant move. Vela through one on one with the keeper who was out well to stop him. Substitutions: Nasri on for van Persie - cue the catching on fast Samir Nasri song and Eastmond on for Wilshere. Robin's was a decent run out that included some deft touches and no rash tackles. Jack had been workmanlike and effective, the engine room if you like. Nasri combined with Walcott who shot wide. Theo's next effort was bent just past the far post after being put in by Vela, that one did look close. Stam off McManaman on. Great tackle by Kos.
Henry Thomas carded, say my notes, but I can't recall what for. Boselli off Gomez on. Theo fired one in from the right and there was yet another very clear handball in their area. Theo asked the man with the flag and the white stick quite why he'd failed to see it. Given that at the same time as the handball Theo was being unnecessarily roughed up by McManaman he was more than a little peeved and nearly but not quite went head to head with McManamanaman. The ref had words, but I'm quite sure they can't have been words of wisdom. Bendtner was subbed late on for Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. Nick may have thought he was being saved for a part in our match with Fulham, but on this form I rather doubt it. That said never knock someone who knows where the net is. Before the final whistle Nasri rounded the keeper, hit the target, but saw his effort cleared off the line. Thankfully it matters not how much you win by in a cup game unless its over two legs, which of course it will be in the next round.
Another deserved win by our second string on current form. A semi final place in the Mickey Mouser it is then.