|22 Jan||3:00 PM||P||Wigan Athletic (H)||3||0||Win|
Well, that was one weird afternoon, wasn't it? 3-0 the final score against an unadventurous, timid, crappy Wigan side really, a first Premier League hat trick, or any kind of hat trick for that matter, for Robin van Persie and a fourth successive league clean sheet. But that doesn't half tell the story of this one, that's for sure!
Boy, it was a toughie. Not exactly thanks to any show of quality from Wigan's point-of-view, not by any stretch of the imagination, but largely thanks to, well, I don't know really. For one reason or another, you could just never sit back and fully relax in this one, not until the back on-form Dutchman did indeed make it three in the dying embers of the match.
Chance after chance after chance in the first half, and an impressive Ali Al-Habsi in the Wigan goal was equal to pretty much everything thrown at him, but for van Persie's flash opener across goal midway through the half following a sweeping passing move involving Alex Song amongst others.
That was well and truly it as far as final application was concerned. And even at 1-0, and despite no shots at goal and hardly any ventures forward from the visitors during that forty-five, you just feared it could well be one of those days. Particularly when a fairly flat crowd gasped in disbelief possibly the most shocking of shocking one-on-one misses the Emirates Stadium will ever witness. Through on goal from an exquisite Cesc Fàbregas defence-splitter, Theo Walcott then proceeded to show us all he'd obviously been hanging out with the likes of benched Andrey Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh way too often lately! So through on goal, in fairly good goalscoring form this season, defence nowhere, and with the on-rushing Al-Habsi very much second favourite, and what does Theo do? It's the overpass syndrome again, with a square ball to a late-arriving Fàbregas, BEHIND him. Chance gone. Wigan still in the game.
To be fair, it simply wasn't Theo's day, although he hold the ball up well for Robin's hat trick late on. By which point, the second just before the hour a product of another brilliant Cesc pass, the number 10 finishing on the volley. And by which point RVP had horribly blazed a penalty over.
A comfortable win in the end, but one where a "one" in front of that 3 would have been a fairer reflection (a bit of a hyperbole there, but hey). It was pretty if ineffective, and it was not at all without it's moments of angst and almost fear of a side getting something out of a game they were never in, which, as an Arsenal man/woman, you will be all too familiar with.
Elsewhere, we woke up to the news that Aaron Ramsey is back at the club where it all began for him in Cardiff City. Only for a month I know, but I personally would have loved to have seen him back in an Arsenal shirt, particularly during this stretched run of games what with cup games and so on. And if he was fit enough for the bench in those games, and fit enough to play for Forest and Cardiff, then he is certainly fit enough to play for us. But hey, what do I know?
In my preview to this match, a preview that has somehow mysteriously never seen the light, I had rained in on Arsène Wenger's assertion that a quadruple assault was well within our sights this season.
He can dream, and we can dream, but first, a Carling Cup semi-final to negotiate in the week before any of that talk can take some sort of credence. For now though, a comfortable win on what looked like one of those days that keeps us right in league contention. And that can only be a good sign.
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