In the unlikely event that anyone bar the most loyal companions read my football meanderings, you may have noticed a lack of input on this blog following its initial flurry of activity…this is primarily because I’ve been preoccupied by rehearsals etc for the first show of my lovely lady’s company,  The White House . The net result of this is that I’ve been too busy immured in a late 18th Century house of ill-repute to actually see any of November’s games, what with the excruciatingly dull and pointless international break interrupting once again (though I will concede seeing the worst England 11 in a decade beat Spain was very amusing).

But now the show is gone, and I am back – and Wigan took the bunt! A straightforward affair against what had previously been something of a tricky opponent in recent seasons, despite not really being any good. The trend of Wigan’s mediocrity was more evident than ever yesterday, as not only were they low on confidence, but also put out a team very low on quality. After an initial good spell for the hosts, Arteta shot from range through the grasp of the usually more defiant Al-Habsi, and a couple of minutes later Van Persie dropped a corner onto Vermaelen’s head perfectly, and the Belgian steered a tricky header in off the post. Three goals already since returning from his horrible injuries for the vice-captain, echoing his goalscoring form in his first season.

At this stage the game was pretty much over, as Wigan lacked the threat of previous years without the likes of N’zogbia and with Rodellega on the bench and out of touch. The second half was even more processional, with Clattenburg taking pity on the home side turning down a nailed on penalty after Ramsey was fouled twice in the box when about to shoot, and with Gervinho finally getting back on the scoresheet after a couple of wasted opportunities, turning in a Van Persie rebound with a strange awkward deftness. Speaking of large domed Ivorian, this interview  Gervinho: ‘All of England expects Arsenal to win and so do the fans’ | Football | The Guardian followed a week of ‘bigging up’ in the press from the ever astute Wenger, as well as discussions about his goalscoring (or lack of it).

Cherry on the cake was the customary Van Persie goal from a Walcott assist. As well as being second only to Robin Hood on the google list of Robin’s, he is even getting featured articles in Sport’s Illustrated – Arsenal forward Robin van Persie in the form of his life – Ben Lyttleton – SI.com, though the American’s inflate his by now well known transfer fee. The stats say it all though: in 2011, he has scored 45 goals in 52 games, with 39 goals in 43 games for Arsenal; this season alone, 14 goals in 13 league starts. Also all Walcott’s assists this year bar last weeks to Vermaelen have been to the Dutch forward, which certainly illustrates the development of their understanding. Arsenal’s good run continues, and the calming influence of Arteta, Mertesacker and to a degree Santos cannot be underestimated. Wigan on the other hand look down to me, with their great stadium getting even emptier by the week. I like and respect Roberto Martinez, but he’s got such a poor squad to work with.

Elsewhere Man U breezed (if 1-0 can ever be a breeze) past Villa, who are steadily being predictably ruined by Alex McLeish (a terrible appointment on so many levels), Man City spanked Norwich by four goals and about £500m, a referee aided Tottenham comfortably beat 10-man Bolton, and Chelsea put surprise side Newcastle back in their place, though were lucky not to lose the hot-head David Luiz to an early red card. Chelsea have to play him to cover the complete lack of pace at the back bar Ashley Cole, but he is a very rash, if very gifted young man. Expect Cahill to end up at Stamford Bridge in January.
The only other thing of note in the Premier League this weekend so far was Yakubu’s four goal haul against Swansea. He’s a portly, lazy goal hanger, but the man can finish and is always a good signing for 18 months or so until his motivation wanders. The Yak now has nine goals in the league despite Blackburn being mired in the bottom three. That’s seven more than Carrol or Torres, and more than twice their goals combined for £83 million less. Nice!
Only a final note some more sad news to follow the loss of the universally respected and thoroughly decent Gary Speed, BBC Sport – Brazil football legend Socrates dies at 57. Chain-smoking, boozing, Brazil Captain and trained physician, who only turned professional at 24, before lighting up the ’82 world cup. My first ever footballing hero, a sort of lookalike and the moniker of my favourite t-shirt. Rest well, Doctor Soccer. BBC Sport – Obituary: Socrates
Advertisements