"We conceded the first when Arteta was out and we could not put the player on because he is not ready. That penalised us for the second goal and after that we had a mountain to climb."
I am not impressed with this excuse. Arteta was injured, this was key and I cannot argue with that, however we still had ten other men on the field. Surely the team should have adapted and other players should have dropped deeper to cover Arteta? This did not happen.
What happened was, Theo chickened out of a challenge to contest Sagna's knock down header, Wigan broke down their left. Theo jogged back, Vermaelen and Song were nowhere to be seen. Santos got dragged across to the Wigan left, Djourou and Benayoun were well behind Di Santo in the middle and couldn't make up the ground, that was the opener. Great credit to Yossi Benayoun for tracking back and almost blocking Di Santo's finish, but where were the others, players like Song, Vermaelen and Djourou. They were too slow to spot the danger and react for me, this is irrespective of Arteta's injury.
The second goal was poor but nowhere near as poor from a defensive point of view as the first. Walcott lost the ball in midfield, dribbling where he should have known better, Wigan knocked the ball around nicely, Moses skinned Sagna down their left, then his cross somehow evaded our defence, we had enough men back, Song's position was not great, neither was Djourou's, and the latter slid in but got only minimal contact on the ball, Gomez then slid the ball home, Szczesny was inches away from getting hold of the ball. It was a poor goal to concede.
Overall we just couldn't keep up our head of steam to get those two goals back, although we came close. Looking back it does appear that this is a problem with both the team and individuals, it is systemic. Just look how Benayoun saw the danger for the first and steamed back, it shows the importance of having a whole team of players with that mentality and team ethic, for that reason I really respect Benayoun, he is a true professional. Walcott doesn't track back enough for me, Song doesn't show enough defensive discipline, Djourou is dodgy especially compared to Koscielny.
We just seem to have be so erratic in this regard, some games we do it, some we don't, the naivety and lack of appreciation of the danger in the build up to Wigan's opener was really depressing. This cannot be blamed solely on Arteta's injury, we need to be more disciplined defensively in every minute of every game. Sort it out Arsene, we need Champions League football next season.