What a start, we were utterly shambolic at the back and so terribly naive, caught out by Wigan on the counter attack, they killed us and took a shock lead early doors, Di Santo not being tracked by anyone and somehow working the ball into the net after Szczesny had almost stopped him. Wigan then got a second, some more shocking defending, Sagna tricked by Moses, his cross was not cut out and Szczesny seemed to have two hands on the ball, obviously he didn't and it was two nil, a terrible start and a mountain to climb.
We were terrific for the rest of the first half, and in honesty we should have been ahead by half time, Vermaelen did halve the deficit with a terrific powered header from a great Sagna cross, we had countless other chances though, Benayoun forcing a fine save from Al Habsi, Djourou shooting a few inches wide with the keeper beaten. Wigan did look dangerous on the counter attack and our defensive frailty persisted, a really worrying sign.
The second half was poor, we didn't really get going and Wigan do deserve a lot of credit for this, they defended well and made things difficult. One has to add that the referee Andre Marriner, ignoring some of his woeful decisions in the second half, allowed a ridiculous amount of cheating in the form of time wasting, a didn't produce a yellow card until injury time and it allowed Wigan to time waste, time waste and time waste, it was quite pathetic.
Wigan players routinely held the ball and walked away with it after free kicks had been given against them, it was blatant cheating but the useless Marriner did nothing to stamp it out. There were numerous examples of kicking the ball away after the whistle had gone, there was a lot of feigning injury from Gomez and Di Santo in particular. I don't massively blame Wigan for it, but how on earth can a qualified referee allow this kind of systematic cheating in order to waste time? It is beyond belief.
All in all though there were too many poor performances tonight and I think we lost discipline, we left ourselves too open as a team early on and paid a heavy price, it was ultra naive. Arteta's injury didn't help but Song put in a rather woeful shift, his defending was indisciplined and lazy, his distribution poor, Ramsey didn't do a great deal good, Walcott was largely anonymous, Rosicky was tremendous though. The substitutions came too late, Gervinho and the Ox came on when we had already gone flat. Our lack of a good second striker is obvious, if we had someone of quality on the bench then this would have been the kind of game RVP needed some more support up top.
Tonight summed up our season, there was some brilliant high tempo attacking play at times, but overall it was all wrecked by some really naive and indisciplined team defending. Well done Wigan, I truly hope you stay up. We have now made things much harder for ourselves, what could have been an eight point gap is now a five point one and it puts a lot of extra pressure on us for Sunday. So frustrating to see such gaping holes in our defence, a 0-0 would have been easier to take than this kamikaze shambles.