Arsene Wenger admitted that the Gunners were awful in the second half against Wigan, but he also bemoaned the fact that Mikel Arteta’s injury left Arsenal with just ten players on the pitch when the first two goals went in although he was in no doubt that the defence was definitely at fault as well.
Wenger said after the game: We made it difficult for ourselves because we had quite a good start but we defended horrendously for the first and second goals. Everybody involved was included for the first and the second goals. On top of that we conceded a second goal with 10 men on the pitch.
It took us too much time to change and it was absolutely unbelievable. 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.
It is the fact that when a player is injured, if he stays on the pitch you have time to bring a replacement on. It was a misunderstanding because he walked off and Ramsey was not ready. The players think they will not come on in the first half, so they are not ready. Basically we played with 10 men, which should not be the case when a player is injured. Arteta had to come off but if he sits down on the pitch he can come off as well.
Wenger then went on to say that although Arsenal should have come back to equalize in the first half, the fatigue of the side came into play in the second half and they had nothing left to give.
I felt in the first half we had enough chances to come back to 2-2, but the second half we dropped our level, lost our team play, our cohesion and tried too much individually. There was not enough petrol left in the tank anymore. We didn’t see anyone who could make a difference. They defended well. We had a tremendous amount of possession but didn’t create a lot in the second half.
We have given a lot over the past two or three months and we were not sharp. Is it mental or physical? It is hard to know why. I felt in the first half we had quite a good response to being 2-0 down, but in the second half there was not a lot to come. We finished with Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Gervinho and Van Persie offensively and we didn’t create a lot.
Now Arsenal seriously need to pick themselves up for the big game against Chelsea next weekend, because another defeat could allow the other challengers for Third Place to get back within touching distance again.
This could prove to be a very costly defeat unless Wenger can get his team mentally and physically fit enough to get a result against a resurgent Chelsea.