Arsenal FC: Gunners' Player Ratings from 1-0 Win at Wigan

Rohan SubraSenior Analyst IDecember 22, 2012

WIGAN, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22:   Mikel Arteta of Arsenal scores the opening goal from the  penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Arsenal at the DW Stadium on December 22, 2012 in Wigan, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It wasn't a convincing win from the Gunners. We're talking about a team who sit in 18th place in the Premier League, with 11 losses and just 15 points.

As Mikel Arteta's 60th minute penalty saw the Gunners eke out the win, this puts Arsene Wenger's side temporarily in third place, although Chelsea and Tottenham, who have games in hand, can go ahead of them with wins this weekend.

With a third straight victory heading into Christmas, here are the player ratings for the 1-0 win.


Wojciech Szczesny

Szczesny didn't have too much to do, although he did have to come out a few times to beat out Wigan strikers. By way of saves, there isn't very much to tell of for the Polish youngster who, fortunately for Gooners, is fit and has a cemented spot in the starting XI.



Bacary Sagna

Sagna and Shaun Maloney had a few tough battles on the right flank, but the Frenchman seemed to have gotten the better of the Scot. Despite his good work on defense, Sagna had a few misplaced passes to Oxlade-Chamberlain and some unnecessary crosses into the box.



Per Mertesacker

Mertesacker did a good job of clearing low crosses that came into the box, something that people call one of his weaknesses. His lack of pace wasn't as obvious as it sometimes is, as Wigan seemed to be more intent on crosses rather than stretching the back line on the counter. However, the German did get beaten by Arouna Kone on one attack which resulted in a one-on-one.


Thomas Vermaelen

Vermaelen wasn't as defensively involved as Mertesacker, maybe because Wigan wanted to exploit the German's lack of speed. However, whenever Vermaelen was needed, he stepped up, with a couple of crunching tackles.


Kieran Gibbs

In my opinion, Gibbs has been the breakout player of this season, and today he showed why with his defensive solidity. His ball-winning has been fantastic over the course of the season, and it wasn't any different today, as he was essential on the left side.


Mikel Arteta

Though many people say this of Santi Cazorla, I think Mikel Arteta has been Arsenal's best player this season. He plays his heart out every game, wins countless challenges, and is also a calming presence in the midfield. Today he had a good game, and his 60th-minute penalty was the decider; there were no significant flaws in his performance.


Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere brings fire to the Arsenal team. He brings fight, spirit, and energy to the squad, and he did just that today, moving about energetically in the midfield, using his upper-body strength beautifully. Although his yellow card probably wasn't deserved, he has been accumulating a few bookings in the last few matches, something he should be cautious about.


Santi Cazorla

I think Cazorla's average performance today is a result of his usual skill and brightness; Wigan were keen on pressuring him from the start, not giving the little Spaniard much space to operate. Due to their clamping down on Cazorla, there was a good amount of space in other parts of the pitch. He did also provide the pass that set up the penalty.


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Oxlade-Chamberlain's first-half performance was nothing special, but he really stepped up in the second. The Englishman flew down the right wing on a number of occasions, showing his great speed and skill, performing step-overs and dummies. My one criticism of Oxlade-Chamberlain is that he crossed high too many times: Theo Walcott is short and not one to win a lot of headers, so the high balls into the box weren't very useful.


Lukas Podolski

So far this season, Podolski has sometimes seemed to be absent on offense, but today that was less so, as he released Kieran Gibbs down the left a few times. However, the biggest upside of having Podolski on the wing is his relentless tracking back to aid the left-back, which he did today.


Theo Walcott

Walcott's desire to play up front was justified against a dismal Reading on Monday, but today that wasn't the case. The Englishman wasn't involved as much as he should have been, and his movement wasn't as threatening as that of a top-class striker. Although he did win the penalty, that was one of the few notable things he did today.


Substitutes: N/A. No one played long enough to have a huge impact on the game.


Final Thoughts

It wasn't a win that made Arsenal look like a top contender in the Premier League. The lack of offensive creativity was prevalent, as it has been of late (aside from the Reading match). Wigan possessed the ball too much for my comfort as a Gunners fan, and therefore the red-and-whites didn't have as much control as they should have against a relegation-zone team.

On Walcott, I am questioning the move of playing him at center forward just now, because once he signs a new contract, it seems as though he will be moved back to the wing. It looks to me like this is more like convincing Walcott to re-sign than it is an experiment.

So, overall, not a good performance: there should probably be more goals against this Wigan side next time, but let's see what Wenger will do against Newcastle on the December 29. And of course, the transfer window comes next.

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