Those were the exact words from Mrs Lower when I came home last night and she asked me what the score was (she’s not into this football thing you see, and at times like this, I can’t say I blame her).
It was indeed vintage poor defending that got us into another fine mess, and vintage park-on-the-edge-of-the-area, out-of-ideas stuff that made for a second half of infuriating frustration.
Then in a year of handbrakes on and being too much in the wanting zone came There Wasn’t Enough Petrol in the Tank.
It would certainly explain our second half performance, which was as flat as a pancake. Instead of fizzing with energy and guile and determination – which we had done when we found ourselves two goals down after six minutes in the first half – we ran worryingly out of steam.
Wigan, spurred on by a miniscule band of fans – easily the smallest away section I have ever seen at the Emirates, let’s call it an away slice – were absolutely terrific though. If you take away the persistent time-wasting and the lighter-than-air toppling to the ground, which the referee largely either let go until it was too late, or fell for, they were a menace all night. They caused us constant problems defensively, where without Koscielny and Gibbs – 50% of our first choice back four – we looked ragged.
For the first goal we were well and truly suckered on the counter following a misplaced Sagna header. The second looked to me like Szczesny could have done better, but equally true, we were down to ten men as Arteta had hobbled off. Either way, it was a disastrous start.
The rest of the half was as you’d expect – Arsenal wounded and furious. Benny had two excellent headers acrobatically saved, Vermaelen scored a lovely header and it looked for all the world, if we could keep it up, that the game could yet be salvaged.
That we couldn’t keep it up and in fact fizzled out at such an important time is a cause for worry. “We didn’t see anyone who could make a difference”, said Wenger after the game, “…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 think we missed the invention and calm of Arteta more than we think, and the worry is that we might now be missing that for the rest of the season – as indeed, it has been confirmed, we will be missing Wilshere.
That’s now ten league defeats – a tally that makes it slightly miraculous we are chasing third at all. I’m not sure we could have timed it worse, throwing the door for third and fourth open again once more rather than slamming it shut.
But again, well done Wigan – it was a well deserved win and we were, in the end, well beaten.
And who’s next? Chelsea at home and our old friends Stoke away.
Time to wheel out Djourou online for some damage limitation.