Post-Wigan Ramblings and the Emirates Cup Returns
Arsenal’s mid-week resounding victory over Wigan saw the Gunners leapfrog their fierce rivals, Tottenham, into fourth place as well as condemning their visitors to relegation. In what would be highly regarded as a torrid campaign for Wigan Athletic, their eight-year adventure with the Premier League has come to an end, and according to chairman, Dave Whelan, the club’s gaffe, Roberto Martinez, will remain at the helm of affairs in their bid to secure promotion back to the Premier League.
In the days of old, Paul Jewell’s Wigan Athletic side that gained promotion had a couple of household names that have found new employers ever since. Players like Pascal Chimbonda, Henri Camara, Leighton Baines, Jimmy Bullard, Hugo Rodallega and more recently, Victor Moses, have found new employers and haven’t been replaced with the required quality.
In as much as I was happy to see Wigan pile misery on Manchester City, I showed no remorse to them when they were thoroughly spanked by Arsenal, ultimately sealing their fate. They will definitely look back at that all-important home fixture against Swansea that they let off their grasp. I can only wish them all the best in their promotion bid next season.
At Arsenal, Arsene Wenger and some of his players have been in the news following their convincing win over Wigan. In his post-match interview, Wenger talked up his team’s performance, their consistency in the run-in, coping with tension and the extent of Mikel Arteta’s calf strain he developed late on.
The manager had brought Thomas Vermaelen on for Arteta but the likeliest player to replace the Spaniard if he can’t make the game would definitely be Jack Wilshere, a more natural replacement than the make-shift Vermaelen. Wilshere excelled admirably in the box-to-box role in the 2010/11 campaign, earning him the 2011 PFA Young Player of the Year award. However, Arsene Wenger has admitted that Wilshere has been using pain killers and he’s due for a surgery this summer.
Risking an injury-prone player like Wilshere could aggravate the injury, especially when Francis Coquelin or even The Verm could do a nice job there. Speculation is rife about Le Coq’s departure this summers as the youngster may seek to get first-team football elsewhere with Schalke 04 highly interested in his services.
Elsewhere, Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott also voiced their opinions in the wake of Arsenal’s victory over Wigan. Lil Gibbsy stated that his teammates showed good character while Walcott spoke about the team’s drive to get the final coveted Champions League spot with Tottenham on the prowl.
Still on European qualification, the FA has approved a potential playoff between Arsenal and Chelsea if both teams finish level on points with the same goal difference. Chelsea currently have 72 points amassed from 37 games with a goal difference of +35 while the Gunners have managed to notch up 70 points from 37 games with a goal difference of +34.
In essence, this means a playoff could occur between both sides if Chelsea fail to pick up maximum points against Everton in sixth place while the Gunners managed to ease past Newcastle with a solitary goal. That would be interesting.
With one more game left to play in the Premier League season, the Gunners would be hopeful to secure maximum points against Newcastle coupled with a bad result for Spurs against Sunderland that would see the Gunners take the final European slot.
After taking a break due to last season’s summer Olympics, Arsenal’s preseason cup tournament, the Emirates Cup, is back in full flow with the Gunners hosting FC Porto, Napoli and Emmanuel Eboue’s current employers, Galatasaray. In the two day tournament, Arsenal would gear up to face Napoli and Galatasaray on the 3rd and 4th of August, 2013.
It would be nice seeing our favorite African cult hero, Farmer Emmanuel Eboue, and I’m positive that he’ll get a good reception from the Emirates faithful. He rose to the limelight at such an early age, displacing Lauren from the team but the arrival of Sagna saw him moved further up the pitch, a failed experiment if you ask me.
Notwithstanding, Eboue was a lovable fellow in North London and I particularly enjoyed his penchant for strange goal celebrations, whether he scored them or his teammate did.
Teams will be awarded three points for a win and one point for a draw. The competition also rewards attacking play, with teams being awarded one point for each goal they score. In addition, shots on target will be taken into account and will be used to decide the tournament winners if teams are level on points and goal difference, with the winning team being presented with the Emirates Cup trophy after the second match on Sunday, August 4.
The current holders of the competition are the New York Red Bulls, and it would be nice to see some Emirates Cup action before the Community Shield encounter between Manchester United and Wigan.
That’s yer lot for today.
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