Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said that his team lacked the sharpness required to beat a team struggling against relegation after Arsenal lost against Wigan on Monday night. The 2-1 home defeat meant that Arsenal are unable to open an eight-point advantage over Tottenham.
Hence, the bid to finish in the automatic Champions League qualification has not been secured yet. Wigan were coming into the match after having beaten Manchester United in their previous match. It provided them with huge confidence that they carried into the match against Arsenal as well, thus becoming the first team since Southampton in 2001 to beat Manchester United and Arsenal in back-to-back games.
It did not take long for Wigan Athletic to secure a stranglehold on the match after they scored two goals in the opening 8 min of the match. Arsenal then brought one goal back through a Thomas Vermaelen header, but were unable to get the second and equalising goal throughout the match. As a result, Tottenham could move to just one point within Arsenal if they win their game in hand. Following their win over Arsenal, Wigan are now five points above the relegation zone, which will ease their relegation fears for the moment.
“We defended against Wigan horrendously for the first and second goal. Everybody involved was included for the first and the second goal. 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. After that we had a mountain to climb. We didn’t see anyone who could make a difference,” Wenger said after the match.
This is the second defeat in the space of a few matches suffered against relegation threatened teams for Arsenal, which seriously hurts their Champions League qualification aspirations. The latest premier league odds make Arsnal slim favourites to take the third spot, but they need to make sure there aren’t many more defeats if they are to qualify.