Blogs & Opinion


Gunners blew it

The Soccer Saturday team reflect on big wins for Chelsea and Swansea, a narrow one for Arsenal and a turgid draw at the Britannia Stadium...

Soccer Saturday Posted 16th February 2013 view comments

Matt Le Tissier on why Wigan may lose their battle against relegation

Chelsea 4-1 Wigan: Read our match report here

"4-1 probably flattered Chelsea but it looks like this could be the season (where they get relegated). They have lost the most games in the Premier League (15) and I'm not sure you can do that and keep yourself up. This is a massive task for Roberto Martinez, probably a bigger one than last season.

"Still, Wigan started off the better side in this game and Petr Cech had to make a couple of decent saves from Franco Di Santo and Shaun Maloney, while once the visitors pulled it back to 2-1, they looked right in the match - until Chelsea's two late goals, scored by Frank Lampard and Marko Marin.

"Rafa Benitez would have been a little bit concerned early on but the first Chelsea goal, a lovely one made by David Luiz and Fernando Torres and finished by Ramires, settled them down. They grew into the game then and when they got the second goal you thought it could be any score, so credit to Wigan for showing some fight."

Paul Merson on why Julio Cesar will want to forget his afternoon in Swansea

Swansea 4-1 QPR: Read our match report here

"Julio Cesar has been outstanding since he got in the QPR team but he had an off-day and was probably at fault for the first two goals (which came in the first 18 minutes) with his parries from initial saves falling straight back to Swansea players and allowing them to score - and Swansea dominated the first half after that.

"Bobby Zamora came on at half time for QPR and scored two minutes later, and you thought it was game on, but two minutes later, Swansea went down the other end and made it 3-1 through Pablo Hernandez - and once again I thought Cesar should have done better. That knocked the stuffing out of Rangers and Swansea then added a typical pass-pass-pass goal through Michu later on.

"For QPR, though, Zamora is nearer match fitness and if he stays fit and works with Loic Remy - I think Harry Redknapp will gamble and play them together - and the box-of-tricks Adel Taarabt, I think they still have a chance of staying up. The bad thing for them is they are out of the FA Cup and haven't got a game next week, so they really need to play a friendly and get some players, like Chris Samba, fit."

Phil Thompson on two goalkeeping star turns at the Stadium of Light

Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal: Read our match report here

"Both goalkeepers were amazing in this game: Simon Mignolet kept Arsenal at bay in the first half when the Gunners were absolutely fantastic and had Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta playing little triangle, while Wojciech Szczesny made some stunning saves in the second from Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson.

"Sunderland were fantastic in the second period but Bacary Sagna, playing at centre-half with Per Mertesacker for Arsenal, had his best game of the season, while Olivier Giroud was heading balls away from under his own crossbar. Nacho Monreal did alright, too, though I'm still not sure about him defensively.

"Arsenal can have no complaints about Carl Jenkinson's sending off for two yellow cards, but they will be worried about Wilshere picking up what looks like either a thigh or hamstring strain which could take him out (for a while), but he didn't look too perturbed by it when he came on the pitch at the end to celebrate."

Charlie Nicholas on how the last half-hour lit up a dour clash at the Britannia

Stoke 2-1 Reading: Read our match report here

"The game didn't really get going until the last 25 minutes when Robert Huth opened the scoring with a bullet header from a corner and then Cameron Jerome made it two with lovely finish after 81 minutes - but Reading, who had shown very little all day, did what they do and came back: Adrian Mariappa scored a header and Adam Le Fondre could have had a penalty late on when he was challenged clumsily by Ryan Shotton.

"It was the quietest I've heard Stoke's supporters in some time. They are usually really vocal but got a bit frustrated today by the lack of quality; Jonathan Walters has been the main man up front but he had probably had his poorest game of the season and didn't show his usual hard work.

"And for Reading, new signing Nick Blackman, who played to the left of main striker Pavel Pogrebnyak, struggled - but so did the whole of the team; Jimmy Kebe has been good lately but he was falling over the ball. It wasn't Reading's day but a draw would have been a fair result."

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