Latics started off very bright and even started to dominate the game a bit, but as time went on and the referee started to disrupt the play, it was quite obvious he was giving a lot of the minor decisions the way of Arsenal.
The first half started off with the hosts scoring but the assistant’s flag went up for off side and that was only break we were going to be given for the rest of the game as time after time we seemed to penalised for 50/50 challenges.
The first goal went Arsenal’s way just before half time and being honest was their only opportunity of the half. Alcaraz was fouled into giving the corner in the first place and then ended up being the goal scorer after Walcott swung the kick in.
We had great opportunities to score ourselves, but the frustration was evident as we chose to take too many touches instead of shooting. Watson was having a decent game and when we needed a bit of help Al Habsi was there to sure up at the back.
Watson was one of those guilty of trying to take one too many touches when he had sight of goal and it seemed that they were almost scared to shoot. With the amount of play we had we should have had more to show for it.
The own goal we couldn’t do anything about, but it was the relentless decisions going against us that saw us crumble and for once I saw the players’ reactions and thought to myself, “What is the point?”. They looked to have the same thought going through their heads as well, as any little dive or whinge got a reaction from the ref.
Every time we got hustled off the ball, play went on, as it should. It seemed that every time the same was reversed, Arsenal got a free kick. The straw that broke the camel’s back though was when Moses got sandwiched between two Arsenal players.
Victor went down in a heap (later we found he suffered a dislocated shoulder) and the ref waved play on, yet Thomas fairly tackled Nasri and was penalised with a yellow card just seconds later.
The players just looked at each other shrugging their shoulders as Moses was stretchered off and there was no way back, their heads had gone. The fans were the same, we couldn’t see how we could get anything from it. They went on to score again and we come home wondering why the hell we bother.
You have to question sometimes what the mentality is in these refs, but whatever is going on they need to sort their corner and quick.
I have to give a special mention to the 25 or so Oman supporters that came down to see Ali Al Habsi play; they were great and got behind their player and our team. It is just a pity they were subjected to what they saw tonight.