Wigan Athletic put in a really strong display after Charles N’Zogbia shamefully got himself sent off for head butting, his team mates though went on to pull off a well deserved draw.

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE – DW STADIUM – Wednesday 29th December 2010

Watson 18 (pen)
Squillaci 81 og

Arshavin 39
Bedntner 44

Referee Lee Probert dumbfounded the DW Stadium crowd by seemingly having an anything goes attitude to the mistimed challenges and diving by Arsenal, well until Caldwell did it.

Arsenal was given every opportunity in this game to win it, but a resilient Latics would not let the baffling lack of cards shown to Arsenal bring them down and we walked away with a very well earned point.

A sour point for us was when Charles N’Zogbia was sent off for head butting Wilshere, there was no need and it could well have cost us the game.

Latics started off the brighter and could well have celebrated a goal twice in the first ten minutes. Both N’Zogbia and Rodallega had great chances and but for a bit more calmness in front of goal could have got us off to a dream start.

We did carry on the pressure and after another fine save from Fabianski to stop N’Zogbia at the near post, the Frenchman was yet again put through and after jinking his way past Sagna and Koscielny, the latter threw out his leg and felled the winger in the box.

It was dubious whether he was last man but even so, the Arsenal defender should at least have received a yellow card, but the referee just gave the penalty. Ben Watson held his nerve as he slotted the spot kick past the Gunner’s stopper.

This spurred the visitors on a bit and with the help of Probert giving countless free kicks their way it seemed only a matter of time before they would equalise.

It came less than ten minutes to the break as Al Habsi pulled off a great save from Bendtner only for the rebound to fall at his team mates boots, Arshavin magnificently scissor kicked the ball back past the helpless Habsi.

We were to be confounded again just a minute before half time as a nothing ball was put through by Arshavin, it bounced off Bendtner’s shins against two defenders and somehow landed back at his feet for an easy finish.

Hugo Rodallega did have the final say of the first period, his shot was superbly saved and we got nothing from the corner, we went in 2-1 down and wondering what had happened.

Arsenal had a bit more or of the early exchanges in the second half and Al Habsi, if we didn’t know already, showed why we need to get him signed permanently. Denilson twice, the ineffective Chamakh and Sagna all were denied by the Oman stopper.

We were limited to very few chances, but Thomas, Rodallega and Gouhouri all went close to getting our equaliser. Charles N’Zogbia had the best chance of the half and but for an awesome save from the Arsenal keeper would have got it to 2-2.

N’Zogbia was then hacked down by Wilshere (unpunished again), the kid kept on at the French winger and he stupidly bit and motioned his head towards the youngster and of course he went down like a pile of you know what.

After a straight red it looked like we would end up with nothing, but the lads pressed on and with ten minutes keft got a corner which was swung in to the far post, Rodallega headed it back and Squillaci under pressure from Caldwell turned the ball into his own goal.

We soaked up the rest of the half to take a share of the points. But if I have said it once I have said it a thousand times, referees decisions change games. Had the ref dished cards out for some of the ridiculous challenges of some of the opposition, things would have been very different.

Had Koscielny been booked (or sent off) the back line would have had to be more careful, Sagna could have had three or four yellows for his dangerous play. God knows how many of them should have been done for diving, Bedntner should be on his countries diving team.

Wilshere should have at least had a word from the ref never mind a yellow from the foul that led to N’Zogbia’s red, Charles would then have been nowhere near the player to be antagonised.

All in all we would have been happy with a draw at the start and I think we are, but if the officials would have stood up to the gunners, it could have been so much different, unfortunately we’ll never know.

Roll on Newcastle this Sunday, come on lads and lasses get down there and get behind the lads, this is another really big game for us.

Cockney Latic Man of the Match: Steve Gouhouri
Referee: Lee Probert (Gloucestershire)
Attendance: 17,901
26 Ali Al Habsi 21 Lukasz Fabianski
23 Ronnie Stam 3 Bacary Sagna
5 Gary Caldwell 6 Laurent Koscielny
2 Steve Gohouri 18 Sebastien Squillaci
3 Antolin Alcaraz 27 Emmanuel Eboue
27 Mohamed Diame 15 Denilson
10 Charles N’Zogbia 2 Abou Diaby
15 Tom Cleverley 29 Marouane Chamakh
20 Hugo Rodallega 52 Nicklas Bendtner
6 Hendry Thomas 7 Tomas Rosicky
8 Ben Watson 23 Andrey Arshavin
12 Mike Pollitt 53 Wojciech Szczesny
3 Antolin Alcaraz 22 Gael Clichy
31 Maynor Figueroa 20 Johan Djourou
16 James McArthur 19 Jack Wilshere
14 Jordi Gomez 14 Theo Walcott
38 Callum McManaman 11 Carlos Vela
9 Mauro Boselli 8 Samir Nasri
18′ Goal Ben Watson (pen)
27′ Player Off Emmanuel Eboue
Player On Jack Wilshere
39′ Goal Andre Arshavin
44′ Goal Nicklas Bedntner
72′ Player Off Mohammed Diame
Player On James McArthur
74′ Yellow Card Gary Caldwell
78′ Red Card Charles N’Zogbia
81′ Goal Sebastien Squillaci (og)
82′ Player Off Andre Arshavin
Player On Samir Nasri
82′ Player Off Jack Wilshere
Player On Theo Walcott
85′ Player Off Ronnie Stam
Player On Maynor Figueroa

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