Eboue Cheats and then Taunts 12 Wigan Supporters

VermaelenArsenal rebounded from their two defeats in Manchester this weekend with a resounding 4-nil victory over Wigan at the Emirates. It was a cakewalk really and Martinez’s side never looked like they might come away with anything for their troubles. Arsenal created boatloads of chances and, but for better finishing from Eboue and van Persie, could easily have scored 7. But the misses don’t matter in 4-nil victories.

Though they probably matter to van Persie as the football gods refused to let him score on the day. He continually got himself into scoring positions and, by the end, when he totally whiffed on a shot in the box, it was almost comical. On the other side of the spectrum, our new gem continues to impress with each match. Vermaelen showed his leaping ability once again with the opening goal and then made it 2-nil with a delightful chip just inside the box minutes after the restart.

Almost as soon as the final whistle blew, the media immediately began their weekly post-match Arsenal witchhunt. This time Eboue was the target. After a quality volley by Eduardo came back off the post he stepped up to a loose ball in the box and smashed it towards the goal. The shot took a deflection off Eboue’s leg but looked destined for the net anyway. Eduardo peeled off to the near-side celebrating while Eboue went the other way doing the same. Eduardo turned around and, when he realized what had happened, put his hands up and had a laugh. The whole team came together smiling and laughing about the mix-up.

However, the media tried to claim that Eboue took off to celebrate in front of the Wigan fans, “just like Adebayor” did to the Arsenal fans at City. You have got to be kidding me! That is the best they can do. First of all, the misunderstanding was understood by everyone in the stadium and on television.

Second, why would Eboue care to celebrate the third goal in an eventual 4-nil victory over Wigan, of all sides, in front of the 15 supporters they had left at the Emirates? Even Wenger looked highly annoyed and bemused when the question was posed to him in his post-match press conference. The Sun then called Eboue “a cheat” for his handball in the box for which he was carded. Has it really come to this?

What Wenger was really upset about though was the fact that repeated rough challenges by Wigan went unpunished by the referee. It’s clear that Arsene, and many supporters, feel that the club is not being treated fairly on the pitch and in the media. And anyone who thinks it is just paranoia on the part of Wenger and the fans would do well to remind themselves that just because someone is paranoid doesn’t mean no one is out to get them.

Another theme to come out of the match is the lack of atmosphere at the Emirates. How many times do we have to hear this? On the Setanta broadcast at half-time, they isolated a few videos of older gentlemen in the crowd standing and applauding after Vermaelen’s goal and Pat Dolan, of all people, made fun of them for not being enthusiastic enough. What does he want a 50-year old man to do? Take his shirt off? Leap up and down like a 15-year old? Give me a break, Pat. The man is insufferably anti-Arsenal and taking cheap shots at the supporters is just low-class stuff.

Finally, I couldn’t end the reflections on the match without addressing the issue of the “sullen Cesc.” Talk about blowing things out of proportion. Apparently, because Cesc didn’t run the length of the pitch celebrating a 4th goal in stoppage time of a 4-nil win against Wigan, it means that his head has been turned by Barcelona this summer or any of half a dozen other equally outlandish suggestions floating around the blogosphere.

Cesc is the captain and he leads by example. Showing up an opponent who has been beaten and beaten down all afternoon is a bit unsportsmanlike even though it goes on all the time. Cesc has chosen a different way and its best that we all let him become the captain that he wants to be.