Apr 16, 2012, 5:30 PM EST
Man of the match: Playing as the middle-man in Wigan’s narrow, deep, three-man central defense, Gary Caldwell was not only the Latics’ best defender but also the man that kept the team organized. Given a game plan that was always going to put a lot of pressure on him and his teammates, Caldwell was calm, poised, and able to radiate that presence throughout the defense.
Packaged for takeaway:
- OMG! Shock! Well, kinda. The win was Wigan’s fourth in five and seems part of the late-season push we should expect from Roberto Martínez’s teams. During this one they’ve gotten wins from Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal. Should we really be that shocked?
- Arsenal was certainly shocked when Wigan went up within 10 minutes, as were onlookers by Gunners’ defending. A text book counterattack allowed the Latics to score their first goal, but the key to a that kind of transition is your opponent opening up. On the second goal, Victor Moses was able to collapse the right side of Arsenal’s defense and, eventually, feed an easy ball into the six for Jordi Gómez.
- When Arsenal soon responded through Thomas Vermaelen it looked like we were in for a shootout, but Wigan seemed to adjust. Through the first 20 minutes Wigan’s midfield played very deep and refrained from putting in a challenges that could see them beat. After the goal, the midfield (particularly, James McArthur and Jamie McCarthy) got more aggressive.
- Even before Wigan’s midfield toughened up, Arsenal’s only success was playing crosses into the box. Their goal came off a cross, while Yossi Benayoun went close a couple of times by out-jumping Antolín Alcaraz. Curiously, Arsenal stopped doing this and even (eventually) took Benayoun off. Predictably, they tried to break down Wigan while keeping the ball on the floor, an approach which never came that close to an equalizer.
- It’s matches like this that make people question Arsene Wenger’s in-game tactics. Disclaimer: He knows his team better than we do. However, why does Marouane Chamakh even dress if he’s not going to be used in this type of match? Particularly when playing in the air gave Arsenal their first goal and their best chances?
- Wigan is now five points clear of the drop and, more importantly, have a struggling team (QPR) between them and relegation. For Arsenal, they still have a five point lead on fourth and will be fine. Wigan’s shown they’re pretty good right now.
Dec 6, 2013, 9:58 PM EST
Cameras caught the main man of English soccer laughing and making a throat-slash gesture when England were selected into their devilish group.
Dec 6, 2013, 9:22 PM EST
Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales were all part of the 2009 MLS Cup winning side – and they are still on top of it all:
Dec 6, 2013, 8:46 PM EST
The Germans and Ghanans alike are ready to watch the Boateng brothers square off, and US nemesis Asamoah Gyan has vowed to escape into the knockout phase.
Dec 6, 2013, 8:10 PM EST
Where to watch all the games from Week 15, right here:
MLS Cup preview: Real Salt Lake meets Sporting Kansas City to decide Major League Soccer’s 18th championship
Dec 6, 2013, 7:33 PM EST
Two well-regarded American coaches, two super defenses and record cold temperatures are the dominant sub-plots:
Dec 6, 2013, 7:00 PM EST
Could one very hard-to-read Frenchman be the key to Real Salt Lake’s title chances?
Dec 6, 2013, 6:21 PM EST
Given the crippling equatorial heat in Manaus, England and Italy will lobby FIFA to build drinks breaks into matches. The United States is also set to play a match in the Amazonian city.
Dec 6, 2013, 5:45 PM EST
Two Best XI players and 2012′s Goalkeeper of the Year will be Sporting’s key men on Saturday.
Dec 6, 2013, 5:05 PM EST
The German boss smiled upon FIFA’s placement of his country with the United States. The rest of the country remains confident that the group stage is just the beginning for Germany.
Dec 6, 2013, 4:30 PM EST
Will the Three Lions roar to victory in Brazil? The answer is… probably not:
Dec 6, 2013, 4:29 PM EST
One team that could have not asked for a better World Cup draw is non other than two-time World Cup champion, Argentina. Being drawn into Group F with Bosnia, Iran, and Nigeria; the South Americans are already expected to have a place in the Round of 16 and even already in the quarterfinals since they…
Dec 6, 2013, 4:00 PM EST
If RSL’s number nine is healthy, this is an easy call. If not, Saturday’s visitors may still have the edge.
Dec 6, 2013, 3:46 PM EST
Star Cristiano Ronaldo, manager Paulo Bento, and former international Luis Figo all acknowledged Germany’s presence will make things difficult but remained hopeful of Portugal’s chances in the group.
Dec 6, 2013, 3:30 PM EST
The formations are different but the roles are similar for Sporting, RSL’s midfields.
Dec 6, 2013, 3:18 PM EST
Some of the massive games we can look forward to in the opening stages of the World Cup:
Dec 6, 2013, 2:59 PM EST
Real Salt Lake captain and USMNT midfielder, Kyle Beckerman, was caught by the media in the MLS World Cup Draw party in Kansas City. The holding midfielder sounded calm with a hint of resignation about the unkind USMNT World Cup draw that has put them against Portugal, Germany and Ghana on what many people claim to be this…
Dec 6, 2013, 2:47 PM EST
It’ll take a lot of work for any of CONCACAF’s four teams to find their way out of group play at the 2014 World Cup, though for some it will be easier than others.
Dec 6, 2013, 2:42 PM EST
The USMNT forward has shed some light, if vaguely, on what his immediate future might hold as he gears up for Brazil 2014.
Dec 6, 2013, 2:31 PM EST
Let’s break down Germany, Portugal and Ghana and how the U.S. may fare against them:
Dec 6, 2013, 2:20 PM EST
Not that he’ll ask us … but if he does, here’s what we have to say about how the roster should look:
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- USA’s World Cup opponents: What to expect from Germany, Portugal and Ghana 6
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- 2014 World Cup Draw: USA in Group of Death with Germany, Portugal, Ghana – Schedule, times, venues (14)