Arsenal’s lone summer signing Thomas Vermaelen continues to impress in his initial performances with the club, as the Belgian defender scored two goals to lead the Gunners to a 4-0 win over Wigan at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Emmanuel Eboue and Cesc Fabregas were the other goal scorers for Arsenal, who returned to Premier League action just three days after a dramatic comeback victory at Standard Liege in midweek Champions League play and produced a more comfortable and commanding performance in the home win.
After some missed chances on goal for the Gunners early in the opening period, Vermaelen’s impressive header off a Robin van Persie corner opened the scoring in minute 25. And while van Persie and Eboue had clear opportunities to extend the lead before the half, both failed to find the net.
The Gunners continued their dominance after the break, and the lead was doubled before the 50-minute mark. Vermaelen controlled a loose Wigan pass and after a nice exchange with Eboue curled a beautiful shot past keeper Chris Kirkland into the corner of the net. The finish worthy of a striker gave the former Ajax man his fourth goal of the season, which amazingly leads the team thus far this season.
More Arsenal pressure minutes later produced the third goal. An Eduardo da Silva volley off a Gael Clichy cross hit the post, and the rebound fell to the Croatian who fired through a crowded box and into the net. While Eduardo headed toward one corner to celebrate, Eboue sprinted to the other as he claimed the goal, and replays did show that the ball deflected off the Ivorian’s leg on its way into the net.
With the match result thus determined before the hour mark, the only question was what the final score would be. Alex Song almost got on the scoresheet with a fine effort of his own after an interception, but his left-footed shot struck the post. And van Persie had another effort denied, as the Dutch striker missed out on a number of chances throughout the match.
Arsenal’s fourth came in the final minute, as Fabregas tapped home a cross from substitute Nicklas Bendtner just before stoppage time. The win ended the Gunners’ two-game losing streak in the league, moving them into seventh place in the Premiership table while holding a game in hand on most of its competitors.
Arsenal has now scored 17 goals in its five league matches, a fact that pleases Arsene Wenger. “What is good since the beginning of the season is that we have scored goals. We scored four today but we could have scored more.
“Even in the away games – Man United and Man City – we could have scored more. That shows we have the potential,” continued the manager, whose post-match comments included his thoughts on Vermaelen’s progress in his short time with the club. “I thought he could adapt quickly but not as quickly as that. Let’s be honest.”
In addition to the goals from the Belgian defender, Wenger is also happy with the central defensive partnership that Vermaelen is forming with William Gallas, as the Wigan win marked the first clean sheet for Arsenal this season.
“It is good for the confidence of the team that we did not concede today. It is little bit of the price to pay for our style of play,” said Wenger in an interview on arsenal.com. “We had maybe ten chances today and gave two away. But I think we’ll be more and more solid when we get used to the way we want to play.”