First half goals from Mikel Arteta and Thomas Vermaelen put the Gunners in control of the game and from then they never looked like losing as Wigan struggled to get back into the game. The Gunners controlled the majority of the match and extended their lead further through Gervinho on the hour mark and Robin Van Persie with 11 minutes remaining to seal all three points.
Franco Di Santo’s late winner against Sunderland was not enough to earn him a place in the starting line-up for Wigan as manager Roberto Martinez named an unchanged line-up. Conor Sammon continued to lead the line for the Latics with Victor Moses and Jordi Gomez tasked with supporting him attack.
Arsene Wenger made two changes to the side who were held by Fulham, Laurent Koscielny and Gervinho are recalled in place of Johan Djourou and Andrey Arshavin. Youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s performance against Manchester City in the Carling Cup earned him a place on the subs bench.
Both sides started the game confidently with some neat passing but the first chance of the game fell to the home side in the sixth minute. Conor Sammon controlled a long ball from Steve Gohouri, the Scot found David Jones on the left and he delivered a dangerous cross into the penalty area. Wojciech Szczesny could only palm the ball into the path of Jordi Gomez, the Spaniard looked certain to score from 10 yards with an open goal in front of him but his effort deflected off Andre Santos for a corner.
The game had been fairly even for the opening 25 minutes but the deadlock was finally broken as Arteta fired a long range shot past Ali Al Habsi. Vermaelen broke out of defence before finding the Spaniard inside the Wigan half, Diame failed to close down the midfielder quickly enough and Arteta lashed the ball into the net from 25 yards. Al Habsi will have felt he could’ve done better though as the ball seemed to fly through his hands as he dived to his right.
Minutes later the Gunners delivered another blow to Wigan as they doubled through Vermaelen. The visitors were awarded a corner on the right wing, Van Persie fired the ball in and Vermaelen rose above Caldwell and Sammon to head home at the back post.
Having conceded two goals so quickly Wigan were shell shocked and Arsenal very nearly extended their lead in the 34th minute through Van Persie. Gervinho set off on a mazy run down the left wing, he then found Van Persie on the edge of the penalty area but the Dutchman’s left foot shot was saved by Al Habsi diving to his left.
Deadlock broken| Arteta fires Arsenal into the lead
The visitors began the second half as they finished the first, in total control. And five minutes into the second period they should have been awarded a penalty for a pull on Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman combined with Van Persie but appeared to be pulled back by Steve Gohouri but referee Mark Clattenburg turned away the Gunners appeals.
Seconds later Wigan broke on the counter attack through Ronnie Stam, he found Victor Moses who managed to wriggle free in the area but his cross was too powerful for Sammon to get on the end of and the chance was gone.
On the hour Arsenal extended their lead through the busy Gervinho. Van Persie broke into the Wigan penalty area on the left hand side, he wriggled free of two defenders but his right foot shot was well saved by Al Habsi. However the keeper could only palm the ball into the path of Gervinho and he fired the ball into the empty net.
With the game drifting towards its conclusion Arsenal added a fourth goal with 11 minutes remaining through Van Persie. Walcott beat Caldwell to a through ball before rolling the ball back to the Dutchman who made no mistake from 12 yards and begin the mass exodus of Wigan fans.
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