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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
April 16, 2012
• 3:00 PM
• Emirates Stadium, London
Referee: A. Marriner
• Attendance: 60060
T. Vermaelen 21'
F. Di Santo 7'
Jordi Gómez 8'
Well, well. A brilliant game. Thanks for joining me for it. Stick with Goal.com for all the reaction as it comes in!
How's this for a stat? Wigan have just become the first Premier League side since Southampton in 2001 to beat Manchester United and Arsenal in consecutive games.
Robin van Persie is furious about something and he ends the game squaring up to Wigan players in a foul mood, but it won't dampen their cheer. That is a thoroughly deserved result. It really has been an incredible performance from the Latics. As it stands, they are going to survive the drop yet again.
THAT'S IT! FULL-TIME! WOW!
90' + 5'
The last chance - OH MY! Robin van Persie suddenly has it in the Wigan area, but his touch on the end of the long pass is uncharacteristically heavy and Ali Al-Habsi snaps it up!
90' + 4'
Yellow Card James McArthur
90' + 4'
Arsenal aren't building that late fightback in injury time that they need - but wait, here comes Rosicky ... no. James McArthur takes a booking as he knocks him over. Cynical, but understandable.
90' + 3'
A crowd of Wigan players force Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain off the ball. It's superb teamwork, dogged and determined.
90' + 3'
He may well have earned his side more time to weather than would have been if he'd just kicked it, to be honest, but Wigan have it in the Arsenal half. Boyce tries to hold it at the corner flag but falls and it's out for a goal kick.
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Ali Al Habsi
90' + 2'
Ali Al Habsi earns a yellow as he dwells over a deep free kick. I suspect he won't mind.
Diame draws a foul and we're through the 90 minutes with the free kick. FIVE MINUTES added on, though.
Aaron Ramsey tries to flick a cross in from the inside-right, but Gary Caldwell, who, like all his team-mates, has been immense, heads away firmly.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain surges forward from deep but his attempted through-ball does not appear to be to anyone in particular. Wigan have it back.
Our man Joe Doyle checks in from the Emirates Stadium: "Arsenal fans are starting to leave already, not something I would condone with their team's knack of scoring late goals and Wigan's propensity for conceding them recently."
Jordi Gomez's goal might have been enough for Wigan today and he is replaced by Mohamed Diame. It's close now for Roberto Martinez ...
Arsenal are furious. They think Maynor Figueroa has brought down Theo Walcott as he races onto a through-ball in the inside-right channel. My first instinct was that it was a foul, but Andre Marriner disagrees.
Television cameras are gleefully highlighting Wigan fans checking their watches ...
Jean Beausejour passes straight to a red shirt in an advanced position and Arsenal gratefully accept the invitation to attack. Robin van Persie is found in the area by Sagna's cross but Maynor Figueroa heroically throws himself in the way and does enough to put the Dutchman off.
Conor Sammon thinks there should have been a handball given against Thomas Vermaelen outside the Arsenal area but Andre Marriner is close by and says no. The Gunners push forward as a result but Wigan break just as quickly. Sammon's on the left. He holds it up by the corner and Arsenal can't get it away, the defender eventually giving it back to the Latics. Great cameo this from Sammon.
Gervinho's been energetic since coming on and he's unlucky as his attempt to slip Andre Santos through in the box is just snuffed out.
It seems insane that this game might only have three goals in it, really. You could still see one going in at either end, but it's Wigan on the defensive right now.
Great strength from Conor Sammon as he holds the ball up in his half, fighting off Arsenal and winning a free kick to relieve some pressure.
Hearts in mouths for Wigan as Gervinho's frantic cross fizzes across the goalmouth with nobody pouncing. Arsenal pushing hard.
Franco Di Santo
Franco Di Santo is getting the Arsenal defenders annoyed with his physicality but he has been brilliant tonight, causing heaps of problems. He's withdrawn after a great shift, sharing some choice words with a few Gunners as he goes, as Conor Sammon replaces him up top.
...and it's Johan Djourou who comes off. Big move from Wenger - you can't argue that Arsenal don't need to go for broke, but Wigan definitely have the capacity to hurt an undermanned defence.
Yellow Card Alex Song
Alex Song goes into the book as he brings down McCarthy as Arsene Wenger readies Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain...
Arsenal push well for a corner but Wigan are able to break. Victor Moses is the man on the ball down the left and he tries to pick out Jordi Gomez on the far side of the box, but the Spaniard can't control a difficult chance on the volley. It's high.
Fantastic defensive work from Gervinho as he fights tooth-and-nail to rob Emmerson Boyce down the Wigan right. One for the scrapbook, that moment.
Nice attacking play from Arsenal as Robin van Persie pulls away with expert timing to lose his marker and take down a high pass. His pass for Bacary Sagna overlapping is not quite right, though the Frenchman still gets the cross in, but it's not met perfectly.
This half threatened to be all Arsenal's at the start but it's in fact been quite even. Both sides are attacking when they have the ball and either one could score at any moment, you feel. This is simply a thrilling football match.
They're both back up, and Sagna nearly has a moment of trouble as he heads away a long ball under pressure - but it falls just briefly for Franco Di Santo. He's unable to get more than a corner, though, and Jordi Gomez's header goes over.
There's a nasty clash of heads as Franco Di Santo and Bacary Sagna crash together in jumping for a cross. No guilty party there, but both have taken hefty blows.
As Yossi Benayoun is substituted off, Joe Doyle reports from the Emirates: "Gervinho set to come on. One Arsenal fan is already incensed: 'What are you doing, Wenger?! Why isn't it Chamberlain?!'"
Yellow Card Gary Caldwell
What a chance! Maynor Figueroa's excellent long throw takes Arsenal by surprise and Victor Moses battles through two defenders to get clean on goal! He's a little way out and has time to take another touch but shoots early and it's straight at Szczesny. A letdown there from a brilliant opportunity.
Delicious sliding interception from Maynor Figueroa to cut out the start of an attack down the Arsenal right. Wigan are so full of inspiration and fight tonight, it's really heartening to see as a neutral. The Gunners go close, though! Rosicky's on the left and cuts it back in to the near post, but Andre Santos' snatched close-range shot is out. Should have done better, I think.
More scintillating work from Victor Moses. He is more full of confidence tonight than I've ever seen him and he breezes past two men to force a corner, though it's not made use of.
Arsenal's corner after Yossi Benayoun's cut-and-shot is deflected behind, but Thomas Vermaelen can't get the header down as he meets Robin van Persie's delivery. Ali Al Habsi possibly did just enough to force the defender's aim high.
Victor Moses causing trouble again! He skins Bacary Sagna once more and turns to shoot at goal. It's well-parried by Wojciech Szczesny but just thrilling stuff from the young Wigan star.
Arsenal get a free kick when Jordi Gomez commits a clumsy foul, but they give it up too easily and Wigan have it back. The Latics will be grateful for loose build-up like that, as they'll have plenty to soak up this evening.
Victor Moses, whose turn to set up the second Wigan turn was just delightful, let me tell you, is on the prowl but Johan Djourou shuts him down.
That had to go in, surely! Arsenal careered forward right away and Andre Santos shoots - it's blocked, Van Persie after the rebound, but not quite. Could be a lot of this for the next 45 minutes.
We're back on for the second half. Would that it were as exciting as the first.
"What would this surprise result do to the Premier League table?" I hear you ask, and what an excellent question that is. As things stand, Wigan are moving up into 16th, which would see them above the drop-zone even if Bolton were to win their two games in hand. Arsenal would stay third, but Spurs would be able to close the gap to just two points.
A little more from Joe Doyle: "Arsenal have been on the front foot for much of this first half, but really were caught off the pace in the opening stages, with Wigan coming out of the blocks frantically. Roberto Martinez's 3-4-3 formation is working a treat in nullifying the Arsenal attack, but the home fans are taking umbrage with what they perceive to be frequent timewasting by the visitors."
We've got our man Joe Doyle at the Emirates Stadium tonight, by the way, and he notes: "Arsene Wenger asked the fans in his programme notes to help the team to three points, but they were shocked into silence in the opening eight minutes as Wigan raced to a stunning two-goal lead."
Cor. Erm, anyway. Hello there and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE! play-by-play commentary of Arsenal - Wigan in the Premier League. I was going to say that six or seven minutes in as I recovered from those technical issues, but, well, you read what happened. Mental.
45' + 3'
Nearly even further behind! A poor clearance deep from an Arsenal defender allows Jordi Gomez to get forward with sight of goal, but the Spaniard is too eager to shoot and it's wayward. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is half-time. Phew.
45' + 2'
Alex Song has supplied some great through-balls this season but he overhits his effort this time and it's out for a goal kick. Looks like the Gunners will be behind at the brteak.
Three extra minutes at the Emirates.
Maynor Figueroa is a touch too eager as he races out to try to nick it from Rosicky but he doesn't get there and knocks him over, conceding a free kick in a decent position out on the Arsenal right. Van Persie weighs it up but his flighted effort is comfortably unthreatening.
Some delicious forward play from Wigan! Antolin Alcaraz brings the ball out of defence with intent and passes to Victor Moses. The youngster has been really dynamic so far and plays in Franco Di Santo with a first-time, flicked pass. The striker nearly battles through the Gunners defence but he's just stopped.
Johan Djourou is penalised for handball in his own half under pressure from Franco Di Santo before Theo Walcott is judged to have conceded a foul moments later. Just the faintest hint of frustration now from Arsenal.
Wigan win the ball in midfield and Maynor Figueroa breaks menacingly through from the left ... they carry on with Franco Di Santo played in on the right. The Argentine's low cross seeks Moses - but there's a crucial interception by an Arsenal defender.
Tomas Rosicky, really superb so far after picking up his Player of the Month award before the game, scampers around the right-hand edge of the area before trying to lift his cross in - he's just gone slightly too far and it floats onto the top of the net.
Real or not? We'll not know but that small moment of rest must have been quite a relief for Wigan. Arsene Wenger certainly wasn't happy about it.
Yellow Card Bacary Sagna
Bacary Sagna hurtles after a Victor Moses in full flow. He pulls him back from behind and the Nigerian is toppled, requiring medical attention, but it wasn't malicious. The yellow card is perhaps slightly harsh, but you could argue either way really.
It results in a corner, taken shortish to Andre Santos on the edge of the area. The Brazilian jinks inside on his right foot and tries to curl a shot into the top corner, but it's too far over.
The Latics pass it around the defence and midfield, trying to settle it down, but some good pressing from Arsenal forces them into a loose one and the Gunners build again. Wigan mass their ranks to defend and Emmerson Boyce dispossesses Robin van Persie with great skill in the area.
Oops. Jean Baeusejour, faced by Bacary Sagna on the left of his own half, tries to hoick the ball over him but fails, giving it straight to Arsenal - he's lucky that they don't make more of the chance.
It was James McCarthy's loose ball that caused that chance. Wigan may not necessarily feel like they're in front considering Arsenal's response here, but if they're to turn this wonderful position into vital, vital points, they need to slow the play down somewhat.
Arsenal close to an equaliser again. Just as I was writing that Wigan need to calm things down, a lose pass sets Tomas Rosicky free with Robin van Persie in support. He supplies the captain who, perhaps suprisingly, opts to return the pass, and Rosicky then blazes over as he falls to the floor.
SO CLOSE! Johan Djourou looks to become the second centre-back to score for Arsenal tonight. Gary Caldwell heads somewhat meekly away from the area and the Swiss is there to meet it. His shot, driven powerfully low to the left, is about as close to the post as you can get without hitting it.
Absolutely deserved from Arsenal. Their response to going two behind has been first-class, and they have their tails up now. Robin van Persie tests Ali Al Habsi with a swerving long-range effort, which the Omani tips over once again.
Assist Tomas Rosicky
Goal Thomas Vermaelen
GOAL! Great reply from Arsenal. It's Tomas Rosicky - who else, after this start? - who drives the cross in from the right after the corner is defended, and Thomas Vermaelen remains up to power an unstoppable header past Al Habsi. Game on, eh?
Arsenal, to their credit, have not gone into their shells after that double-barreled sucker-punch. Aaron Ramsey takes aim from a way out but his effort is quickly deflected away from harm. A moment later, Maynor Figueroa concedes another corner on the Gunners' right.
Andre Santos breaks into the area on the left - Rosicky's pass again - but his first-time shot is blocked with great instinct from Antolin Alcaraz. Breathless start to this match.
It was Rosicky's cross for that Benayoun chance, there. The Czech is in a creative mood.
What a save from Ali Al Habsi! Another header from Yossi Benayoun (the strangest thing about this game so far?) and the Omani leaps stunningly to put it out for a corner. Incredible jump.
Tomas Rosicky's great pass plays Robin van Persie onside thanks to a Wigan man deep on the left, and the Dutchman is briefly through with sight of goal, but his angle closes quickly.
Wigan, in a position beyond anything they could have imagined, are strutting about with understandable confidence. Arsenal, shellshocked, are looking to respond. Sagna, who was at fault for the second goal at least, looks to continue as a key attacking outlet down the right, though his cross this time finds no-one.
In all of that mess, Mikel Arteta has had to go off injured. We're not yet sure exactly why, but one thing's for sure - this game got really interesting, really quickly.
Goal Jordi Gómez
GOAL! What is going on? Arsenal are in an almighty mess! Some shambolic defending with Sagna just allowing a low cross to come in from the left of the area. Szczesny tries to grab it from in front of Jordi Gomez's feet but he is unluckily not able to stop it from sneaking out, and the Spaniard pokes home for 2-0! Unbelievable stuff!
Assist Jordi Gómez
Goal Franco Di Santo
GOAL! Comedy of errors by Arsenal! The resulting corner is a reeking stinker which is headed away ahead of the near post. An Arsenal head then knocks it back towards the area but it's into the path of a Wigan man, and the Latics launch a fine counterattack. Franco Di Santo finishes the move off, and - WHOA!
Ooooh! The Gunners press with Bacary Sagna on the right flank. He whips in a tasty cross for Yossi Benayoun, of all people, to head with purpose in the middle of the six-yard box. It's tipped over!
Wigan: Al Habsi; Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa; Boyce, McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour; Moses, Di Santo, Gomez.. Subs: Pollitt, Watson, McManaman, Sammon, Jones, Diame, Stam.
Arsenal have a free kick in a tempting position to the left of centre. Mikel Arteta is standing over it but he thwacks it lamely into the midriff of someone in the Wigan wall. Waste.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Vermaelen, Djourou, Santos; Song, Arteta, Rosicky; Benayoun, Walcott, Van Persie. Subs: Fabianski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Squillaci, Gervinho, Gibbs, Chamakh.
Thomas Vermaelen gets forward from defence and tries his luck, swiping a low shot not too far wide of the right post.
The game is underway at the Emirates Stadium. Sorry for some technical issues starting the LIVE! commentary - I'll give you the teams right away.
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