The Latics secured their third win on the road with a late McArthur strike to take the bragging rights over their Lancashire rival.
The visiting side dominated possession in a game that lacked a lot of quality but was full of hard work and determination. Gary Caldwell gave the Latics the lead in the 43rd minute as he rose above David Wheater to head past Adam Bogdan. The home side equalized through a wonder strike from Mark Davies just after the hour mark, but a James McArthur tap in with 14 minutes to go won the game for the visiting side which takes bragging rights over its local rival.
With 14 minutes played the game had its first real opening for the visiting side as it broke on the counter attack after a Bolton chance had been wasted. Franco Di Santo nodded down a long ball from Emmerson Boyce to James McCarthy. The Irishman spread the ball to Victor Moses on the left wing where he twisted and turned his way into the penalty area but his left foot shot hit the side netting.
The half struggled after the lively opening quarter with neither side threatening the goal despite some nice build-up play in the middle of the pitch. However, with seconds of the first half remaining the visiting side took the lead from a set piece after some shocking marking from Bolton’s David Wheater. A corner came in from the left side and Caldwell rose above Wheater to head past Adam Bogdan from five yards to send the visiting support wild.
Bolton got back into the game in the 67th minute through Davies. A long ball from Adam Bogdan struck David Ngog on the back and fell perfectly to Davies who fired a left foot pile driver into the top corner giving Ali Al Habsi no chance.
However the home side was only level for nine minutes as the Wigan retook the lead following a lethal counterattack. Substitute Hugo Rodallega combined with Moses on the left and the winger raced towards goal. His shot was parried by Bogdan but the ball fell right into the path of McArthur who made no mistake from five yards.
With the game nearing its conclusion the home side thought it had leveled but Al Habsi made a fantastic save from substitute Ryo Miyaichi.