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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
December 22, 2012
• The DW Stadium, Wigan
Referee: J. Moss
• Attendance: 21754
Roberto Martinez, on the other hand, will bemoan his luck with injuries but the harsh reality is that, despite a promising start to the season, they find themselves in the bottom three at Christmas once again.
It's a massive three points for Arsenal taking them up to the hefty heights of third spot, for the time being at least. If the 5-2 win at Reading was Arsenal at their flowing best then this was definitely Wenger's side winning ugly. It feels like three points nicked but in a way it tells us more about this Arsenal side than we learned on Monday.
FULL-TIME: Wigan 0-1 Arsenal
90' + 4'
Big challenge from Koscielny on Gomez to deny the hosts one last chance at goal. The Gunners take the ball up the pitch and that should be that.
90' + 3'
CHANCE! Blimey! Wigan are turning it on in the dying minutes, McArthur sweeps an effort at goal from inside the box but sees it trickle painfully past the far post.
90' + 2'
90' + 1'
PENALTY SHOUT! Gomez again has another dig from range this time his shot hits Gibbs and Wigan appeal for handball but the referee is having none of it. Four minutes added on!
CHANCE! Jordi Gomez has a hopeful shot which takes a deflection and almost lands perfectly for Kone but Mertesacker reacts well to the danger to deny the Wigan striker by prodding the ball clear!
You can see the frustration etched across the Wigan players' faces as successive attacks peter out, they've given it a real go but have been poor in the final third.
Yellow Card Shaun Maloney
Wigan are making Arsenal earn these points late on. The much maligned Stam, cut inside for the first time in the match before laying it off for McArthur but his pass is rushed under pressure from Sagna and Arsenal survive the danger.
Figueroa likes a shot from range, but gets it wrong this time as he belts a half-volley over the bar from about 35 yards out.
I think Stam can hear me... The Dutchman just had his best moment of the game as he raced clear of Gibbs down the right before squaring a low cross into the box which Mertesacker cleared with Kone lurking behind him.
To be fair to Stam, he is still plugging away down the right channel. Arsenal meanwhile make their customary change as Podolski once again fails to last the 90 minutes, Coquelin comes on in his place as Wenger looks to seal all three points.
I think it's fair to say that Ronnie Stam has had a stinker. The Wigan full-back once again wastes a good crossing opportunity, provoking moans and groans from the frustrated Wigan supporters.
Franco Di Santo
Figueroa brings down Wilshere on the edge of the box as the England midfielder was about to slip in Podolski. Walcott wastefully fires the resulting free kick over the bar.
CLOSE! It's a superb strike from David Jones! Szczesny is rooted to the spot as the Wigan midfielder let fly from the edge of the box only to see his shot come cannoning back off the up-right.
Chance! Arouna Kone holds off Per Mertesacker and wrestles his way into the box before firing a right-footed shot at Szczesny from a tight angle, the Gunners' keeper does well to keep the Ivorian out.
Figueroa collects the ball about 30 yards out and almost gets lucky when his shot takes a huge deflection on its way to goal but Szczesny adjusts well to keep Wigan at bay.
BREAKING! That whole Di Santo situation was over his earring. You can't make this stuff up.
Meanwhile Arsenal could have gone two up against the ten men of Wigan. Theo Walcott jumped over Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross in the hope that it would fall to Jack Wilshere but Figueroa made a timely interception to deny the Gunners.
Not quite sure what is going on here. Di Santo has been hauled off the pitch for no apparent reason and is still waiting to come on! There is all sorts of bother down there with Martinez giving the fourth official an earful. Madness.
Wigan push forward looking for an instant reply as McCarthy drives through midfield but Beausejour's effort from wide on the left lacks accuracy and flies hopelessly wide.
Penalty Goal Mikel Amatrian Arteta
GOAL! Mikel Arteta sends the keeper the wrong way to bag his fourth goal of the season and give the Gunners a crucial lead!
PENALTY TO ARSENAL! Theo Walcott is brought down in the area by a clumsy challenge from Beausejour and Arsenal have a golden chance to take the lead!
Nervy moment for Arsenal as Gibbs chests back towards Szczesny with Di Santo bearing down on him, luckily for Arsenal the defender gets enough on his pass back.
Oxlade-Chamberlain beats his man with a step over or two on the right touchline and then fires a cross low in to the box but Maynor Figueroa does well to cut it out at the near post.
Oh dear. Stam attempts a cheeky back-heel in the Arsenal half but gets it horribly wrong and instead plays the ball off his own foot.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has his heel clipped and Arsenal are awarded a free kick about 30 yards from goal. Podolski has a go at goal but fails to lift his effort over the Wigan wall.
Great save! Oxlade-Chamberlain is played in behind Beausejour again and this time he picks out Walcott with his cut back but the Arsenal forward is denied by a superb reaction save from the Wigan shot-stopper. Arsenal definitely beginning to knock on the door.
Great play from Maloney. The Scot ran into the area vacated by Sagna as Arsenal broke forward but Mertersacker came across to make a challenge before the Wigan man could fire off a shot.
Oxlade-Chamberlain spins off Beausejour superbly but can't quite pick out Cazorla with his low cross. Bright start for the Gunners!
Arsenal take the kick-off to get the second half underway!
It's goalless at the break at the DW but Wigan could have, and probably should have taken the lead through Arouna Kone. The Ivorian wasted the best chance of the half when he skewed his shot wide after racing through on goal. The Gunners have impressed in flashes, with Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski bringing the best out of Al Habsi early on.
HALF-TIME: Wigan 0-0 Arsenal
45' + 2'
Arsene Wenger looks a frustrated figure on the touchline as his Arsenal team fail to make a breakthrough in this first half.
Two minutes of time to be added on at the end of the half.
Wilshere is coming in for some rough treatment this afternoon, Maloney this time gets revenge for the earlier challenge with a naughty trip on the England international.
Wonderful defensive play from Maynor Figueroa to keep pace with Oxlade-Chamberlain before earning his side a goal kick.
Now Wilshere takes a sore one as he contests a header with McCarthy.
Yellow Card Jack Wilshere
Controversy as Jack Wilshere makes a hefty challenge on Shaun Maloney. The DW crowd do their best to get the Arsenal man sent off, but a yellow card is the correct decision by the referee.
Maloney plays through ball for Beausejour into the right channel but the Chile international is ruled offside as he tries to delay his run.
McArthur out-muscles Arteta off the ball but his crossed is blocked by Gibbs, Stam has another go moments later but the Arsenal defender is there again to deny Wigan.
Cazorla pings the ball into Walcott, whose first touch inside the box is good but he can't quite manufacture the space needed to get a shot away at goal.
Di Santo squares up against Bacary Sagna and skips inside the Frenchman before firing in a cross-cum-shot with his right-foot. It doesn't trouble Szczesny, but this is certainly a good spell for Roberto Martinez's men.
Stam once again gets into another good crossing position but wildly overhits his cross into the stands. The Dutchman has been a great outlet for the Latics so far but has failed to deliver with any quality.
Stam gets forward for Wigan down the right flank and chooses to cross from the byline when there were a couple of options at the edge of the area.
Arsenal win a free kick in a deep position and Arteta delivers into the box but Boyce gets up in front of Vermaelen to head away. The Gunners remain on the front foot but eventually lose the momentum in their build-up play.
WHAT A CHANCE! Arouna Kone is played through by Di Santo and the Ivorian leaves Per Mertesacker for dead but then skews his shot horribly wide of the far post with only the keeper to beat! Big let off for the Gunners!
Walcott has a dig at goal from inside the box but his first time shot is cleared from close range.
Wilshere shows good close control as he penetrates the heart of Wigan's defence but eventually loses the ball under pressure from McArthur.
Podolski hammers another shot at goal after skipping past Stam, but this time his effort sails harmlessly over the bar.
Maloney has the Arsenal defence backing off but he opts to play the wrong pass. The midfielder had Stam rushing into space on his right but elected to play an ambitious pass to Beausejour instead.
Podolski fires a rocket from range but a Wigan defender makes a good block before Boyce does well to stop Cazorla getting in a cross.
Arsenal are now beginning to boss things. Walcott plays a nice flick to Cazorla but his blind pass for Oxlade-Chamberlain is overhit.
Good save! Al Habsi denies Oxlade-Chamberlain with a good stop at his near post. Cazorla found Arteta with a superb piece of skill in midfield before the Spaniard fed in the 19-year-old coming in from the right.
McArthur lifts a ball over the Arsenal defence for Arouna Kone who gets in behind and brings the ball down only to see the linesman flag for offside. Moments later Stam wastes a decent chance by misplacing his cross.
Wigan apply some pressure on the Arsenal defence with a couple of crosses in from the right flank. First Arteta, and then Vermaelen make good blocks to deny the Latics an early opportunity. Looks like we're in for an open game!
Walcott delivers the corner but McCarthy rises highest to clear the danger for Wigan.
Good early noise from the sell-out away end as Arsenal start brightly with Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sagna combining down the right side. Corner for the Gunners.
Wigan take the kick-off and we are underway!
The teams are out at a rain-soaked DW Stadium and we are moments away from kick-off.
Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, is without any of his recognised central defenders, so David Jones continues at the back for the injury-hit Latics. However, James McCarthy passed a late fitness test and makes the starting line-up after picking up a knock against Norwich last time out.
So Arsene Wenger names an unchanged starting line-up from Arsenal's 5-2 win over Reading, meaning Theo Walcott once again has a chance to prove his worth as the Gunners' central striker.
TEAM NEWS: Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Arteta, Wilshere; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski; Walcott. Subs: Mannone, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Coquelin, Ramsey, Arshavin, Gervinho
TEAM NEWS: Wigan (3-4-2-1): Al Habsi; Boyce, Jones, Figueroa; Stam, McArthur, McCarthy, Beausejour; Maloney, Di Santo, Kone. Subs: Pollitt, Caldwell, Gomez, McManaman, Boselli, Fyvie, Golobart.
Good afternoon ladies and gents! Welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of Wigan v Arsenal from the DW Stadium LIVE!
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