Report: Wigan 1-4 Arsenal
By Randy Osae
A terrific second-half revival saw Arsenal rob Wigan to stroll to a 4-1 victory which all but affirmed their place in the top four.
Steve Bruce’s side nearly pushed Wenger’s men to the limit, but yet again, the Gunners prevailed with class and character in an away league encounter. Arsenal had been digging deep today, but made it all look rampant and ridiculously emphatic on the scoreboard.
They do play like champions these days.
The Gunners’ physicality was expected to be examined today, and they failed the grade after 17 minutes – courtesy of a Wigan corner. With the swung delivery not completely cleared by Sagna’s header, Mido punished with a volley at a wobbling Fabianski who turned it into the net.
Following yet another early setback, Bendtner then took task on his shoulders to fire a faint header and then a taming low shot well wide.
But Arsenal’s misery was still mounting as Johan Djourou was stretched off the field with a knee injury on 35 minutes. The visitors were looking naive and teenager Kieran Gibbs was most culpable when he tangled down Valencia after the Ecuadorian attempted to race free with Arsenal’s back line stranded.
Indeed, Gibbs could only thank boons of his first ever Premier League start after referee Alan Wiley mercifully booked him with the home side arguing it was a red-card offense. Watson then curled the resulting free-kick onto the post with Fabianski looking as clueless as his stuttering teammates.
For the second game in a week, Arsenal were in need of another second-half resurgence.
Walcott finally let them out of jail after slick footwork between him and Arshavin inside the box handed the English forward some space to side-foot home his first goal since October.
The 20-year-old had done his job and so made way for Adebayor on 68 minutes with Arsenal inquiring a winner now.
Three minutes after that, Andrey Arshavin let through Fabregas who was penetrating into Wigan’s territory. The Spaniard sent in a low drive across goal and Silvestre needed a mere touch to guide it past Chris Kirkland.
Arshavin then curled a low effort onto the foot of the post only for Van Persie’s follow-up to be disallowed for offside. The Russian had been a focal part of Arsenal’s advances and lashed home a deserved goal after a late Arsenal counter-attack was dully broken up by Koumas.
There was still time for Song to complete the flattering riot by dancing through Wigan’s defense and firing home in injury time.
Another hint that Arsenal are well on-song.