Arsene Wenger, unsurprisingly, stuck with the same Arsenal side that did so well away to Reading in midweek. Roberto Martinez had to face the pace and skill of Arsenal without his Wigan defenders Caldwell, Alcaraz and Ramis. The weather and wet pitch should be perfect for a fast and exciting game. The bad news for Arsenal was that Giroud was not on the bench so Gervinho was our only attacking option.
Arsenal were trying to zip the ball around and Wigan were working hard to press and harry the Gunners. Oxlade-Chamberlain had a decent chance but his shot was saved, and Wigan began to look forwards more after about 20 minutes. Arsenal were struggling to get Walcott involved in the game much as they were not dominating possession as usual. Kone had a good chance after getting behind the Arsenal defenders but could only slide the ball wide.
As the half wore on, Arsenal were being outworked by Wigan. Wilshere was trying, but picked up a booking for what seemed like a good tackle. He was then taken out by a flying knee but there is no free kick, never mind a card. Wenger needed to gee up the players at half time or risk dropping more points.
There waqs no change to the formation in the second half, so Wenger needed his players to step up. The Ox was keen and his second run down the right nearly led to a goal but Walcott’s shot was smothered. A free kick in a great position was fired straight into the wall by Podolski, but Arsenal seemed to be more fired up.
Walcott was not having a big influence, but was tring, and when he chased down an overhit cross by Gibbs he was dundled over for a penalty which Arteta made no mistake slotting away. The commentators called it a soft penalty, but defenders cannot bundle into players from behind, it was clear.
With about 20 minutes to go Wigan had two good chances to level, but Szczesney was up to it. Jones whistled a fierce shot just wide, and it looked like Arsenal would need another to make sure of the points. The Ox, arguably our best player, was replaced by Ramsey on 75 minutes, maybe to shore up the midfield a bit, maybe just for fresh legs.
Ramsey and Coquelin were invaluable keeping Wigan out in the late stages. It was far from flowing and certainly n