Wigan vs. Arsenal: Gunners' Gritty Victory as It Happened
Wigan 0-1 Arsenal
Arteta 60' (pen)
Wigan: Ali Al-Habsi; James McCarthy, Emerson Boyce, Maynor Figueroa; David Jones, James McCarthur, Jean Beausejor, Ronnie Stam; Arouna Kone, Shaun Maloney (Gomez 89'), Franco Di Santo (McManaman 77')
Subs: Pollitt, Caldwell, Golobart, Gomez, Fyvie, McManaman, Boselli
Arsenal: Wojceiech Szczesny; Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, Per Mertesacker, Kieran Gibbs; Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla (Koscielny 90+1'), Jack Wilshere; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Ramsey 75'), Lukas Podolski (Coquelin 80'), Theo Walcott
Subs: Mannone, Koscielny, Jenkinson, Ramsey, Coquelin, Arshavin, Gervinho
LIVE BLOG END
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In this season's Premier League, any team that can achieve a modicum of consistency has a chance to finish in the top four because there is just so much parity.
Arsenal still can't entirely be counted on, but consecutive wins over West Brom, Reading and Wigan have done wonders for the Gunners' league position. Nine points out of nine is certainly not bad, and quite a nice Christmas present for the club's beleaguered supporters.
Arsenal really gritted out a win today, and move into third place, if only for a few hours.
Sure, the Gunners didn't score a goal from open play, but you'll take a goal however you can get it, and Theo Walcott's penalty was certainly legitimate.
What happened after Mikel Arteta put his spot kick home was even more important. Arsenal stuck together, stayed organized and showed the toughness that they are often criticized for not having.
A very solid three points.
90+4'—Wigan certainly are threatening, coming dangerously close with some balls into the box, but it looks as if this game will finish 1-0 to The Arsenal.
Just about 30 more seconds now.
Laurent Koscielny for Santi Cazorla to close things out.
Into the third minute of stoppage time out of four.
90+1'—Oh, that was almost the moment for Wigan!
Gomez uncorked a speculative shot, it took a deflection, fell to Kone right in the center of the box but Per Mertesacker was there again with some extremely good, composed defending to marshal it away.
Lukas Podolski committed handball on the edge of the box, but it wasn't intentional.
Jordi Gomez replaces Shaun Maloney. Gomez is certainly capable of poaching a goal, but he only has a couple minutes to do so.
87'—Shaun Maloney is shown a yellow card for a foul on Francis Coquelin. Just a bit of frustration creeping in there.
87'—McCarthy tries to pick out McManaman, but the ball is a bit too long, and Arsenal will get possession once again.
The Gunners are displaying a fair amount of grit here, which is makes up for the fact that they have only scored one goal today, from a set piece.
83'—Ooh, great composed defending by Per Mertesacker, assuredly steering a cutback wide of the post with Arouna Kone lurking in the middle.
Wigan are still in an attacking phase, though, and Arsenal will just have to weather this period.
82'—If Arsenal keep it simple and do the basics right, they should walk away with three points.
Saucy Jack in danger of trying to do too much.— Arse2Mouse (@arse2mouse) December 22, 2012
Francis Coquelin for Lukas Podolski in an understandably defensive move.
79'—One gets the feeling that Wigan will not go quietly, but Arsenal still have control of this game.
The Latics have certainly had their chances, but a combination of horrendous crossing and poor finishing has kept them out.
Callum McManaman enters for Franco Di Santo.
Aaron Ramsey comes on for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, which is a bit surprising considering The Ox's superb second half performance. Ramsey will probably slot in out of position on the right to add more solidity to Arsenal's attack.
74'—Oh, David Jones so nearly scores a wonder goal!
The ball was brought back for him, and centrally located, from about 20 yards away, he rifled a first-time shot with his left foot that just barely missed the post.
Szczesny just a spectator there. Perhaps a warning salvo for Wigan.
72'—Ooh, Arouna Kone nearly scored but Szczesny is there with a great foot-save. Kone cut inside from the left wing and fired low, but the Pole was well-positioned to make the save.
Now Arsenal have a corner on the left side, and Theo Walcott will take it. Why I don't know, but he will.
70'—A promising Arsenal attack is stopped when Theo Walcott drifted offside.
You wonder when either manager will look to make changes to either get a goal or shore up the defense. Perhaps Arsene Wenger could bring on Laurent Koscielny for an extra defensive presence.
68'—Worse teams just make more mistakes.
14 - Wigan have given away more penalties than any other side in the Premier League since August 2011 (14). Clumsy.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 22, 2012
66'—This is the sort of game where you just know your breakthrough is only going to come through a set-piece. Both sides, especially Wigan, are defending and pressing so doggedly that it looks like no one will ever break through.
In the end, Beausejour's push might make the difference.
Meanwhile, Franco Di Santo is still kept off the pitch, after receiving treatment on the touchline. The players and fans are all furious that Wigan are being forced to play with 10 men.
63'—Jean Beausejour had a chance at the other end from a tough angle right after the penalty, but skied his shot over the bar.
The Arsenal fans are reinvigorated at the DW Stadium, and this game looks to be regaining a bit of its former zip.
Wigan have now conceded first 12 out of 18 times in the Premier League this season.
Arteta coolly puts the ball to his right, Ali Al-Habsi dove the other way, and Arsenla finally have their breakthrough.
Looked a legitimate penalty, by the way.
Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott play a one-two in the box, and Jean Beausejor hauls Walcott down on the right side. Arteta to take.
58'—Great ball from Oxlade-Chamberlain, who's really been a threat on the right wing all day. Figueroa has to extend himself to prevent the ball from arriving low at the near post.
Now some routine passing and exchange of possession in midfield.
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