Wigan vs. Arsenal: Scores, Grades and Postmatch Reaction

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2012

WIGAN, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22:  James McCarthy of Wigan Athletic competes with Theo Walcott of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Arsenal at the DW Stadium on December 22, 2012 in Wigan, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Arsenal survived Wigan at DW Stadium on Saturday, coming away with a hard-fought, but less-than-stellar 1-0 victory over the Premier League basement dweller.

After a scoreless first hour of play, Theo Walcott drew a poor challenge in the box and forced a penalty. Shortly after, Mikel Arteta put the Gunners ahead on a penalty kick in the 60th minute. Following another half hour of scoreless action, Arsene Wenger's club celebrated three big points, which now elevates them into the top four (third) on the Premier League table, inspiring this observation from Andrew Yonnie:

Apparently #Arsenal is the only top four club that always struggles against #Wigan

— andrew yonnie (@andre_wolfgang) December 22, 2012

Meanwhile, Wigan remains in 18th place in the table and at risk of being relegated at season's end.

Some Arsenal supporters, like Michael Englund found the Gunners underserving of three points:

A undeserved win, got to love that. Credit to Wigan, they played well.

— Michael Englund (@Mike_Arsenal) December 22, 2012

While others, like Adam D. Brown won't complain about a win, no matter who it comes against:

Big win. 3 points well-deserved. It was only Wigan, but this @arsenal team needs to take points where & when they can #WAFCvAFC

— Adam D. Brown (@AdamUI96) December 22, 2012

But regardless of the outcome, the biggest takeaway from Saturday's match is that Arsenal must improve if they are to be a true threat to the EPL's top clubs. Farid Midhat summed up the reaction of most on Saturday with this tweet:

Didn't expect Wigan to put up that much of a challenge. The fact that Arsenal struggled against a relegation-threatened team is worrying.

— Farid Midhat (@FredMidhat) December 22, 2012

 

Grades

Ali Al-Habsi, Wigan: A

Al-Habsi played well in net for Wigan throughout on Saturday, but was forced into a tough situation in the second half when Arsenal was awarded a penalty. He guessed wrong on Arteta's goal but, to be fair, Jean Beausejour was responsible for the opportunity.

Al-Habsi came away with three solid saves as well in what could have very easily been a 0-0 draw for Wigan. He didn't much help from his offense either, just ask @ruudyroon:

Wigan are pathetic in the final third, but easily have been the better side, Arsenal lack ambition.

— GiggsÇhaBocha(@ruudyroon) December 22, 2012

 

Jack Wilshere, Arsenal: B

The Gunners midfielder picked up a questionable yellow card in the first half, but remained his usual, active self. He wasn't afraid to challenge after picking up the card and was undoubtedly one of Arsenal's best midfielders throughout on Saturday.

 

Franco Di Santo, Wigan: B

Di Santo came off in the 77th minute, but managed to play a solid game up front for Wigan before heading off. The 23-year-old striker drew several fouls on the attack and looked capable of putting his side up by a goal at times.

Still, there's no denying that Di Santo could have been a little better, perhaps finding a first-half goal for Wigan that could have changed Saturday's outcome.

 

Santi Cazorla, Arsenal: B

Of course, Arsenal supporters will be much more content with Santi Cazorla after a win, but the Spaniard is deserving of some credit even though he didn't score. Cazorla mounted some quality attacks for the Gunners and played a decent match away from home.

 

Jean Beausejour, Wigan: D

Beausejour was very poor on Saturday and made the match's most critical error an hour in. His sloppy challenge against Walcott in the box lead to Arteta's goal and wound up costing his club at least a point.

In addition to killing chances for his side, the Chilean star also committed a handful of fouls on Saturday, proving to be a liability in midfield for Wigan. 

 

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