Arsenal vs. Wigan Athletic: Remembering the 2006 Carling Cup Semi-Final

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Arsenal vs. Wigan Athletic: Remembering the 2006 Carling Cup Semi-Final
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

This weekend, Arsenal will face Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup semi-final.

And while the two sides have played each other a number of times over the last few seasons in the Premier League, they also have history in domestic cup competitions— locking horns three times in the last eight years of the League Cup.

Gunners fans will certainly remember their Carling Cup exit over two legs at the hands of the Latics in 2006, which saw Arsene Wenger’s side go out on away goals thanks to a last-gasp winner from striker Jason Roberts.

At the time, Wigan were enjoying an impressive debut Premier League campaign under manager Paul Jewell that even saw them rise to second in the league after 10 games. They ended up finishing the campaign in a very respectable 10th place.

The Gunners weren’t boasting the best cup form leading up to their Wigan meeting that year, having just scraping through the fifth round to Doncaster Rovers via penalties.

Their away form was their Achilles heel all through the 2005/06 campaign, and it proved to be the deciding factor as Wigan fashioned a shock 1-0 win in the first leg of the semi-finals at the JJB stadium— with Paul Scharner heading home the winner late on.

Arsenal won the second leg 1-0 in 90 minutes to take the game to extra time. They doubled their advantage in the 108th minute to put themselves within touching distance of reaching the Carling Cup final— ending a 13-year wait at the time.

But they were denied by Wigan striker Jason Roberts capitalising on a defensive mix-up to score with just 65 seconds of the game remaining. Wigan reached the final but eventually lost 4-0 to Manchester United at the Millennium Stadium.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will surely use the 2006 cup elimination to spur his side on to go one better this time. Their last major trophy win was the 2005 FA Cup, and since then the Gunners haven’t added to their trophy cabinet. They have had close calls, however.

  • 2006 Champions League final (which they lost to Barcelona 2-1)
  • 2007 League Cup final (which they lost to Chelsea)
  • 2008 League Cup semi-final (which they lost to Tottenham 6-2 on aggregate)
  • 2009 FA Cup semi-final (which they lost to Chelsea 2-1)
  • 2009 Champions League semi-final (which they lost to Manchester United 4-1 on aggregate)
  • 2011 League Cup final (which they lost to Birmingham City 2-1)


Since their two-legged defeat to Wigan in 2006, Arsenal have beaten the Latics in their two following League Cup meetings— 3-0 in 2008 and 2-0 in 2010. They’ll be hoping to repeat the feat this weekend. Or could there be another shock on the cards?

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