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Wigan Athletic vs. Arsenal: Rating the Gunners' Players in the 4-0 Win

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2011

Wigan Athletic vs. Arsenal: Rating the Gunners' Players in the 4-0 Win

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    Arsenal racked up a comfortable 4-0 win over Wigan Athletic in the Premier League as they strolled back to winning ways following a defeat and a draw in their past two matches.

    Arsene Wenger picked a full strength side with the first-choice attacking triumvirate of Robin van Persie, Gervinho and Theo Walcott in attack, while Laurent Koscielny returned at right-back.

    Wigan started the contest brightly and had a great chance early on to open the scoring as Jordi Gomez saw his shot deflected wide, but that was about it as far as their goalscoring chances went for the entire match.

    Arsenal struggle through the first quarter of the game to fashion any chance of note but were gifted the lead when Mikel Arteta's long range strike somehow evaded goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi and ended up in the back of the net.

    Just moments later Thomas Vermaelen headed in a second goal and the next 45 minutes were a walk in the park for the Gunners as they netted further goals through Gervinho and Robin van Persie without Wigan being remotely close to getting back into the game.

    Here are the Arsenal players' ratings from the win at the DW Stadium.

Goalkeeper: Wojciech Szczesny

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    Wojciech Szczesny was a virtual spectator for the full 90 minutes at the DW Stadium, having very little to do indeed.

    He was perhaps a little lucky to see his parry from a right-side cross be deflected wide as Jordi Gomez ran onto the loose ball early on, but beyond that Wigan never looked like troubling the Polish 'keeper.

    Mo Diame went closest thereafter for the home side with a low shot which flew wide of Szczesny's far post, but there were not even any crosses or set pieces of note for him to deal with.

    As routine and comfortable a clean sheet as he is ever likely to get in the Premier League.

    6 / 10

Full-Backs: Laurent Koscielny and Andre Santos

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    Neither full-back for Arsenal was unduly tested in defence and both were comfortable on the ball without being overly aggressive in the final third.

    Victor Moses was the most likely Wigan player to cause any damage to the Gunners' rear guard and he made one or two runs with the ball, but both Andre Santos on the left and Laurent Koscielny on the right stood up well to the infrequent home attacks.

    Koscielny overlapped his winger a few times in the first half but was happy to sit back and help maintain possession once Arsenal increased their lead, while Andre Santos was perhaps the more adventurous of the duo.

    Santos was happy to drift infield at times and make up the extra man in midfield, while he also offered good width on occasions.

    Laurent Koscielny: 6 / 10

    Andre Santos: 7 / 10

Centre Backs: Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker

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    Arsene Wenger's first choice pairing at the back over the past few weeks in the League has been Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen and both were thoroughly comfortable against Wigan as they saw out a clean sheet on their travels—only the second they have managed away from the Emirates in the Premier League this season, and the first since their opening game of the season against Newcastle.

    Thomas Vermaelen's biggest contribution in the past couple of league matches has been in scoring goals, at both ends last time out against Fulham and again in the right net against Wigan, heading home Arsenal's second just a couple of minutes after his team had opened the scoring.

    Per Mertesacker's best moment actually came near the end of the first half as he made a well-timed sliding tackle inside the area to win back the ball and ensure Wigan did not have an opportunity to reduce the difference before the break.

    Neither player had much to do in the second period until a brief and unfruitful Wigan spate of attacks, and both will be pleased at getting through another match without conceding.

    Thomas Vermaelen: 7 / 10

    Per Mertesacker: 7 / 10

Central Midfield: Alex Song, Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey

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    "Speculative" is probably the word you would have used to describe Mikel Arteta's 27th minute shot from distance while the scores were still level against Wigan Athletic—but one second later, Omani goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi had entirely misjudged the flight of the ball and Arsenal were ahead.

    Whatever Al-Habsi was trying to achieve, he certainly didn't, and Arteta's hopeful effort turned into the catalyst for Arsenal to really stroll through the rest of the game as they scored an immediate second and never looked back.

    Considering they barely touched the ball in the opening exchanges of the game, the midfield trio of Arteta, Alex Song and Aaron Ramsey did well to go on and control the game for large spells thereafter.

    Song was a strong presence in the middle of the park and in the second half was one of the most aggressive players in the final third for the Gunners, while Ramsey might have had a penalty after he showed good determination to get past Steve Gouhouri in the penalty area before being dragged down.

    Cameroon midfielder Song was booked in the second half and substituted 10 minutes before the end of the game.

    Alex Song: 7 / 10

    Mikel Arteta: 8 / 10

    Aaron Ramsey: 7 / 10

Forwards: Theo Walcott, Gervinho, Robin Van Persie

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    After a very quiet opening 20 minutes, Arsenal's front three grew in effectiveness and influence on the game.

    Among the trio they clocked up three assists and two goals against Wigan Athletic, with Robin van Persie's corner finding Thomas Vermaelen for the second goal and his saved shot being tucked home by Gervinho, before unselfish play from Theo Walcott resulted in van Persie wrapping up the game's scoring late on.

    Gervinho was full of his usual endeavour and wanting to run at goal when cutting in from the left on his right foot, while on the other side Walcott did not get into the game on a regular basis but when he did, looked a real threat.

    Van Persie's all-round game continues to impress even aside from his monstrous goal-scoring run during 2011, as he consistently linked up play, found space for his teammates and worked the channels as well as being a presence in the middle.

    His close control of the ball always makes him a threat in the penalty area and the second half goals which he scored and assisted were just reward for his endeavour and skill.

    Walcott and Gervinho were both withdrawn with ten minutes to go.

    Theo Walcott: 6 / 10

    Gervinho: 7 / 10

    Robin van Persie: 8 / 10

Substitutes: Yossi Benayoun, Andrei Arshavin and Francis Coquelin

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    With the game long wrapped-up and Arsenal leading 4-0, Arsene Wenger opted to make three late substitutes close together.

    On around 80 minutes, forwards Gervinho and Theo Walcott were replaced by Yossi Benayoun and Andrei Arshavin, while midfielder Alex Song was taken off for Francis Coquelin.

    None of the three introduced players really had the time to make an impact on the game, nor the greatest of incentives to do so given the match was basically over, though Coquelin found time to pick up a yellow card.

    No rating for Arshavin, Benayoun or Coquelin.

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