Wigan Athletic 0-1 Arsenal – Match Review
Mikel Arteta scored from the spot to hand Arsenal a third consecutive Premier League victory at the expense of Wigan at the DW Stadium.
The Gunners hadn’t won three games on the spin since March but continued their fine festive run in the North West with Arteta’s penalty moving them up to third in table.
Roberto Martinez’s men find themselves marooned in familiar territory and will spend Christmas in the bottom three for the third season running after losing six of their last eight games.
An injury crisis at the back has left the Latics short of options in recent weeks, Antonio Lopez becoming the fourth centre back to succumb to injury, and Martinez will be cursing the manner of their defeat after a surprisingly solid defensive display.
The visitors began strongly and threatened early on through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who saw his well struck shot pushed wide by Ali Al-Habsi before Wigan clicked into gear.
Arouna Kone went close twice in quick successtion, firstly striking tamely at Wojciech Szczesny before firing wide after outpacing Per Mertesacker to reach Franco Di Santo’s through pass.
Still, Arsenal were a threat down the flanks and Al-Habsi had to be on guard to thwart Theo Walcott from close ranger after he was set up Oxlade-Chamberlain before half time.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Walcott, playing through the middle once again, as he was starved of service but played an instrumental role in his sides victory, exchanging passes with Santi Cazorla before being felled by Beausejour in the penalty area.
Arteta stepped up confidently beat Al-Habsi from 12-yards on the hour mark to give the away side a lead to protect as the hosts strived to salvage a point.
However, beating Szczesny was easier said than done with the Polish keeper denying Kone and Maynor Figueroa, while David Jones lashed an effort wide as Wigan’s late efforts proved to be in vain.