Arsenal 1-2 Wigan Athletic

 

 

Emmerson Boyce is the first to run over to join in the celebrations as Jordi Gomez doubles Wigan's lead infront of aghast Arsenal fans 


 

By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor from the Emirates Stadium
 


Two early quick-fire goals were enough to give Wigan Athletic their first ever points away to the Gunners in a shock 2-1 win over Arsenal which continued their fine run of form.

Franco Di Santo and Jordi Gomez scored within a minute of each other to put Wigan 2-0 up after only eight minutes, before Thomas Vermaelen’s header pulled one back for the hosts midway through the first period. But Wigan held on for the win, meaning that Roberto Martinez’s side have now won four of their last five Premier League games and now sit five points clear of the relegation zone.

Arsene Wenger made just one change to the Arsenal side from their 3-0 win over Wolves, bringing in Tomas Rosicky to replace Aaron Ramsey in midfield, while Kieran Gibbs returned to the bench from injury. Laurent Koscielny remained suspended for a second match after picking up his tenth booking in the recent 1-0 home victory over Manchester City.

Roberto Martinez- who oversaw a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Gunners at the DW Stadium two seasons ago- was forced to make one change from Wigan’s extraordinary 1-0 win over Manchester United after matchwinner Shaun Maloney picked up a knee injury in training, so Spaniard Jordi Gomez got the nod to start as the Latics lined up in a 3-4-3 formation which had served them well in the second half of the season.

Arsenal started brightly, moving the ball around confidently. Vermaelen struck a low, driven effort from distance which flew just wide of Ali Al-Habsi’s left-hand post.


? DID YOU KNOW ?

Arsenal had won eight of their last nine league matches before this one- and won comprehensively 4-0 at the DW Stadium back in December.


But it was the visitors who took an early lead after just seven minutes. Wigan made a sweeping counter attack up the pitch after an Arsenal break and Di Santo was played through for a one-on-one, then lifted the ball over Wojciech Szczesny before tapping into an empty net.

Arsenal were left completely stunned when Wigan doubled their lead a matter of seconds later. Victor Moses produced some superb skill to drive in a low cross from the left and the ball broke to Gomez, who stabbed home from close range at the second time of asking after Szczesny spilled his initial attempt. It was the perfect start for the Latics who were in dreamland- as were the small pocket of Wigan fans inside the Emirates Stadium.

Amid the chaos, the Gunners lost Arteta to injury, forcing an early change as Aaron Ramsey came on to replace the stricken Spaniard.

After Al-Habsi produced a stunning save to tip over a Yossi Benayoun header, Wenger’s side then found themselves deservedly back in the game on 20 minutes. The excellent Rosicky provided an inch-perfect cross for Vermaelen to power in a low header and reduce the deficit to one. Arsenal were dominating possession, with much of their play going through Rosicky. The Czech Republic international produced a sparkling run into the Wigan box but his chipped cross floated over the crossbar.

The Latics did produce some openings of their own, however. Moses worked the ball out wide to Di Santo as Wigan formed another threatening counterattack, but the Argentine’s low cross was scrambled clear by Djourou.

A Van Persie free kick and a Gomez strike at opposite ends both missed the target shortly before half-time as the Latics maintained their lead at the break.


? DID YOU KNOW ?

Wigan Athletic had only ever beaten Arsenal once before in the Premier League while the two goals scored were only the 13th & 14th that the Gunners have conceded at the Emirates Stadium this season.


Arsenal nearly restored parity immediately after the restart. Andre Santos struck a low drive and Al Habsi’s parry just escaped an oncoming Van Persie. Moses then produced another fine piece of skill, flying past Bacary Sagna on the left and hammering a low shot which Szczesny did well to parry.

The end-to-end nature of the game was relentless as Van Persie pulled back to Santos, who should have done better as he poked the ball wide of goal. Then the superb Moses broke free after a long throw caused a defensive mix-up, but he shot early and the ball rolled comfortably into Szczesny’s arms.

Gervinho replaced Benayoun on the hour, then, shortly after another Wigan break saw a Gomez volley blasted over, Wenger reacted by bringing on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Djourou, much to the delight of the increasingly restless home fans.

Van Persie produced a dangerous corner from the left which sparked a scramble in the Wigan six-yard box, but the Latics eventually managed to clear. The Dutchman then had a chance of his own as he tried to flick a Sagna cross towards goal, but it was a difficult position and Wigan survived another Arsenal attack.

Walcott then made a darting run forward and fell under a strong Maynor Figueroa challenge, but referee Andre Marriner saw no foul play in the defender’s challenge and allowed play to continue.

Al Habsi picked up a yellow card for time wasting in stoppage time as Wigan were trying everything they could to hold out for the victory, and substitute Mohamed Diame almost made it 3-1 as he drove a low shot towards Szczesny's near post, but the Pole was more than equal to it.

But Arsenal couldn't find the all-important equaliser and the Latics held on for a superb victory which suddenly makes their prospects of remaining a Premier League team for next season that even more brighter. They remain in the capital facing Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday while the Gunners host a London derby against the mighty Chelsea at lunchtime on the same day.

ANALYSIS
Adam Higgins
The Football Site-  Chief Football Editor

"It was a result which sent shockwaves around the footballing world. Wigan beating Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium is headline news. What a job Roberto Martinez is doing. Motivating his side after so many setbacks in the early weeks of the season, eight defeats on the trot and low morale. Talks of him getting the sack. Wigan are in a splendid run of form and came into the game fancying they can upset the odds and that's just what they did. It was a deserved victory for the Latics and for Arsenal, complacency has played a part once again as it did when they were beaten recently at QPR."

 

 

Monday 16th April 2012

Barclays Premier League

Emirates Stadium

 

Arsenal 1-2 Wigan Athletic                             KO 8pm             (HT 1-2)

Vermaelen 21      Di Santo 7
                        Gomez 8

 

Arsenal:  13 Szczesny- 6/10, 3 Sagna- 6.5/10, 5 Vermaelen- 7/10, 20 Djourou- 6/10 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 74- 3.5/10), 11 Andre Santos- 6/10, 8 Arteta- 1.5/10 (Ramsey 9- 7/10), 7 Rosicky- 7.5/10, 17 Song- 6/10, 14 Walcott- 6.5/10, 10 Van Persie (C)- 6/10, 30 Benayoun- 6/10 (Gervinho 61- 4/10).

Subs not used:  21 Fabianski, 18 Squillaci, 28 Gibbs, 29 Chamakh

Booked:      Sagna (33), Song (72)

 

Wigan Athletic:  26 Al-Habsi- 7.5/10, 17 Boyce- 7/10, 3 Alcaraz- 7/10, 5 Caldwell (C)- 7.5/10, 31 Figueroa- 7/10, 22 Beausejour- 7.5/10, 4 McCarthy- 7.5/10, 14 Gomez- 8/10 (Diame 86- 2/10), 16 McArthur- 7/10, 11 Moses- 6.5/10, 9 Di Santo- 7/10 (Sammon 75- 2.5/10).

Subs not used:  12 Pollitt, 23 Stam, 8 Watson, 19 Jones, 15 McManaman 

Booked:      Caldwell (59), Al-Habsi (90+1), McArthur (90+4)

 

My Man of the Match:      Jordi Gomez (Wigan Athletic)- Rating 8/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:      Andre Santos (Arsenal)- Rating 6/10

 

 

Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)- 9/10
Attendance: 60,060 

 

 

Match Facts

Possession: Arsenal- 52%             Wigan Athletic- 48%

Shots: Arsenal- 18                 Wigan Athletic- 12

Shots on target: Arsenal- 9                Wigan Athletic- 7

Shots off target: Arsenal- 9                Wigan Athletic- 5

Corners: Arsenal- 9                  Wigan Athletic- 3

Fouls: Arsenal- 15                  Wigan Athletic- 13

Offside: Arsenal- 1                 Wigan Athletic- 3

Assists: Arsenal- Rosicky              Wigan Athletic- Gomez, McArthur

 

 


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

"Wigan started the game very well and suddenly we found ourselves 2-0 down. The first one was a corner won on the counter attack and the second goal was when we were trying to get (Aaron) Ramsey on for Mikel (Arteta) who was down injured and we had to deal with it with only ten men. We had started badly and were punished. It left us with a mountain to climb and you cannot always find two or three goals that easily to come back. There wasn't enough commitment for both goals from a defensive point of view switching off twice in the space of two minutes. That is always a disappointing thing. Overall we played well in the first half but in the second half we lost our cohesion and lacked sharpness. They defended really well and made it difficult for us- there is never an easy game or easy period within a match itself. We were perhaps a little complacent but Wigan are a good side and are playing well- they deserved to win the match."

Click here for the full post-match interview with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger 

 

 


Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez

"It is a bit of history for us and it was a well deserved victory for the players and for us as a club. The performance is the most pleasing aspect because you can get results where you have been fortunate with decisions that have gone your way or getting a lucky break. To score twice away from home in any match is good but especially at the Emirates. It was a sign of our attacking threat. We contained the attacking qualities that Arsenal possess in particular at this point in the season which is usually their best. We've still got four massive matches still to come and we want the lads to keep going between now and the end of the campaign to try and get more points. Going 2-0 up to Arsenal away from home in eight minutes is beyond anything we could ever have imagined being truthfully honest. We had to be wary of sitting back on the lead and inviting pressure onto us. They can get the ball and dominate the game but we still played our football and it is a fantastic result."

Click here for the full post-match interview with Latics boss Roberto Martinez

 

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