Gunners rampant at Wigan
Arsenal strengthened their grip on fourth spot as they came from behind at Wigan to win 4-1.
Last Updated: 14/04/09 1:20pm
Arsenal strengthened their grip on fourth spot as they came from behind at Wigan to run riot in the second half in claiming a 4-1 scoreline that somewhat flattered Arsene Wenger's side.
Given their midweek European exertions it was no surprise Arsenal were somewhat sluggish in the opening sparring, as a spirited Wigan deservedly took a lead into the break courtesy of Mido's close-range finish.
On the stroke of half-time it could have been so much worse for Arsenal as starlet Kieran Gibbs got on the wrong side of Antonio Valencia bearing down on goal, but his trip on the wide man was greeted with only a yellow card from Alan Wiley's top pocket. Steve Bruce is unlikely to concur with the referee's view.
Ben Watson struck the base of Lukasz Fabianski's post with the subsequent free-kick before Arsenal's class prevailed after the break with the introduction of Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor.
Theo Walcott restored parity just past the hour mark with a smart finish with the outside of his right boot, before substitute Mikael Silvestre popped up in the box to tap home a brilliantly worked free-kick involving Cesc Fabregas and Andrey Arshavin.
It was the Russian that made sure of the spoils in the final minute with a crisp finish that punished Jason Koumas' mistake on the edge of the box, before Alexandre Song gave the scoreline a flattering look when he rode a pair of lethargic challenges before rifling home in injury time.
Arsenal were rocked in the 18th minute when Wigan took the lead from a set-play.
Watson swung in the corner and Emmerson Boyce headed it forward. Bacary Sagna only half cleared the ball to Mido. The Egyptian striker struck a firm shot but Fabianski looked culpable and helped it into the net.
Nicklas Bendtner headed wide following a cross from Arshavin as Arsenal attempted to get back on level terms. Bendtner then made space for himself on the edge of the area only to drill his effort wide of the target.
Arsenal were left exposed four minutes later and Mario Melchiot was able to make a surging run down the right. He attempted to pick out Mido who had raced into the area but Johan Djourou was able to make an important clearance.
It was Djourou's last kick of the ball, however, as he was carried off with Silvestre replacing him.
Arsenal were looking a bit lethargic and finding it difficult to break Wigan down. Silvestre, however, got on the end of a free-kick from Fabregas in the 42nd minute but failed to get a decent touch and Wigan were able to scramble the ball to safety.
Fabianski was looking fragile and almost conceded a second goal when he came racing out to try and beat Mido to a header.
He chose the wrong option as the striker got there first but Gibbs showed good composure to clear his header off the line.
Mido was struggling after taking a number of knocks and was given a generous round of applause when he came off in the 58th minute. He was replaced by Olivier Kapo.
Three minutes later Arsenal were level after Arshavin threaded the ball through to Walcott. He steadied himself and rifled a shot into the corner beyond goalkeeper Chris Kirkland to make it 1-1.
It was only Walcott's second league goal of the season but his seventh overall in the campaign. He came off in the 68th minute with Adebayor coming on for a late run-out.
Arsenal had suddenly stepped up a gear and went ahead after 71 minutes with a simple goal that has become their trademark.
Arshavin prodded the ball into the path of Fabregas and he immediately released Silvestre, who made no mistake from close range for his second goal of the campaign.
Arshavin then added a third on the stroke of full-time when he capitalised on a mistake by substitute Koumas.
Song completed Wigan's misery in stoppage-time with a fourth after a surging run.
It was an amazing finish to the game and Arsenal manager Wenger was entitled to a smile of satisfaction after looking so frustrated for long periods.
|Wigan Athletic||Team Statistics||Arsenal|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|2||Shots on Target||5|
|7||Shots off Target||9|