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17:14 19th September 2009


Vermaelen 25, 50
Eduardo 59
Fabregas 90

Report by Paul Chialton

A disappointing afternoon in the capital for Latics, defeated by an Arsenal team buoyed by results over the past few weeks.

Arsene Wenger's side were dominant from the off and were good value for their half-time lead, which could have been greater. But to be fair Latics didn't let their heads go down and went in search of an equaliser after Thomas Vermaelen headed his team into the lead.

Momo Diame, who worked hard to try and sustain Arsenal's midfield picked up Hugo Rodallega's through ball just inside the area, but couldn't find the touch to convert past the uncertain-looking Vito Mannone.

Emmerson Boyce can count himself unlucky not have been on the score-sheet getting on the end of a Jordi Gomez corner only to have his shot saved and scrambled away by the Gunner's defence.

A disallowed Paul Scharner goal even denied Roberto Martinez's men the consolation goal they at least deserved, poking home at the far post only for the linesman's flag to put a holt on any celebrations.

And although the home side had gone on to make it 3-0 through another Vermaelen goal and an Eduardo strike after ten minutes of the re-start, credit has to be given to Latics. It would have been so easy to start preparing to go home and allow heads to drop, but they stayed positive, worked their opposition and were determined to at least take away the experience of today.

Jason Scotland, Paul Scharner and Scott Sinclair were all introduced late on and got straight into the spirit of retaining pride from the result.

Cesc Fabregas poked home at the death to rub the final grains of salt into Latics' wounds, but there are positives to come from this game; if Martinez's style of play is to be integrated successfully it has to be played at places like this.

To have been defensive throughout would have probably brought a similar result, but the gaffer was determined for his team to continue their learning process and that's exactly what they did. The next test is to continue that lesson against Chelsea next weekend.

Arsenal: Mannone, Diaby, Sagna, Fabregas (C), Vermaelen, Eduardo, Gallas, Van Persie, Song, Clichy, Eboue.
Subs: Rosicky, Ramsey, Silvestre, Wilshere, Gibbs, Bedtner, Szczesny

Wigan: Kirkland, Thomas, Koumas (Scharner, 56), N'Zogbia, Gomez (Scotland, 56) , Boyce, Bramble, Rodallega (Sinclair, 87), Melchiot (C), Diame, Figueroa.
Subs: Edman, Cho, Pollitt, King.

    Data provided by Press Association