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14:26 22nd January 2011


Brave Latics succumb to Van Persie hat-trick at the Emirates

Van Persie 22, 58, 85


Report by Paul Chialton

A Robin Van Persie hat-trick sealed all three points for Arsenal at the Emirates despite a brave display from Latics and a five-star performance from goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.

Time after time the Omani international denied Arsenal producing a range of world class saves in arguably his finest performance since joining the club.

When Arsenal did find a way past the 'keeper on hand were brothers Gary and Steven Caldwell to throw themselves at the ball and prevent further additions to the score-line.

Such brave and spirited play at the back eventually inspired some promising attacking play after the break.

The introduction of James McArthur and Franco Di Santo applying more pressure on the home defence but struggling to really test Wojciech Szczesny in goal.

Di Santo did manage to get two headed chances on goal but couldn't direct either goalwards, his determined performance will be a big boost to Roberto Martinez ahead of Tuesday's clash with Aston Villa.

But Arsenal were simply too strong for the visitors and despite Al Habsi's heroics between the sticks their control on proceedings eventually showed.

Van Persie grabbed his first mid-way through the first-half fed through by Alex Song before smashing home left-footed.

It was 2-0 after the break when the striker latched onto a lobbed ball by Cesc Fabregas to cushion home a volley and make sure of the outcome.

The Dutchman should have secured his hat-trick when Fabregas was fouled inside the area by Gary Caldwell who was shown a straight red card and will miss the Villa game.

Van Persie skied the effort but grabbed his third shortly after with a tight effort at the near post.

A tough afternoon for Latics but the returning performance of Di Santo, appearance of Emmerson Boyce at the back and inclusion of James McCarthy on the bench are the positives to take from the capital.

Wigan: Al Habsi, Gohouri, G. Caldwell, S. Caldwell, Figueroa, Diame (McArthur, 46), Thomas, N'Zogbia (Boyce, 79), Watson, Stam (Di Santo, 46), Rodallega.

Subs: Pollitt, McCarthy, Gomez, McManaman

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Clichy, Djourou, Koscielny, Song, Fabregas (Denilson, 85), Wilshere, Nasri (Arshavin, 75), Walcott, Van Persie (Chamakh, 85)

Subs: Shea, Eboue, Gibbs, Bendtner

    Data provided by Press Association