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17:38 3th December 2011


Latics unable to find the answers against in-form Gunners


Arteta 28
Vermaelen 29
Gervinho 59
van Persie 81

Report by Nick Taylor

Goals from Mikel Arteta and Thomas Vermaelen before half time and Gervinho and Robin Van Persie in the second half halted Wigan Athletic's unbeaten run as Arsenal won 4-0.

Despite the heavy downpours before and during the game, Arsenal's slick passing style was evident throughout the game.

Roberto Martinez named an unchanged side for the third game in a row and the Gunners had a completely changed team from their Carling Cup game in the week.

The game started brightly for Latics as Conor Sammon chased down anything that was knocked towards him and Victor Moses was seeing a lot of the ball down the left flank.

After just six minutes Jordi Gomez had the first chance of the game when he found himself in space inside the Arsenal penalty area, only to see his shot deflected wide of the gaping goal mouth.

The build-up play was sublime with Moses beating two Arsenal defenders, before linking up with David Jones whose cross could not be finished off by Sammon or the Spaniard - denied by a fantastic save and a crucial defensive block.

Just three minutes later, Arsenal almost gave Latics a helping hand as left back Andre Santos attempted to chest the ball back to his keeper and almost putting it in his own net.

After that though, Arsenal gained control of the game.

Latics didn't close down well enough in the middle of the park and Arteta took a speculative effort from 30 yards out, the ball twisting and turning in the area and flashing straight over Ali Al Habsi's head and into the goal for 1-0.

It was soon 2-0 as an Arsenal corner drifted passed every Latics defender and straight onto the head of Vermaelen who powered his header home.

Latics struggled to create space on the pitch for a genuine effort on goal from then on but, the tempo did pick up when Franco Di Santo and Albert Crusat replaced Sammon and Gomez.

It was visible that Latics were trying to get the ball down and play but as soon as the Gunners were in possession they looked threatening and on 61 minutes, Van Persie twisted and turned inside the penalty area seeing his shot parried by Al Habsi straight into the path of Gervinho who had an open goal to aim at to make the game 3-0.

Latics were clearly frustrated by the pace of the Arsenal passing which resulted in both Gary Caldwell and Steve Gohouri seeing yellow cards.

Arsenal completed the victory 12 minutes from time with their top goalscorer Van Persie making it 14 goals in 14 games.

The goal was a little fortunate as Theo Walcott found himself one-on-one with Al Habsi only for Caldwell to make an excellent last ditch tackle.

The ball fell again though to Walcott who teed up Van Persie who subsequently slotted the ball into the net.

Latics carried on pushing for a goal on the counter attack but the soggy surface made it difficult to get the momentum going.

The defeat sees Arsenal climb the table into fifth and Latics drop to 20th position level on points with Bolton Wanderers but one less on goal difference.

Latics: Al Habsi, Stam, Figueroa, Gohouri, Caldwell, Diame (McArthur 89), Jones, McCarthy, Gomez (Crusat 59), Moses, Sammon (Di Santo 59)

Unused Subs: Pollitt, Lopez, Watson, Rodallega,

Arsenal: Szczesny, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos, Song (Arshavin 80), Ramsey, Arteta, Gervinho (Coquelin 80), Walcott (Benayoun 80), Van Persie

Unused Subs: Fabianski, Djourou, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh

    Data provided by Press Association