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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
18:11 16th April 2012

REPORT: ARSENAL 1 LATICS 2

More history made as Latics are victorious at the Emirates

ARSENAL 1

Vermaelen 21

WIGAN ATHLETIC 2

Di Santo 7
Gomez 8

Report by Nick Taylor

With a surge of energy and determined defending, Latics were at it again as they turned in an outstanding performance against one of the country's top sides.

The away team came out of the blocks with a bang with Franco di Santo opening the scoring on seven minutes and Jordi Gomez doubling the lead just a minute later.

Thomas Vermaelen pulled one back for Arsenal but, Latics held on to pull themselves five points clear of the relegation zone.

Hot off the heels of their fantastic 1-0 victory over Manchester United last Wednesday, Latics were forced into a crucial change as the man of the match from that game Shaun Maloney was forced out due to a minor knock in training with Gomez his replacement.

The Spaniard was right in the thick of the action from the off as he and Victor Moses broke down the left hand side after a period of initial pressure from Arsenal.

Gomez lifted his head up as he advanced down the wing and spotted an on-rushing Di Santo, laying in an inch perfect pass to the striker's feet.

Di Santo still had a world of work to do as the large frame of Wojciech Szczesny was still to be beaten.

The Argentinian attempted to lift the ball over the on-rushing keeper but, the ball flicked high into the air.

To the striker's advantage it came down quickly and he had an open goal to slot the ball into.

Instantly Latics were straight on Arsenal once more.

This time it was a moment of magic from Moses that put Latics in for the second goal.

The Nigerian international twisted and turned down the left hand side and with a fine sweeped turn on the ball, he beat Bacary Sagna and clipped the ball across goal.

First James McCarthy launched himself at the ball and saw it deflect off a defender, then Gomez put his body on the line going into a challenge with Szczesny and coming out on top to tap the ball into the goal at the front post.

It was exhilarating stuff and Arsenal wanted to play their part too.

Latics were made to defend time and time again as the Gunners looked for a route into the box from the wings.

After failed attempts, Tomas Rosicky finally found his man with a looped cross towards an unmarked Vermaelen.

Ali Al Habsi was in inspired form in the first half pulling off a string of world class saves but, the header was just too powerful.

As the home side looked to press for an equaliser, Latics jumped at the chance to counter them and as half time beckoned, Maynor Figueroa surged forward spreading play to the right.

Di Santo received the ball out wide and drilled a low cross into the danger zone.

The ball fell invitingly into the penalty box but, there weren't enough Latics bodies around to capitalise.

Following the interval, it was the same story once again.

Arsenal had Latics defending for prolonged periods but, with an explosion of pace, Moses, Di Santo and Jean Beausejour countered with a real sense of adventure.

Moses could well have made the evening more comfortable for Latics on 59 minutes when he broke free of the Arsenal back line, muscling off Sagna on his way.

The winger had just the keeper to beat but chose to shoot from distance rather than run into the space, his shot was comfortably saved.

It was jaw-dropping stuff for the next 30 minutes as Arsenal continued to launch cross after cross and corner after corner into the box.

Captain Gary Caldwell and his solid back line were on hand every time to clear the ball and helped hold the Gunners out.

Martinez then made to key substitutions as the battling pair of Gomez and Di Santo were replaced by Mohamed Diame and Conor Sammon who added that extra bit of energy that they needed.

By the run of play in the final stages it was as though Latics were pushing for an equaliser not Arsenal, as Sammon and Diame continued towards goal with the ball with the latter getting a shot away from just inside the right of the penalty box.

The game didn't need a third though and Latics held firm to see out a momentous victory.

It is four wins in five games for Martinez's men as they continue to surprise onlookers in the final run-in towards the end of the season.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou (Oxlade-Chamberlain 74), Vermaelen, Santos, Arteta (Ramsey 9), Song, Rosicky, Benayoun (Gervinho 61), Walcott, Van Persie
Unused Subs: Fabianski, Squillaci, Gibbs, Chamakh

Wigan Athletic: Al Habsi, Boyce, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa, Beausejour, McArthur, McCarthy, Gomez (Diame 86), Moses, Di Santo (Sammon 75)
Unused Subs: Pollitt, Stam, Watson, Jones, McManaman

    Data provided by Press Association