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Resurgent Arsenal crush rock-bottom Wigan

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03 Dec 2011 17:46:48

Resurgent Arsenal crush rock-bottom Wigan

Robin van Persie capped Arsenal's crushing 4-0 victory over Wigan at the DW Stadium with his 18th goal of the season as the Gunners moved up to fifth in the Premier League on Saturday.

Arsene Wenger's side were in control from the moment they scored two goals inside a minute midway through the first half with Thomas Vermaelen heading home in the 29th minute, immediately after Mikel Arteta had given the Gunners the lead.

Gervinho made it three in the 61st minute before in-form Dutch forward van Persie wrapped things up 12 minutes from time.

Three points continued Arsenal's impressive resurgence but this was another dismal afternoon for Wigan who now sink to the foot of the table.

Arsenal have endured some unhappy experiences at the DW Stadium, Wenger's side twice squandering two-goal leads in recent years.

Roberto Martinez's Wigan have endured a desperate start to the season but after securing a first win in 10 games at Sunderland on their last outing, a week after they were controversially denied victory over Blackburn, the manager was moved to talk of a turning point.

Wigan's short-lived improvement paled in comparison to Arsenal's increasingly impressive progress and, after losing four of their opening seven league games, the Gunners came into the game having won six of their last eight.

It was the home side, though, who started the game more confidently, immediately pressing Arsenal back into their own half and creating the first real chance of the match in the seventh minute.

Centre forward Connor Sammon had already made his physical presence felt when he bustled his way to the by-line on the left hand flank and delivered a cross to Jordi Gomez, whose close range shot was denied by a deflection off Vermaelen.

The miss summed up Wigan's problems in front of goal and, having failed to make the most of early pressure, Martinez's side showcased their failings at the other end of the pitch when they allowed Arteta to open the scoring in the 28th minute.

The home side inexplicably allowed the midfielder to advance 25 yards from the halfway line at walking pace and Arteta was never going to pass up the invitation to shoot.

Ali Al Habsi should have done much better with the swerving effort, but the Wigan keeper allowed the ball to fly through his hands.

The finger of blame for the second goal, scored just 60 seconds later, was pointed squarely at Al Habsi's defenders though when Vermaelen simply rose unhindered to head home van Persie's corner.

From being in a position where they could entertain reasonable ambitions of claiming a point, Wigan were suddenly a beaten side and it showed.

Arsenal's passing and movement improved while Wigan looked like a team devoid of belief and ready to write off the game.

To their credit, Martinez's side showed renewed spirit at the start of the second half, although they were fortunate to escape a strong appeal for an Arsenal penalty when Aaron Ramsey was manhandled by Steve Gohouri in the 50th minute.

After Mohamed Diame had flashed another shot narrowly wide of the Arsenal goal, the Gunners ended home hopes of a comeback with the third goal in the 61st minute.

Al Habsi reacted well to save van Persie's shot but could only push the ball into the path of Gervinho who finished into the roof of the net.


AFP

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