Arsenal get late win over Wigan
Gunners punish unlucky Latics with two late goals
Last Updated: 24/11/07 5:49pm
Arsenal recorded another late victory at the Emirates Stadium, scoring twice in the last 10 minutes to defeat an unfortunate Wigan side.
In what was Frank Barlow's final game as caretaker manager before Steve Bruce takes over on Monday, an Arsenal side missing a number of key men including Cesc Fabregas, Gilberto Silva, Alexander Hleb and Robin van Persie struggled to find any space against a resilient Wigan side.
But, as the visitors appeared to have done enough to earn a point, William Gallas headed home from close range before Tomas Rosicky made it 2-0 a couple of minutes later on the counter-attack.
But there was bad news for Arsene Wenger as the lively Theo Walcott was stretchered off 10 minutes from time following a collision with the returning Emile Heskey.
It was a bright start by the home side, with Walcott involved in the early sorties deep into Wigan territory.
However, in the fifth minute, the Latics - who had lost seven straight in the league - thought they had snatched a shock lead when Marcus Bent was put clear and beat Manuel Almunia only to be called back by the offside flag.
Wigan had another chance when Paul Scharner sent a free header wide from a left-wing corner.
Arsenal were unable to find their normal passing rhythm as Wigan were quick to close the hosts down.
After 21 minutes, though, the Gunners cut the visitors open with a fine exchange of passes on the edge of the box.
Full-back Bacary Sagna fed Emmanuel Adebayor, who turned his marker and played a neat one-two with Walcott. The African then drilled in a low shot from the penalty spot, which Mike Pollitt kept out with a fine reaction save.
Walcott was at the centre of Arsenal's attacks - and a dash down the right to cut the ball back from the goal-line deserved better than Emmanuel Eboue to miss his kick completely inside the six-yard box at the near post.
There was a warning for Arsenal, though, when Bent put a header over following a deep cross from Emmerson Boyce.
With 10 minutes to go to the break, a desperate block from Salomon Olembe denied Walcott - in the Wigan six-yard box again.
Slowly Arsenal started to mount a sustained period of pressure, if without being able to find a telling pass with which to unlock the Wigan defence.
The home fans were starting to show their frustrations as promising attacks came to nothing with almost an hour played.
When a flowing move did release Adebayor into the box, Boyce made a fine saving tackle.
Then suddenly at the other end, a mix-up between Gallas and Kolo Toure gifted the ball to Bent just outside the Arsenal area. However, the Wigan striker was not able to make the most of his unexpected chance and drilled a low shot wide.
Pollitt again showed good reactions to beat away the ball at his near post following a deflected free-kick from Denilson.
Tempers flared when Bent went through to back of Denilson in the centre circle, and after calm was restored, referee Peter Walton consulted his assistant and showed the Wigan striker only a yellow card.
Gallas and Heskey were then also both shown yellow cards following a needless altercation, before a reckless sliding challenge from the Wigan striker left Walcott in a heap on the far side and he was carried off, replaced by Nicklas Bendtner.
Arsenal finally got themselves in front with just seven minutes left.
Sagna's first-time cross to the near post saw Gallas arrive ahead of marker Titus Bramble to nod the ball past Pollitt.The result was assured when Rosicky was fed on the overlap by Bendtner and he made no mistake from the edge of the box, netting off the inside of the far post.
|Arsenal||Team Statistics||Wigan Athletic|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|3||Shots on Target||1|
|8||Shots off Target||6|
Barclays Premier League
|7||West Ham United||22||36|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||22||22|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||22||19|