Arsenal took their opportunities today, and Wigan's final ball wasn't good enough despite a spirited pressing performance.
0 - 1 Mikel Arteta 60' pk
Arsenal took all three points at the DW Stadium today with a little bit of luck and some sand in the rain. Wigan had chances and put pressure on the Gunners for much of the game, but a combination of woeful final balls and Wojciech Szczesny kept the ball out of Arsenal's net, and a Mikel Arteta penalty saw them through.
Arsenal did indeed start with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right and Theo Walcott as the central striker, as Olivier Giroud was ill along with Tomas Rosicky.
Wigan started out brightly, controlling the agenda for the first nine minutes, but ten minutes on, wit was Ox that would have the first shot on target, played in on the right by Mikel Arteta. Ali Al-Habsi made a good reflex save low to his left, though. Aroune Kone missed a chance to spot Ronnie Stam as Wigan came up the other end, before Al-Habsi saved a Lukas Podolski shot.
The match was pretty static, with Wigan controlling much of the possession. Franco di Santo played a marvelous pass to put Kone through, Mertesacker left in the dust, but Kone put it wide of the far post, badly, under pressure from Wojciech Szczesny.
The game returned to being a congested midfield battle. The first half was really pretty dire stuff, actually. Jack Wilshere earned a yellow for no good reason after a good tackle where he won the ball on 41 minutes.
Half time arrived, bearing gifts of mercy.
The second half started better for both sides. Santi put Ox through on the right on 49 minutes, and his cutback went to Walcott, whose shot wasn't the greatest and saved by Al-Habsi.
Arsenal were looking a bit sharper, though, and 60 minutes in, Walcott managed to get around Jean Beausejour in the Wigan penalty area, and there was enough contact to trip Walcott from behind, needlessly for Beausejour, as he had cover.
Penalty to Arsenal; Mikel Arteta stepped up to convert. He did. 1 - 0 to Arsenal, 60 minutes in.
Wigan were far from done, though. After a couple of awkward corners conceded by Per Mertesacker, Wigan were finding some chances, and Szczesny had to make a good save from a deflected shot on 68 minutes and then an even better save as Kone broke through on goal a minute later.
75 minutes on in a much more open game now, Ox came off for Aaron Ramsey. Walcott put a free kick over. Franco di Santo came off for Callum McManaman on 77 minutes. 79 minutes on, Francis Coquelin replaced Lukas Podolski. Cazorla moved out to the left.
Wigan were really looking good come the 82nd minute, Ronnie Stam once again breaking through on the right, Kieran Gibbs nowhere to be seen. Arsenal could hardly hang on to the ball as Wigan turned the screws. Jordi Gomez had a couple of efforts blocked as stoppage time loomed. Laurent Koscielny replaced santi Cazorla.