Arteta effort enough for Gunners
Published 22/12/2012 | 14:54
Mikel Arteta's penalty proved enough for Arsenal to defeat Wigan 1-0 and make it three Barclays Premier League victories in a row for the first time since March.
There was very little between the sides and it was the hosts who had the best chance of the first half but it was wasted by Arouna Kone. The goal came on the hour mark after Jean Beausejour was deemed to have fouled Theo Walcott, much to the anger of the Wigan fans, and Arteta made no mistake.
The three points lifted Arsenal up to third ahead of Chelsea, who play on Sunday, while Wigan remain in the bottom three and have now taken only one point from their last five games.
Arsenal had the first chance of the game in the ninth minute when Arteta was allowed time and space to drive forward and play in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right but his shot was well saved at the near post by Ali Al Habsi, who also saved a stinging shot from Lukas Podolski.
Wigan were more than matching their opponents for neat passing moves. The frustration for the hosts was they could not turn possession into chances, with both Ronnie Stam and Beausejour having a crossing off day.
Kone timed his run to perfection in the 24th minute to collect Franco Di Santo's through ball but, with only Wojciech Szczesny to beat, dragged his shot horribly wide.
Four minutes before half-time Jack Wilshere entered referee Jon Moss's book for a sliding challenge on Shaun Maloney but it was harsh on the midfielder who appeared to time the tackle to perfection.
Walcott was the key man when Arsenal did break the deadlock after an hour as Moss judged Walcott was pushed by Beausejour in the area. Arteta was coolness personified from the spot, sending Al Habsi the wrong way.
With 20 minutes to go, the Latics twice tested Szczesny, first Maynor Figueroa sending in a low skidding shot and then Kone drawing a block from the Pole. Szczesny was then a spectator a couple of minutes later as James McArthur set up David Jones on the edge of the box for a shot that flew just wide of the upright.
Stam finally found a decent cross in the 82nd minute but it was stabbed clear by Per Mertesacker with Kone waiting for a tap-in, and two late appeals for handball in the area were turned down to complete a thoroughly frustrating afternoon for the hosts.