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Wenger urges Gunners to stay on target at Wigan

Arsene Wenger has challenged his young Arsenal side to deliver consistency as they look to build on victory over title rivals Chelsea by seeing off Premier League strugglers Wigan tonight.

The Gunners finally ended their hoodoo against the Blues with a 3-1 triumph at Emirates Stadium which boosted their championship challenge while also casting Carlo Ancelotti's out-of-form side adrift as they now sit down in fifth place.

There is, though, little time for Arsenal to revel in a first win over Chelsea in six attempts as they head up to the DW Stadium, where they will be without captain Cesc Fabregas after he collected a fifth booking.

With the Gunners three points behind leaders Manchester United, Wenger knows there can be no margin of error.

"The win over Chelsea keeps us in touch with the top teams, and also what is very important as well is that it can strengthen the belief we will have our say in this championship," maintained the Arsenal manager.

"The most consistent team will make it in the end, and that is what is at stake. Let's see if we can turn up with a fantastic performance now tonight."


Wenger had indicated he was set to make changes at Wigan in addition to the enforced absence of Fabregas.

Andrey Arshavin was left warming the bench on Monday night, and so could come back into the XI, while Abou Diaby -- fit from an ankle problem -- is expected to deputise for Fabregas and striker Marouane Chamakh may also start.

Theo Walcott could perhaps consider himself unlucky were he to be among the substitutes again tonight after an impressive display, capped by a ninth goal from 16 appearances.

"It was nice to get in the starting line-up and show the boss what I can do. Hopefully I can stay there now. I just have to play well when I can," said Walcott, who was sidelined for several weeks after suffering an ankle injury when away with England during September.

"I know it's going to be a tough period, there's going to be chops and changes, I know that because it's very busy.

"There's a lot of games, you don't want to put too much work on yourself.

"So I'm sure there will be a lot of changes on Wednesday but I feel fit, I'm ready to go."


Boss Roberto Martinez acknowledges Wigan's amazing victory over Arsenal last season was one of the greatest days in the club's history -- but he would prefer the Latics not to leave themselves with quite so much to do tonight.

Wigan recovered from two goals down against the Gunners to score three times in the final 10 minutes last April and secure a victory that allowed them to retain their top-flight status.

It was one of those heart-stopping days that will never be forgotten by anyone who was there and will doubtless be used as motivation by both Martinez and Arsene Wenger in their pre-match team-talks.

"That comeback is still very fresh in the mind," said the Latics chief.

"I remember being so pleased with our overall performance. We were never second best, and although we were down, we finished strongly and achieved our aim of staying in the Premier League.

"But ideally, we won't give them another lead like that because it is so difficult to pull back."