Arsenal enjoy early presents from Al Habsi

Wigan Athletic 0 Arsenal 4: Goalkeeper's two gaffes help the Gunners' 'other' strikers find form as Wigan fall to foot of the table

DW Stadium

From the moment Ali Al Habsi inexplicably allowed a speculative Mikel Arteta shot to slip through his hands and into the Wigan net there was only one team in this embarrassingly uneven confrontation. Arsenal, themselves strugglers barely two months ago, capitalised ruthlessly on their relegation-threatened opponents' alarming inadequacies to stroll to their most emphatic victory of a turbulent season which has seen them concede eight goals at Old Trafford and score five at Stamford Bridge.

For Wigan it was a day of bemusement. Roberto Martinez, their erudite manager, had asserted a week ago that the welcome victory which signalled the end of Steve Bruce's tenure at Sunderland would kickstart a more productive second half of the campaign.

After this abject display it is back to the drawing board for Martinez and his shattered troops, who are again propping up the Premier League with games against three more top clubs on the horizon. "We allowed Arsenal to win a little too easily," conceded Martinez. "We were excited going into the game because our level of play had been high in the previous two matches. We need to learn that we cannot give goals away like we did today when we are up against high-class opposition."

Wigan's manager resisted the urge to condemn his goalkeeper for the pivotal error in the 28th minute followed by another mistake a minute later, but the evidence against the Omani was overwhelming. Arteta is noted for his shooting power but his 25-yarder was routine catching practice for most goalkeepers and the blunder had a devastating effect on Wigan's fighting spirit.

Moments later a Robin van Persie corner to the far post landed on the head of Thomas Vermaelen, who again offered Al Habsi the opportunity of a comfortable save. Again the ball found its way through and what had begun as a tense battle was effectively over inside half an hour.

"Wigan had started well and caused us a few early problems," reflected Arsène Wenger, Arsenal's manager. "Overall it was a good team performance. The confidence is there now and I congratulate my team for growing and getting better and better."

Wenger was also delighted that Van Persie was given a welcome helping hand in the goal-scoring department before rounding off the victory with his 18th strike of the season, shortly after Gervinho had notched the clinching third in the second half. "It's good for the morale of the team that others can score as well," said Wenger, who spoke confidently of maintaining his record of serving up Champions' League football as a matter of course at the Emirates Stadium.

"The other teams in contention have also won comfortably today so it is going to come down to consistency in the latter stages of the season."

Van Persie must have feared this would be a rare day of frustration after suffering the backlash of Al Habsi's calamities. The Dutchman brought the save of the match from Al Habsi when connecting sweetly with a half-volley just inside the penalty area and was thwarted twice more before being presented with an irresistible tap-in by Theo Walcott.

Wigan were on their knees by then but could have added to their recent encouraging results here against Arsenal if Jordi Gomez had taken an outstanding early chance.

Wigan (4-1-3-2): Al Habsi; Stam, Gohouri, Caldwell, Figueroa; McCarthy; Gomez (Crusat, 59), Diamé (McArthur, 89), Jones; Sammon (Di Santo, 59), Moses.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Koscielny, Mertesacker,Vermaelen, Santos; Song (Arshavin, 80), Arteta; Walcott (Benayoun, 80), Ramsey, Gervinho (Coquelin, 80); Van Persie.

Referee Mark Clattenberg.

Man of the match Ramsey (Arsenal).

Match rating 8/10.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones