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.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

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

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week