Fabregas is a ‘clever cheat’, says Martinez

Arsenal 3 Wigan Athletic 0

Wigan surrendered meekly to their customary defeat at Arsenal yesterday but their manager did not. Roberto Martinez enlivened the post-match debate by accusing Cesc Fabregas of cheating after Gary Caldwell incurred the ninth red card of his career for a foul on the Arsenal captain. Martinez tempered his view by indicating this was a back-handed compliment from one Spaniard to another, but Fabregas is unlikely to be amused.

Perhaps Martinez was seeking to deflect attention from his team's performance. Had it not been for the heroics of goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, Arsenal would have been approaching double figures. As it was they settled for three, all scored by Robin van Persie, who would have converted his first hat-trick in English League football into a quartet had he not missed a penalty.

Van Persie has now scored six goals in four matches and looks to have finally regained the form he was in before suffering a serious injury in November 2009. Given that Marouane Chamakh's performances have dipped, and Andrei Arshavin continues to disappoint, his revival is timely.

Manchester City's defeat means Arsenal are back in second place with Manchester United still to come to the Emirates. "We get stronger and stronger, the way we play is fantastic to watch, let's just keep going," said Arsène Wenger, adding: "We were outstanding in the first half, although the players were a bit frustrated at half-time as we did not take our chances maybe."

"I was pleased with the reaction in the second half but we were very disappointed with our first-half performance," said Martinez. "Only Ali played to his level. If I could have changed 10 players at half-time, I would have. We didn't cope with the tempo of the game. We didn't keep the ball well enough. We played to Arsenal's strengths. We played with fear."

Martinez then said Fabregas was "clever at buying a decision", adding: "In England that is cheating, in South America, Spain, Italy, it is being clever. There was contact, but it was soft." To neutral observers the penalty looked clear-cut, but in the first half Fabregas did look to fall dramatically over Caldwell's leg, and dive into the area, in an attempt to win a spot-kick (a free-kick, on the edge of the box, was awarded).

It took just a minute for Samir Nasri to bring the first save from Al Habsi as Arsenal started at their customary rush. The Omani keeper made seven saves in the opening 45 minutes.

Arsenal could not be denied completely and their goal came midway through the half. With Alex Song in possession, both Gary and Stephen Caldwell stepped up but Maynor Figueroa played Van Persie onside. Song fed the Dutchman, who whipped his shot past Al Habsi.

Arsenal remained in control after the break and doubled their lead when a deep Fabregas free-kick picked out Van Persie running off Gary Caldwell. He made a difficult first-time volleyed finish look deceptively easy.

The hat-trick should have been completed a dozen minutes later. Song, having a quietly impressive match, slid the ball through for Fabregas, who was tripped by Gary Caldwell as he shaped to shoot. There was no arguing with the red card, whatever Martinez's post-match view. However, Van Persie thrashed it into the stratosphere, before sinking to his knees in despair.

His treble was only delayed, however. With four minutes left Fabregas and Theo Walcott combined for Van Persie to drive in a thunderous shot.

Attendance: 59,552

Referee: Kevin Friend

Man of the match: Van Persie

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
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

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence