Arsenal returned to winning ways, after last weekend’s disappointing home draw with Fulham, with a convincing 4-0 win at Wigan on Saturday. Goals from Mikel Arteta and Thomas Vermaelen on the half-hour put the Gunners in control. Gervinho and Robin van Persie finished the job in the second half. This fine win extended Arsenal’s unbeaten run to seven league games and means Arsene Wenger’s men have now taken 19 points out of a possible 21. This victory was also their third in a row on the road.
Wigan began brightly and had their best opportunity as early as the sixth minute when David Jones got down the left and his cross was palmed out by Wojciech Szczesny to Jordi Gomez whose effort was blocked by Andre Santos. Arsenal then slowly began to get a grip of the game and took the lead in the 28th minute. Arteta was given room to advance forward unchallenged, before letting fly. Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi looked surprised as he got two hands on it but could not keep the ball out. The second goal came within a minute and was straightforward. Van Persie swung over a corner towards the back post and Vermaelen rose above his marker to power home a header off the inside of the post and his second in successive matches. Meanwhile, this was Arsenal’s first goal from a corner-kick this season at the 98th attempt!
Now in complete control, Arsenal dominated possession even further. The second half began like the first-ended with the visitors on the front-foot, pressing for the killer third goal. They should have been given the opportunity to make the game safe soon after the break when Aaron Ramsey broke into the area and was hauled to the ground by Steve Gohouri. However, referee Mark Clattenburg inexplicably decided not give the obvious penalty.
Arsenal got their third goal in the 61st minute after a flowing move involving 32 passes ended with Gervinho prodding the ball home from point-blank range. Al-Habsi had pushed away Van Persie’s shot, into the Ivorian’s path for him to get his first goal in five league matches. The fourth goal soon arrived from a predicatble source, with the only surprise was that it took van Persie till the 78th minute to get on the scoresheet.
Theo Walcott showed tremendous speed and strength to squeeze past his marker before laying back the ball for Van Persie to stroke home his 14th goal of the season in the Premier League. The Dutch forward now has 32 goals in 2011 and is just four off equalling Alan’s Shearer’s all-time Premier League record of 36. Also significantly, this was Walcott’s third assist in as many games and his improved form has been a vital factor in Arsenal’s recent revival.
The win takes Arsenal up to fifth in the Premier League table.
As you can see from the statistics above (via our Stats Centre powered by Opta) Arsenal totally dominated the game with almost two thirds of the possession, double the shots and a superior tackling rate. The most shocking statistic was the amount of passes. They attempted and completed more than double the amount of passes than Wigan and it’s quite rare to see this. It just showed the utter dominance and this was against a team who should have been buoyed by their win last weekend.
Mikel Arteta was top passer with 97 passes of which 85 were accurate (88%) and he also got a goal to his name. Another goalscorer Gervinho managed 30 out of 35 passes (86%). Both of these players also created one chance each.
Arsenal’s most accurate passer was Aaron Ramsey with a 95% pass accuracy (73/77 passes) and also created 3 chances for the Gunners without gaining an assist. The three assist makers were Van Persie, Walcott and Vermaelen of which two even got on the scoresheet.
The star man of the game was Robin Van Persie with a goal to his name, he also got an assist and created four chances. He also completed 40 out of 48 passes (83%) and completed 57% of his crosses found a fellow Gunner (excellent rate for crossing). He also had 4 shots of which 75% were on target.
Robin Van Persie is in the mood where everything he touches turns to gold and with the help of his team-mates (important to stress that there are many players on form in this team) that Arsenal are in the groove.