Premier League match time dawns at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal get ready to host Wigan on January 22 in match week 24.
This is a second leg meeting between the sides, this season; the first that was played in Wigan's home ground, the DW Stadium, on December 29, 2010, was a 2-2 draw. Pent Shed WiganThe game exposed the Gunners' porous defence, as the hosts went into the lead on 18 minutes, off a penalty taken by Watson, after N'Zogbia was brought down by Koscielny.
Arsenal drew level on the back of Arshavin's strike in the 39th minute, and appeared heading for a comfortable victory when Bendtner put them ahead 5 minutes later, off an assist from Arshavin. Squillaci's own goal on 81 minutes brought the hosts level, and a point from a game the Latics were not expected to win.
While Wigan would have been happy with the result, for Arsenal it was a poor game on many counts. Inexplicably, Wenger made 8 changes to the squad that had beaten champions Chelsea in their previous game.
Apart from a weak back-line, the Gunners were also less effective in midfield. Djourou would have been a better alternative to Squillaci in defence. Likewise, having Denilson in midfield did not translate into better control for Wenger's men.
There was no holding midfielder and that meant that Arshavin was pushed back into a defensive mould, a role he does not relish; Arsenal missed the services of Clichy and Johan.
Wenger was also peeved with a handball from Wigan in the penalty area on 89 minutes that referee Wilson chose to ignore. But in the end, Wigan deserved a point from the game for their perseverance.
Head to head, in 8 league meetings between the sides, the Gunners have established a 5-1 advantage over the Latics.
In their last 5 league games, Arsenal have won 3 while drawing the remaining 2; Wigan have had 1 win and 3 draws while losing the one remaining game in their last 5.
Arsenal have had a reasonably good home record this season with 6 of 10 games won, while losing 3 and drawing the one. Wigan's away record has been less impressive, with 2 wins in 10 games on the road, while drawing and losing 4 games each.
In their latest game away against West Ham in match week 23, Arsenal won by a 3-0 margin; Wigan's last game at home against Fulham ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
On current form, Arsenal should prevail over Wigan, on January 22.
Arsenal's starting eleven against West Ham had Szczesny, Eboue, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Walcott, Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie. Denilson, Arshavin and Gibbs were used as substitutes.