Wigan Athletic 0 Arsenal 4

Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen celebrates the opening goal scored by Arsenal's Mikel Arteta during the Barclays Premier League match at the DW Stadium
Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen celebrates the opening goal scored by Arsenal's Mikel Arteta during the Barclays Premier League match at the DW Stadium

LATICS’ mini-resurgence came to a crushing halt at the hands of a Gunners side with far too much power.

Despite a promising opening quarter when Jordi Gomez should have opened the scoring, Arsenal took control with two goals in the space of a minute just before the half hour from Mikel Arteta and Thomas Vermaelen.

And second-half efforts from Gervinho and top scorer Robin van Persie closed the doors on any chance of a third Latics fightback in as many years in this fixture.

Results elsewhere meant Latics dropped back to the foot of the Premier League table, and it won’t be easy moving back up with such a demanding December programme to come.

Roberto Martinez had named the same starting XI for the third match in a row, hoping to build on a points haul of four from the last two games.

And the home side were out of the blocks to a flyer, coming close to taking the lead with just five minutes on the clock.

David Jones crossed from the left and Wojciech Szczesny palmed the ball away from an onrushing Conor Sammon.

Gomez looked a cert to score from the rebound, only for his shot to deflect wide off an unwitting defender.

A minute later, though, Arsenal gave a swift reminder of their danger when Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey led a counter-attack which found Gervinho, although the striker was crowded out and the ball was run out of play off Van Persie.

The visitors then enjoyed a sustained period of possession inside the Wigan half without really testing Ali Al Habsi.

But all that changed just after the midway point of the half.

Arteta - not for the first time - was given far too much time and space 30 yards from goal, and his shot seemed to move into the air which completely deceived Al Habsi.

The hill Latics had left themselves to climb became a mountain within a minute, when Van Persie’s corner was headed home at the far post by Vermaelen.

Again Al Habsi won’t have been happy to have been beaten on his near post, but questions will also asked how Vermaelen came to get the better of two Wigan defenders to get his header in.

Wigan’s player of the season made partial amends on 34 minutes when Gervinho teed up Van Persie, whose left-foot shot was bound for the top corner before Al Habsi stuck out a strong left hand and diverted it to safety.

Al Habsi then denied Gervinho, who had raced clean through on to a Van Persie pass, although the offside flag was up in any case.

Gervinho was in again just before the interval, again off Van Persie, and the Gunners man managed to round Al Habsi, although he’d taken himself far too wide and Jones was able to nick the ball away.

Jones was on hand at the start of the second half to get in a vital toe to stop Walcott in his tracks, before Gomez fired high and wide from a decent position.

Latics had a massive escape four minutes after the restart when Ramsey advanced into the area and was about to pull the trigger before he was tugged back by Steve Gohouri.

It looked a cast-iron penalty – and an inevitable red card for the Ivorian - but referee Mark Clattenburg waved play on to the obvious disgust of the Gunners players.

In fairness, Gohouri had appeared to have been fouled by Van Persie in the lead-up, which presented Ramsey with his opportunity, so justice was probably done.

Arsene Wenger arguably wouldn’t have seen it like that, and he would have been fuming had Sammon got on the end of a teasing cross from Victor Moses as Latics pressed at the other end.

It was nearly game over on 53 minutes when Van Persie got free at the far post and headed back across goal, only for Gary Caldwell – who had just been booked for clattering Ramsey - to clear off his own goal-line.

Latics came close again moments later when Momo Diame fired a daisy-cutter that only just sneaked past the far post, with Szczesny not getting there.

The Wigan boss showed his hand on the hour mark when he sent on last week’s goal hero Franco di Santo and Albert Crusat for Sammon and Gomez - but neither managed to touch the ball before the game was put beyond Latics.

Van Persie showed neat footwork to evade two would-be tacklers inside the area and, although his shot was parried away by Al Habsi, Gervinho was quickest to react to bundle the ball home from close range.

It should have been four moments later when, after Alex Song had been fouled on the edge of the area, the official waved play on with the ball at Van Persie’s feet.

But the man who can’t do wrong this season was, for once, off target and his right-foot shot flew past the post.

A marauding run from the impressive James McCarthy set-up Wigan’s next foray, although the finish from Di Santo was deflected away for a corner.

Another break from Latics seemed to have run its course after Crusat’s ball to Moses was hopelessly overhit, although the winger managed to keep things going and find Ronnie Stam.

The Dutchman played a nice one-two with Di Santo, before going to ground after a nudge from Vermaelen, although Clattenburg again waved play on.

And salt was applied to the Wigan wounds when Arsenal went right up the other end and made it four, Walcott teeing up Van Persie for a simple tap-in.

Arsenal were playing with Latics in the closing stages, and only superb covering from Caldwell prevented number five going in after substitute Yossi Benayoun had sprung the offside track and lobbed the ball over Al Habsi.

Latics: Al Habsi 6; Gohouri 7, Caldwell 7, Figueroa 6; Stam 8, McCarthy 8, Diame 7, Jones 7; Gomez 6, Sammon 6, Moses 6. Subs: Pollitt, Lopez, Crusat (for Gomez, 59) 6, McArthur (for Diame, 89), Watson, Di Santo (for Sammon, 59) 6, Rodallega.

Arsenal: Sczesny; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos; Walcott, Ramsey, Song, Arteta; Gervinho, Van Persie. Subs: Fabianski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Djourou, Arshavin (for Song, 80), Coquelin (for Walcott, 80), Chamakh, Benayoun (for Gervinho, 80).