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Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Saturday, 22 January 2011

Arsenal   3 - 0   Wigan

Robin van Persie (left) puts Arsenal ahead
Van Persie fires past Al Habsi to give Arsenal the lead after 21 minutes

By Tim Love

Robin van Persie scored his first Premier League hat-trick as Arsenal outclassed Wigan.

Keeper Ali Al Habsi gave Wigan hope with superb saves, the best of them denied Cesc Fabregas and Van Persie.

But he was finally beaten when Van Persie lashed in from inside the box and again when the Dutchman sweetly volleyed in from Fabregas's long pass.

Van Persie skied a penalty, conceded by Gary Caldwell who was sent off, and also hit the post before scoring his third with a shot at the near post.

Arsenal's victory keeps them in touch with leaders Manchester United and moves them above Manchester City to second place in the table - although the Eastlands side play later on Saturday.

The performance was a sign of real intent for Arsenal as they continue their pursuit for silverware on four fronts - and with Van Persie firing on all cylinders, the odds look good on them winning a first trophy since 2005.

Wenger attributes win to team effort

Home form could well determine the Gunners' success, this match being the first of four games for them at the Emirates in 11 days - and on this evidence they will fancy their chances of winning them all.

Wigan looked every inch a side languishing in the relegation zone and there was never any indication they would arrest a run that had seen them lose all of their previous eight Premier League matches at Arsenal.

But take nothing away from Arsenal, who were driven on by the brilliance of Van Persie and Fabregas and only prevented from being out of sight at half-time by the feats of Al Habsi.

The Wigan stopper saved from the lively Samir Nasri early on and followed that up with a better stop to deny Van Persie from close range.

Both Fabregas and Van Persie had returned to the starting line-up after being on the substitutes' bench for the FA Cup win over Leeds in midweek - and the pair were at their influential best.

It was the Dutchman who finally ended Wigan's resistance when he cracked home first time from Song's through ball.

Fabregas almost followed his team-mate's example but a lunge from Gary Caldwell brilliantly blocked his shot.

The Spaniard was then denied by Al Habsi again when the keeper beat away his rising drive.

606: DEBATE
The Adventures of Batmanu Eboué and RobinVanPersie

A great pass from Van Persie split Wigan's defence and gave Theo Walcott a free run on goal, but the winger bizarrely opted to square the ball for the onrushing Fabregas, who was tackled by Mohamed Diame.

Al Habsi kept Arsenal at bay yet again when he tipped over Nasri's fizzing effort and Wigan were grateful to reach the interval only one goal down.

But the onslaught continued after the restart, with Nasri and Walcott firing off target.

When the second goal came, it was a belter - Fabregas launching an inch-perfect ball over the top for Van Persie to volley in without breaking stride.

Two goals down and with little chance of getting back into the game, Wigan's task was made impossible when Gary Caldwell was dismissed for bringing down Fabregas in the box.

It was the first penalty Wigan have conceded in the league all season, but Van Persie failed to convert when he smashed the ball high over the bar.

Martinez frustrated by unimposing Wigan

And when the Dutch striker curled a sublime effort against the post shortly after, it seemed he would miss out on his hat-trick.

Then with five minutes left, Walcott held the ball up in the area and Van Persie duly cracked home from close range.

While Arsenal will revel in having a fully-fit and in-form Van Persie available, Wigan will be glad to leave London and look to resume their fight against relegation in their next game - against fellow strugglers Aston Villa.

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Arsenal 3-0 Wigan FT
(HT 1-0)
  • Van Persie 21
  • Van Persie 58
  • Van Persie 85

    Arsenal

    Substitutes

    Wigan

    Substitutes

    Ref: FriendAtt: 59,552
    ARSENAL
    WIGAN

    Possession

    • Arsenal 58%
    • Wigan 42%

    Attempts on target

    • Arsenal 15
    • Wigan 1

    Attempts off target

    • Arsenal 8
    • Wigan 2

    Corners

    • Arsenal 8
    • Wigan 1

    Fouls

    • Arsenal 6
    • Wigan 14
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+3:01 The referee blows for the end of the match.
    • 90:00+2:14 Corner from right by-line taken by Andrey Arshavin.
    • 90:00+0:10 The assistant referee flags for offside against Franco Di Santo. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.
    • 89:37 Theo Walcott has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.
    • 88:31 Bacary Sagna takes a shot. Hendry Thomas gets a block in.
    • 86:32 Foul by Franco Di Santo on Laurent Koscielny, free kick awarded. Laurent Koscielny restarts play with the free kick.
    • 84:45 The assist for the goal came from Theo Walcott.
    • 84:45 Substitution Francesc Fabregas goes off and Neves Denilson comes on.
    • 84:45 Substitution Robin van Persie goes off and Marouane Chamakh comes on.
    • 84:45 GOAL - Robin van PersieArsenal 3 - 0 Wigan Robin van Persie finds the net with a goal from inside the penalty box to the top left corner of the goal. Arsenal 3-0 Wigan.
    • 83:48 Alex Song has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
    • 83:04 The referee blows for offside. Wojciech Szczesny restarts play with the free kick.
    • 82:24 Francesc Fabregas concedes a free kick for a foul on Ben Watson. Free kick taken by Hendry Thomas.
    • 79:27 Franco Di Santo fouled by Andrey Arshavin, the ref awards a free kick. James McArthur restarts play with the free kick.
    • 77:03 Substitution (Wigan) makes a substitution, with Emmerson Boyce coming on for Charles N'Zogbia.
    • 76:16 Foul by Franco Di Santo on Laurent Koscielny, free kick awarded. Jack Wilshere takes the direct free kick.
    • 74:22 Substitution Andrey Arshavin replaces Samir Nasri.
    • Correction - 73:07 Robin van Persie takes a shot from just outside the area and strikes the post.
    • 73:07 Robin van Persie produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that goes wide left of the target.
    • 71:04 Header by Franco Di Santo from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.
    • 69:18 Penalty missed over the bar by Robin van Persie.
    • 69:18 Gary Caldwell challenges Francesc Fabregas unfairly and gives away a Penalty.
    • 69:18 Sent off The referee shows Gary Caldwell a red card for professional foul.
    • 68:06 Francesc Fabregas has shot on goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
    • 67:36 Laurent Koscielny fouled by Franco Di Santo, the ref awards a free kick. Jack Wilshere restarts play with the free kick.
    • 66:24 Unfair challenge on Bacary Sagna by Hendry Thomas results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.
    • 66:24 Booking Hendry Thomas receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
    • 65:18 Jack Wilshere has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide right of the goal.
    • 64:20 Header by Franco Di Santo from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.
    • 62:51 Francesc Fabregas challenges Gary Caldwell unfairly and gives away a free kick. Gary Caldwell takes the free kick.
    • 58:57 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Bacary Sagna by Hugo Rodallega. Direct free kick taken by Robin van Persie.
    • 57:37 Assist by Francesc Fabregas.
    • 57:37 GOAL - Robin van PersieArsenal 2 - 0 Wigan A goal is scored by Robin van Persie from close in low into the middle of the goal. Arsenal 2-0 Wigan.
    • 57:20 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Alex Song by Ben Watson. Alex Song takes the free kick.
    • 56:03 Effort from deep inside the area by Theo Walcott misses to the right of the target.
    • 52:25 Francesc Fabregas takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, Steve Gohouri makes a clearance.
    • 52:12 Samir Nasri takes a shot. Blocked by Steven Caldwell.
    • 51:12 Samir Nasri fouled by Steve Gohouri, the ref awards a free kick. Samir Nasri takes the free kick.
    • 49:26 Hugo Rodallega takes a shot. Blocked by Alex Song.
    • 45:01 The second half has started.
    • 45:01 Substitution Ronnie Stam goes off and James McArthur comes on.
    • 45:01 Substitution Franco Di Santo comes on in place of Mohamed Diame.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+1:06 The players leave the pitch at half time.
    • 44:33 Hendry Thomas concedes a free kick for a foul on Francesc Fabregas. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Francesc Fabregas, Gary Caldwell manages to make a clearance.
    • 40:54 Free kick awarded for a foul by Gary Caldwell on Francesc Fabregas. Francesc Fabregas restarts play with the free kick.
    • 39:52 Samir Nasri takes a shot. Ali Al Habsi makes a save.
    • 38:29 Corner taken by Robin van Persie from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Maynor Figueroa.
    • 38:19 Francesc Fabregas takes a shot. Ali Al Habsi makes a save.
    • 37:56 Corner taken right-footed by Samir Nasri from the left by-line, Steve Gohouri makes a clearance.
    • 37:44 Samir Nasri takes a shot. Save by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 36:41 The referee blows for offside. Ali Al Habsi takes the indirect free kick.
    • 34:18 Robin van Persie takes a shot from just outside the penalty area which clears the crossbar.
    • 33:50 Theo Walcott takes a shot. Blocked by Steven Caldwell.
    • 33:37 The offside flag is raised against Mohamed Diame. Alex Song takes the free kick.
    • 32:43 Corner taken by Ben Watson, Johan Djourou makes a clearance.
    • 31:52 The assistant referee flags for offside against Samir Nasri. Ali Al Habsi takes the free kick.
    • 31:09 Corner taken short by Robin van Persie.
    • 30:42 Shot by Francesc Fabregas. Save made by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 29:30 Francesc Fabregas fouled by Mohamed Diame, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
    • 25:09 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mohamed Diame by Alex Song. Ben Watson restarts play with the free kick.
    • 24:39 The assistant referee signals for offside against Francesc Fabregas. Indirect free kick taken by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 23:50 Free kick awarded for a foul by Hendry Thomas on Francesc Fabregas. Free kick crossed left-footed by Robin van Persie, clearance by Steve Gohouri.
    • 20:59 Assist by Alex Song.
    • 20:59 GOAL - Robin van PersieArsenal 1 - 0 Wigan Robin van Persie scores a goal from inside the penalty area low into the middle of the goal. Arsenal 1-0 Wigan.
    • 16:17 Francesc Fabregas fouled by Gary Caldwell, the ref awards a free kick. Strike comes in from Theo Walcott from the free kick, Ali Al Habsi makes a save.
    • 15:04 Inswinging corner taken by Robin van Persie, save made by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 14:51 Francesc Fabregas takes a shot. Blocked by Gary Caldwell.
    • 12:17 Unfair challenge on Maynor Figueroa by Theo Walcott results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 11:13 Unfair challenge on Hendry Thomas by Gael Clichy results in a free kick. Gary Caldwell restarts play with the free kick.
    • 9:17 Gary Caldwell concedes a free kick for a foul on Francesc Fabregas. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Samir Nasri, Hendry Thomas gets a block in.
    • 7:45 Samir Nasri takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Maynor Figueroa manages to make a clearance.
    • 7:28 Robin van Persie takes a shot. Ali Al Habsi makes a fantastic save.
    • 4:12 Francesc Fabregas is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 3:54 Francesc Fabregas has an effort at goal. Blocked by Steven Caldwell.
    • 3:27 Corner taken by Samir Nasri from the left by-line to the near post, Mohamed Diame manages to make a clearance.
    • 3:12 Samir Nasri takes a shot. Save by Ali Al Habsi.
    • 1:33 Theo Walcott is penalised for a handball. Ali Al Habsi takes the free kick.
    • 0:00 The game gets underway.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Barclays Premier League table snapshot

    As it stood on 22 Jan 2011 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Man Utd 22 29 48
    2 Arsenal 23 26 46
    3 Man City 24 17 45
    4 Chelsea 22 19 38
    5 Tottenham 23 6 38
    6 Sunderland 24 4 37
    7 Newcastle 23 3 30
    8 Bolton 23 3 30
    9 Stoke 23 0 30
    10 Liverpool 23 -1 29
    11 Blackpool 22 -6 28
    12 Blackburn 23 -8 28
    13 Everton 23 -2 27
    14 Fulham 23 0 26
    15 West Brom 22 -12 25
    16 Aston Villa 23 -14 25
    17 Birmingham 22 -10 23
    18 Wigan 23 -18 22
    19 Wolves 23 -17 21
    20 West Ham 24 -19 21

    see also
    Saturday's football as it happened
    22 Jan 11 |  Football
    Saturday's football photos
    22 Jan 11 |  Football



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