Arsenal vs. Wigan Athletic  4 - 1

Article

Martinez not looking to sell

16 May 2013 19:03

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez believes the club are in no need to sell players despite their relegation from the Premier League.

The FA Cup winners will be playing Championship football next season after their demotion was confirmed following the 4-1 defeat to Arsenal on Tuesday.

Wigan's fall into the second tier has led to increased speculation regarding the future of a number of their first-team, with likes of James McCarthy and Callum McManaman linked with moves away from the DW Stadium.

However, Martinez, whose future is another said to be in doubt, insisted Wigan have no need to start selling prized assets and will get a fair price for their players if they do wish to leave.

He said: "I don't think (being in the Championship) has a bearing on losing players. I think any football club in the world, from (Radamel) Falcao at Atletico Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United - they are going to lose players, that happens in the modern game.

"What's important is the value. Whatever you lose, you have to reinvest, and we have done that year after year.

“If the question is: Are Wigan going to lose players on the cheap? The answer is no.

"We don't have to balance the books, we are very well run, everything is on a very strong financial structure. The answer is clear."

Article

Walcott reveals fear behind late Arsenal push

15 May 2013 17:52

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott says the potential of missing out on the UEFA Champions League has spurred his side on this season.

Walcott scored in Tuesday's 4-1 Premier League win over Wigan, a result that saw Arsene Wenger's side climb above rivals Tottenham and into fourth on the table with just one match of the season remaining.

Arsenal will now finish fourth – and win a berth in the Champions League qualifying stages, as they bid to enter the group stages for the 16th year in succession – if they beat Newcastle United on Sunday, regardless of Spurs' result against Sunderland.

"We just have great experience in knowing what to do when the time is right. It is funny. It happens every year," Walcott said.

"We tend to finish very strong. I think it is just because the players want it so much.

"It (Champions League football) is big for the future of the club and the players. We have been in it for the last 15 years and we don't want to be the players who are not part of that.

"We just need to show that in the mid-season and at the start and we could hopefully be even higher than we are and not have this situation we are in.

"But it is very positive, and we will be fighting strong on Sunday."

Walcott – who is keen to play more of a central role as a striker than the position on the wing he often finds himself in – has scored 21 goals for Arsenal in 42 appearances this season.

But the 24-year-old says he is happy to play out wide and interchange when required, while praising the performance of German Lukas Podolski, who scored twice against Wigan in the central forward position.

"Wherever the manager wants to play me, I will do that for the team. You can't fault Lukas at all - he grabbed two goals up front and I got one as well," he said.

"So if things are going well, there is no need to change anything, I believe. I'm the sort of player that if things are going well, don't change them.

"I can wander at times and it works - there is a lot of rotation in that front line so when it is working, don't change it."

Article

Arteta doubtful for Newcastle, says Wenger

15 May 2013 04:44

Arsenal's push for Champions League qualification has hit a snag after Mikel Arteta picked up a calf injury in the 4-1 win over Wigan on Tuesday.

The midfielder was withdrawn in stoppage time, replaced by Thomas Vermaelen, and now faces a race against time to be fit for Arsenal's final day match against Newcastle.

"Arteta is not right," manager Arsene Wenger said after the match.

"Arteta pulled his calf, so that could be a problem for Sunday. We don't know, we have to wait 24 hours. He will be a massive doubt for Sunday."

Wenger remains confident that his side can claim the victory they need to seal a place in next season's Champions League.

"It's all open. But it depends on our result. Even third place is not out of sight if we win our game," he said.

"I am confident, because we have experience. Because we play for a long time now under massive pressure and have always found solutions for the problems we've faced, so I'm confident."

Meanwhile, England winger Theo Walcott Walcott's has spoken about his goal which put the Gunners ahead for the second time on the night, and was his 14th league goal of the season, his best tally in an eight-year club career.

"Wigan coming off an absolutely fantastic FA Cup win, we always knew it was going to be difficult – every game is very difficult this season in the Premier League – and they showed great quality," he told Sky Sports.

"It was probably a fair result at half time, to be honest, going in at 1-1. I felt they did play the ball quite well, but we've got to show character and we did. We came at them in the second half and showed them what we're really made of.

"This is one of my most important goals and hopefully it can be a few more next weekend. Anything but the winner today. The guys did it, I'm so proud of them because we deserve it.

"I felt like we had to take the initiative really. We had to make runs in behind, we weren't really doing it in the first half, the final ball wasn't the best at times and we weren't really putting people in the box, and second half we did that as the first half showed."

Article

Wenger saddened by Wigan demise

15 May 2013 01:10

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he felt sorry for Wigan after his side's 4-1 win on Tuesday sealed their relegation.

A Lukas Podolski brace and goals from Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey earned the Gunners the win but Wenger said he felt for his Wigan counterpart Roberto Martinez, who watched his side relegated to the Championship - following their FA Cup triumph on Saturday - after eight seasons.

"It is sad that Wigan go down because they are a good team, they play good football," he said.

"It is an intelligent team with good players. If they stay together, they will certainly come up again."

The result saw Arsenal move into fourth place, one point ahead of Tottenham and two points behind third-placed Chelsea.

The race for third and fourth spots will go right down to the last weekend of games, with Arsenal journeying to Newcastle, Spurs hosting Sunderland, and Chelsea - who contest the Europa League final against Benfica on Wednesday - welcoming Everton to Stamford Bridge.

With no guarantee of fourth place, and third still up for grabs, Wenger said his men will need three points at St James' Park.

"I think we will need to win," he said.

"I am confident we will hold our nerve because we have experience.

"We have played for a long time under massive pressure and we always found the solutions to the problems we have faced, so I'm confident."

But Wenger could be without influential midfielder Mikel Arteta, who was forced off late with a calf problem.

"Arteta is not alright," Wenger said.

"Arteta pulled his calf, so that could be a problem for Sunday. We don't know, we have to wait 24 hours. He will be a massive doubt for Sunday."

Article

Wenger praises Martinez job

14 May 2013 15:29

Arsene Wenger has admitted he would be "sad" to see Wigan Athletic relegated before his Arsenal side host the FA Cup winners on Tuesday.

Both sides are desperate for victory for different reasons, with Arsenal competing for a UEFA Champions League place and Wigan fighting relegation.

Martinez has done a terrific job in maintaining Wigan's top-flight status, and Wenger praised the Spaniard's managerial qualities.

"Martinez has a positive philosophy. Above all, what you want is that he tries to play good football," Wenger said.

"That for me is a good basis to go forward and move higher up. He looks to master the situations well.

"More and more teams play that kind of football now. Swansea has joined in as well so all the teams play good football, Norwich plays good football.

"That in the Premier League is now common but Wigan, what they have done as well is always discover players. You have to give them credit for that.

"With a small budget they find very good players and that's sad of course if they go."

The Frenchman knows his side will face a difficult task, and was impressed by Wigan's performance in the FA Cup final against Manchester City.

"The level of energy they have shown on Saturday is absolutely huge, the transitional play they have done is absolutely fantastic, the speed from defence they've shown on Saturday was fantastic.

"It is a surprise that they are in the position they are in because they have produced a remarkable game on Saturday and they played remarkably well on both flanks."

The London club are fighting for fourth spot in the league, but the Frenchman insists he is not happy to have been out of the title picture in recent seasons.

He added: "What I said was the minimum required (games).

"You could see that when Chelsea their championship position was under threat, they said their minimum requirement for us is to be in the Champions League next year. So it is difficult to achieve.

"But we have done it over the years and to answer you question, 'is it enough?', 'no'. We want more. But this year Man United was above everybody else."

Article

Wenger: I knew Ferguson would retire

13 May 2013 13:48

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claims he knew Alex Ferguson was going to retire as Manchester United manager.

Ferguson announced his decision to leave Manchester United after 26 years on Wednesday, and lifted his 13th Premier League title after the 2-1 victory over Swansea City on Sunday.

But Wenger said there were signs throughout the season that the Scot would end his tenure.

"I was not surprised and I told my staff a long time ago that I thought it would be Alex Ferguson's last year," he said.

"So I was not completely surprised. I detected a few signs through the season, but there was already one of them before the season started that it could be his final year."

Arsenal host Wigan Athletic at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, as they look to claim a UEFA Champions League spot.

And the Frenchman is confident his side can continue their strong end-of-season run with victory over the FA Cup winners.

"It's a very important game for both sides, so you expect huge commitment from both teams," Wenger said.

"We're playing at home and we want to take advantage of our remarkable run. We have been hugely consistent and we are in a position where our destiny depends on us and we want to finish the job.

"Our destiny was not in our hands but we have done very well, so let's now finish the job, continue to play like we have and take the points."

The 63-year-old is anticipating a strong challenge against Wigan and paid praise to manager Roberto Martinez.

"Martinez has a positive philosophy, above all what you want is someone who tries to play good football and that's a good basis to move forward," he added.

"Both teams have to go for it, it's very difficult to know what will happen. It should be an open game, I think Wigan will be faithful to their shape which is based on solid defensive work and quick counter-attacking."

Wenger also revealed star midfielder Jack Wilshere will undergo minor surgery on his troublesome ankle in the next few days.

Wenger has attempted to allay any fears over the latest scheduled operation, though, saying the club expect him to recover in time to join his teammates for pre-season training.

"Jack will have small, mild surgery," the Frenchman told the club's official website. "It is a very small, small, small one. It is to remove a small pin. It will not be a problem.

"He will need very minor surgery, but we manage that as far as we can until the end of the season. At the moment, we use him only in games when I feel he is really needed.

"He won't be available for England in the forthcoming friendlies, but he will be back for pre-season. Of course he is disappointed to miss the England game in Brazil, but he will go next year (to the World Cup finals)."

Article

Premier League Preview: Arsenal v Wigan

12 May 2013 08:21

Newly crowned FA Cup champions Wigan will head to Arsenal on Tuesday with both sides desperate for three points in the English Premier League.

Arsenal must defeat Wigan at home to have any chance of claiming third spot in the Premier League by the end of the season, while the visitors remain locked in a battle against relegation.

Wigan claimed their first major trophy on Saturday when they stunned Manchester City 1-0 in the FA Cup final but need at least three points in their final two Premier League games to avoid becoming the first club to win the world's oldest cup competition and be relegated in the same season.

In their final two matches, Wigan must travel to Arsenal and then host Aston Villa on the final day of the season.

Roberto Martinez's side sit in 18th on the Premier League table, the third relegation spot in England's top flight, three points behind Newcastle United, Norwich City and Sunderland.

A win at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday could take Wigan level with the trio of clubs above them on 38 points, although Newcastle United, Norwich City and Sunderland are set to play on Sunday.

But Wigan will not be able to bank on a disinterested Arsenal side giving them a sniff in London, as Arsene Wenger's team must win to keep the pressure on third-placed Chelsea heading into the final round of the season.

Chelsea's 2-1 win away to Aston Villa on Saturday left Arsenal (67 points) five points adrift of their London rivals in the battle for an automatic berth in next season's UEFA Champions League.

While Wenger's target will be third spot and automatic qualification to the Champions League, Arsenal also need three points to ensure they stay ahead of another London club, Tottenham Hotspur.

If Arsenal fail to defeat Wigan, Tottenham (66 points) would leap into fourth if they knock off Stoke on Sunday.

Arsenal defeated Queens Park Rangers 1-0 last week, while Wigan lost 3-2 to Swansea in their most recent Premier League encounter.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25