Wigan 2-2 Arsenal: Ten man Latics lucky to get away with Gunners draw
The matched ended 2-2 after the home side got an early penalty which was dispatched by Ben Watson but the Gunners hit back through a fabulous Andrei Arshavin goal and a nice effort from Nicklas Bendtner before the break.
Wigan star Charles N'Zogbia was sent off for a headbutt on Jack Wilshere with just over ten minutes of regular time left but Roberto Martinez's men managed an 81st minute leveler through Arsenal defender Sebastien Squillaci.
There was a late call for handball against Wigan's James McArthur but the luck fell with the Latics who can be credited for their fight and passion to remain in the contest when a man down.
Arsene Wenger made eight changes to the line-up that defeated Chelsea 3-1 on Monday but it was Wigan who started the brighter of the two sides and got a deserved lead in the 18th minute when N'Zogbia was apparently brought down in the area by Laurent Koscielny although contact appeared to be made outside the area. GOAL Watson stepped up to the spot and curled it around the left post and into the side netting, giving Lukasz Fabianski no chance.
Arsenal pushed from that point on and managed to get themselves back into the contest through a piece of Arshavin brilliance in the 39th minute. GOALMarouane Chamakh was the architect with a neat ball into the path of Bendtner whose shot deflected off Wigan keeper Ali Al-Habsi but straight to Arshavin and the Russian hammered it home with an acrobatic side volley to spark the Gunners.
GOAL Five minutes later they were in the lead when Bendtner received a nice ball from Arshavin and the Dane stepped through the Latics defence and finished neatly to make it 2-1.
The visitors were unable to kill off the plucky Wigan outfit but the home side's job got all the much harder when N'Zogbia saw red for an ill-disciplined act when he headbutted Jack Wilshere behind the play.
But the disadvantage got the Latics up and about and they grabbed an unlikely leveler with nine minutes remaining. GOAL A corner to the back post for Hugo Rodaellga was extremely dangerous and the Colombian nodded back into the area for Gary Caldwell whose strength held off Squillaci even though the Frenchman's head knocked the ball into the back of the net.
There was a late penalty call for a challenge on substitute Theo Walcott and a free-kick from Samir Nasri which appeared to hit the hands of James McArthur but it was not to be Arsenal's night as the match ended 2-2, denying the Gunners the chance to join Manchester United and Manchester City on 38 points.