Arsenal 2 v Wigan 0

Arsenal cruised into the semi-finals of the Carling Cup with a comfortable 2-0 win over Wigan. An own goal from Wigan captain Antolin Alcaraz gave the Gunners the lead at the break, with Nicklas Bendtner’s third goal of the season meaning that Arsenal remain on track to lift the trophy they last won seventeen years ago.

Heartening

Arsene Wenger made nine changes from the side that prevailed at Villa Park last Saturday. Robin van Persie made only his second start of the season and it was particularly heartening to see Emmanuel Eboue having recovered from a knee injury that had initially suggested that an absence of greater than seven days would be probable.

Opener

The Gunners may not have been at their best, but it must be said that Wigan rarely ventured to make a game of it and at times their football suggested that their Premiership safety is of more importance than the Carling Cup. Berndtner and Carlos Vela had good chances to grab an early lead, but it was the unfortunate Alcaraz who guided Theo Walcott’s corner beyond ‘keeper Ali Al Habsi for the opener.

Reacted

Wojciech Szczesny was rarely troubled in the Arsenal goal, but when an Alcaraz header caused concern for the home side, Szczesny reacted well with a smart save from the Paraguayan. In truth, the game will not be remembered as a classic, but on 67 minutes, Bendtner reacted to stab home from Vela’s low cross to warm up the Emirates faithful, as later Samir Nasri and Walcott saw chances not converted. But for Wenger it is the prospect of a Carling Cup semi-final and another chance to lift the only piece of silverware to have eluded the Arsenal manager.