Welcome to Talking Heads.
Before and after every first-team fixture, our commentator and an Arsenal blogger will have their say on the game.
Arsenal took on Wigan in the Premier League on Saturday and our Talking Heads for this game were Dan Roebuck and Tim Clark from Arse2Mouse.
DAN ROEBUCK, COMMENTATOR
I thought it might be a long afternoon for Wigan, but in the end it proved to be a long final 30 minutes for Arsenal as they hung on to their slender lead. They showed real resilience to do it, and while Roberto Martinez's side put them under sustained pressure, Wojciech Szczesny did not have too much work to do in the closing stages.
It may not have been the prettiest of performances, and it was in stark contrast to the win at Reading earlier in the week, but gaining the three points was vital. Arsène Wenger will be delighted that his side held on in trying circumstances - after all this is the type of game that many pundits believe his sides struggle in, on a cold winter afternoon in the north west.
Psychologically it will be a real boost to the Arsenal squad to be back in the top four by Christmas, and with a week's rest before the next game, they should be raring to go against Newcastle. With three wins on the bounce, they should be in excellent spirits over Christmas and ready for a real push in 2013.
After regaining some form in Monday's win over Reading, Arsène Wenger will be keen for his team to achieve a similar performance and result at the DW Stadium.
Wigan are ravaged by injuries at present, so this seems like the perfect time to play them, though Arsenal will still have to be wary of a side that triumphed at Emirates Stadium in April and have beaten Tottenham this campaign.
Wenger will have targeted the festive period as a real opportunity to pick up points. They will, temporarily at least, go third with victory, and follow that up with winnable games against Newcastle and Southampton.
TIM CLARK, ARSE2MOUSE
I suppose the technical term is winning ugly, and if so that was probably a loosening two-pinter rather than the full botulism kebab and a blackout. Having failed to create much in the way of clear chances, and with Wigan doing well to out-hustle our overloaded midfield, it felt like the kind of away performance that normally ends in a draw, or worse. And if Kone had been wearing shooting boots rather than snow shoes, that might have been the case.
But ifs and buts be damned. Having gone ahead to a fully merited penalty, the team battled hard for the points. Gradually the manager swapped out attackers for defenders, and although some bemoaned the perceived negativity, for me the pragmatic approach was completely correct (although let's also admit that had we conceded late, no doubt he'd have been hammered for it. Hey, no-one said football fans were anything but eye-wateringly fickle).
The key thing is we go into the festive period ensconced in the top four, rather than with our faces pressed against the window like, well, Tiny Tim the saddest blogger in town. Given that the battle for the remaining two Champions League places looks tight enough to crack nuts, winning against Newcastle next week is also vital, but in the meantime I hope everyone reading this enjoys a happy holiday and Santa brings you what you want. In my case: Edinson Cavani wrapped in duct tape.
I must be in a small minority of Arsenal fans who, despite acknowledging his all-round nice blokeness, just doesn't really rate Roberto Martinez. Which only makes it more galling that his Wigan side has pulled our pants down a couple of times, most recently in a 2-1 home defeat during our end-of-season flameout. However, the reverse fixture saw his men given a 4-0 shellacking, and off the back of the chasing we gave to Reading's backline in midweek, I'm hoping for more of the same.
It will be interesting to see whether the boss persists with Theo through the middle, or reintegrates Ollie Giroud into the side. I'd prefer the Englishman, as it felt like we benefited from the threat of his pace. The real stars of the show on Wednesday, though, were Cazorla, Podolski and Wilshere – Arsenal's own three kings – whose passing was at times bewilderingly precise. With the Boxing Day game against West Ham now placed on ice, a win on Saturday is all the more crucial if we're to keep pace with those around us.
More than that, three league wins on the spin for the first time this season would at least hint at something like form. Plus, it's best to go into the crucial January transfer window with the club in a decent position to convince those high profile targets, eh? Ho, ho, ho.
* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband LtdCopyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 24 Dec 2012