December 22, 2012
Martinez: Arsenal are on the up
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||1.4||1.3|
|Goals against *||2.1||0.7|
|Last 5 home||D-L-D-W-W||W-D-D-W-W|
|Last 5 away||L-W-L-L-D||W-W-W-W-W|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Wigan Athletic | Arsenal|
Roberto Martinez believes the Arsenal side he watched dismantle Reading on Monday are a team on the up rather than one in decline.
The 5-2 victory at the Madejski Stadium lifted a bit of the pressure from manager Arsene Wenger's shoulders following their shock Capital One Cup defeat by Bradford but there remains plenty of speculation about his future.
The Gunners head to Wigan only two points outside the top four but closer to the relegation zone than they are to leaders Manchester United.
But Latics boss Martinez said: "I don't understand it from the outside.
"You look at this Arsenal side, they've had to cope with many players moving away and new players coming in. They need a little bit of time but I went to see them on Monday and they were very impressive.
"I thought the movement and the quality of play they had in possession was as good as I've seen from an Arsenal side. Players like Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, they're starting to feel themselves in this league.
"This Arsenal side will never change the way they want to win football games, the football philosophy that they've got, and that's admirable.
"You're going to see this Arsenal side going from strength to strength. They're still in the Champions League, which is the best competition in the world, and I think this team has got a lot to offer.''
Wigan are once again in need of three points after picking up only one from their previous four games - a run that has seen them drop into the relegation zone.
Injuries are taking their toll, and Martinez could be without eight players tomorrow.
Four will definitely be missing after defender Adrian Lopez (hamstring) joined midfielders Ben Watson (broken leg), Ryo Miyaichi (ankle) and Albert Crusat (knee) on the long-term injury list.
Another four players should feature over the festive period, with captain Gary Caldwell (hamstring) the most likely to make it for Arsenal ahead of fellow centre-backs Ivan Ramis (hamstring), Antolin Alcaraz (groin) and midfielder James McCarthy (ankle).
Wenger has challenged Arsenal to maintain their momentum towards the top four of the table.
The Gunners head to the DW Stadium on the back of Monday's 5-2 win at Reading, which was a second successive league victory and made it only one defeat in the last six league outings.
Indeed, a maximum points haul against the injury-hit Latics would temporarily at least see Arsenal leapfrog Tottenham and Chelsea up into third place.
Wenger said: "We had a good result against West Brom, a good result at Reading, so it is important to show continuity now.''
Despite Wigan having slipped down into the bottom three after last week's 2-1 defeat at Norwich made it five losses from seven, Wenger remains impressed by the work of Roberto Martinez and his cosmopolitan squad - with Honduras midfielder Roger Espinoza set to join in January after the end of his contract with Major League Soccer side Sporting Kansas City.
"Wigan always have good players, technically talented players and they're scouting countries where nobody else goes,'' the Arsenal manager said.
"They have for me an intelligent idea - they say 'if we go to France or Germany, we face Arsenal and Manchester City, so lets go to countries where nobody goes'.
"There must be a good player in every country and usually they find him. They have done that very well.''