Arsenal's first away win of the campaign ends a six-match winning run for Wigan. (Action Images)

Gunners back where they belong

By Bithacker

WIGAN, England (AFP) - A Thierry Henry double helped lift Arsenal into the top four of the Premiership for the first time since the opening weeks of the season with an entertaining 3-2 win over Wigan here on Saturday.

The Gunners' first away win of the campaign ended a six-match winning run for the high-flying Premiership newcomers.

But this was far from being a case of Premiership pedigree asserting itself.

Wigan kept their visitors sweating right to the end, thanks as much to the quality of their passing as to the passion Paul Jewell has instilled in them.

Arsenal, who had gone into the match without an away win this season, were two goals up inside 22 minutes.

The first was a gift from Wigan's Australian goalkeeper John Filan, who somehow allowed Robin van Persie's unchallenging shot from just outside the area to wriggle through his fingers.

It was the first goal Wigan had conceded in the Premiership for 393 minutes and van Persie nearly added a second minutes later as Arsenal began to knock the ball about with growing confidence.

Van Persie's shot shaved the outside of the post but the small contingent of visiting fans did not have much longer to wait for a second goal.

A typically intricate move involving Freddie Ljungberg, Gilberto Silva and Robert Pires ended with Henry being left with only Filan to beat, which he did with a cool finish.

Just as it seemed Wigan could be about to receive their first really painful lesson about life in the top flight, Henri Camara got them back into the game, bravely diving between Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure to connect with a ball bouncing in the six-yard box after a knockdown by Arjan de Zeeuw.

The goal sparked a melee in which Jason Roberts barged into Cesc Fabregas, earning himself a yellow card.

Roberts offered a more positive contribution four minutes later, when he raced away from Toure and beat Jens Lehmann with a well-judged chip that, fortunately for Arsenal, struck the back of Campbell's boot as he tried to recover his ground.

Arsenal restored their two-goal lead in the 41st minute, Henry curling a 30-yard free-kick over the wall and in off Filan's right-hand post.

But Wigan again refused to lie down. In injury time at the end of the first half, Arsenal's stand-in left-back Pascal Cygan lost possession in his own half and was left hopelessly out of position as the ball was quickly worked towards Jimmy Bullard in the space he had vacated.

The midfielder advanced into the area and turned inside Campbell before planting a left-foot shot beyond Lehmann's right-hand.

The second half fail to reproduce the fireworks of the opening period, with Arsenal largely content to sit back and soak up the home team's pressure.

For all their territorial advantage, Wigan failed to generate any clear cut chances until five minutes from time, when Jason Roberts muscled his way past Campbell and flashed a cross across the goalmouth that was only fractionally behind Lee McCulloch.

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