Wilshere happy with Gunners' spirit

Jack Wilshere hailed Arsenal's fighting spirit after the Gunners ground out a victory over Wigan that lifted them back into the Champions League places.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsenal

The Gunners had been at their free-flowing best in thumping Reading 5-2 on Monday but had to show a different side to their game in Saturday's 1-0 win at the DW Stadium.

The Latics more than matched their opponents on a sodden pitch but Arsenal made it three Barclays Premier League wins in a row thanks to Mikel Arteta's hotly-disputed penalty.

Arsene Wenger's side have been criticised in the past for slipping up in such games, and Wilshere said: "We got the points and we showed a different side to our game.

"It's a tough place to come to, Wigan, and they play a strange formation compared to other teams in England. They caused us some problems but we dealt well with it.

"It was a big adjustment with the pitch and the conditions but we showed great character. We know we can come to places like this and dig out results and we have to keep doing that.

"All the big teams when they come here, maybe they don't play very well but they seem to get results and we've done that."

It has been an excellent week for Arsenal with two victories and five players signing new long-term contracts, including Wilshere.

The 20-year-old has been in very good form since returning to action in October following more than a year out with an ankle injury.

He said: "It was nice to sign the new contract and I'm thankful for all the support the club have given me.

"This is a great club, everyone can see that, and for me it's like home. My friends and family are down the road, I've grown up at this club so I really feel like part of the family.

"I think I've shown commitment to the club and they've shown it to me so I think we have a good thing going on."

The Gunners are now in the unusual position of having a week until their next game after the scheduled Boxing Day clash against West Ham was postponed because of a threatened tube strike.

They will aim to make it four league victories in a row next Saturday against Newcastle, who gained a much-needed win over QPR on Saturday to pull away from the bottom three.

Wilshere said: "I think this will be one of my first and only Christmases at home. It's going to be quite nice to have a day with the family and then go again at the weekend.

"It's a tough game against Newcastle. They need the points, they're not in a good run of form and they'll want to prove something but we want to keep this momentum going.

"At times it's been tough this season but it seems we've got a good thing going on and we have to keep it going and end the year on a high."

While Arsenal head into Christmas in great spirits, Wigan once again find themselves in the bottom three having taken only one point from their last five games.

An injury crisis that left them without seven players for Saturday's game, including four centre-backs, certainly has not helped, but manager Roberto Martinez is hopeful that situation will soon ease and that Wigan's luck will change.

He said: "In the last third you could see we're maybe missing a little bit of confidence. And it's normal when you get into a run of bad results. We need a break, a moment that changes our run.

"We shouldn't concentrate on being in the bottom three or not. We've got an amount of points we're not happy with, we want more, but for us to be fourth from bottom or fifth from bottom or third from bottom, it doesn't change what we're doing.

"We want to be top 10. The way we started this season you could see we had a very strong squad of players, we showed a great level week in, week out, then all of a sudden we had a couple of injuries in the same position and then a couple of bad decisions, a couple of suspensions, and all of a sudden it's not easy to win games."



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