Arsenal v. Wigan Athletic: Match Thread

I WANT TO WIN THIS MUCH - Clive Rose

In the nearest thing to a "must-win" game a team in fifth place can have without it being comically overexaggerated, Arsenal welcome Wigan to the Emirates.

Arsenal vs. Wigan Athletic
Kickoff: Tuesday, May 14, 2:45 PM EDT
Emirates Stadium, London, England
Form: ARS WDWDW | WIG LDWLW
TV: Fox Soccer Channel
SB Nation Wigan Coverage: Pie Eaters Footie


The soon-to-be-departed Sir Alex Ferguson called it "squeaky-bum time". Others call it the business end of the season. Either way, for the first time in weeks, Arsenal's situation has razor-sharp clarity; two games left, and two wins assures a top-four finish. We were denied celebrating St. Totteringham's Day today thanks to Stoke being Stoke at the weekend, but I'm OK with it being on the last day of the season; but lest we get ahead of ourselves and start exchanging our St. Totteringham's Day gifts and tucking into our feast of roast pigeon, Arsenal have some work to do, and their task today is not trivial, as far as these things go.

One would think that a game against the newly-crowned-days-ago FA Cup winners would be fairly simple - fresh off a historic win (the second most awesome one in the last 50 years, trailing only Wimbledon 1988 in my opinion), it would seem that Wigan are ripe for a letdown today, as they're probably still nursing hangovers. The problem is, Wigan are also fighting for their Premier League survival, so this is not a game Roberto Martinez and his team can take lightly; Wigan have given Arsenal fits in the last couple years, and I'm afraid that today, with something arguably more important to play for than Arsenal's fight for a fourth-place finish, they'll be well up for it.

Arsenal have the talent to see off Wigan pretty easily. But Arsenal sometimes lack the drive, the focus, the intent, or the whatever you want to call it to beat the teams they 'should' beat. Today, when there's a crystal-clear picture of what's at stake, Arsenal must come out firing on all cylinders and get the job done. It's the 2012-13 home finale, and wouldn't the post-match lap of honor mean so much more after earning three points? Of course it would!

So here's your match thread. Remember, kids: let's not talk about any illegal streams, let's be cool to each other, and COME ON YOU REDS.

LINEUPS:
ARSENAL: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Rosicky, Arteta, Ramsey, Cazorla, Walcott, Podolski
Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Jenkinson, Monreal, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho.

WIGAN: Robles, Kone, Alcaraz, McCarthy, Maloney, Gomez, McManaman, McArthur, Boyce, Espinoza, Scharner
Subs: Al Habsi, Caldwell, Watson, Di Santo, Henriquez, Fyvie, Golobart.

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