The snow swirled around North London tonight, and while the action on the field will have done little to warm the cockles of those that braved the conditions and went to the Grove, the 2-0 home win for the Gunners sees them progress to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup and in with a real shout of a first trophy since 2006.

Once again Arsene Wenger showed he was taking this competition seriously as he named a strong starting line-up. Emmanuel Eboue, Theo Walcott, Denilson, Nicklas Bendtner, Jack Wilshere and Robin van Persie all started.

Right from the off the home side pressed and should have been 1-0 up within seconds only for Bendtner to waste a wonderful chance. The Dane was set up by the returning van Persie whose deft touches delighted the crowd all night. More nice passes came via Jack Wilshere who made a habit of setting up great chances for Carlos Vela only for the Mexican to prove wasteful in front of goal.

As it was, the opening goal came from a Wigan head as the unfortunate Antolin Alcaraz headed into his own net from a Theo Walcott corner and Arsenal went into the half-time break just one to the good. After 67 minutes it was two when a flowing Arsenal move ended with Vela crossing for Bendtner who bundled home.

It could have been more for Arsenal as Walcott and substitute Samir Nasri both came close but it wasn't to be. Indeed the home side had a shout for two clear cut penalties either side of the break when Wigan players handled in the box but the referee waved it away.

An easy, if unexciting, victory for Arsenal and a safe passage through to the semi finals where they won't meet Manchester United who lost 4-0 away to West Ham tonight.

Maybe Christmas has started early for the red side of North London?