Thomas Vermaelen believes Arsenal proved doubters wrong against Wigan

Vermaelen blocks a Callum McManaman effort at Wembley. Photo: PA

Arsenal's stubborn refusal to admit FA Cup semi-final defeat to Wigan can silence Arsene Wenger's detractors and propel the Gunners to a top-four Premier League finish, according to Thomas Vermaelen.

Belgium defender Vermaelen hailed Arsenal's 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory over Wigan at Wembley on Saturday, praising Wenger's side for grinding their way to the final.

French Under-21 striker Yaya Sanogo wasted a hatful of chances to put Arsenal out of sight before Jordi Gomez handed Wigan the lead from the spot.

Per Mertesacker headed Arsenal level before the game meandered to penalties, where goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski pulled off two saves to seal victory.

Vermaelen hopes Saturday's nervy victory will ease pressure on both Arsenal and under-fire manager Wenger, as the Gunners bid to end their stint of nine years without silverware.

"There was a lot of talk about needing the result for a few different reasons, for the manager and showing we could fight and I think we did that," said Vermaelen.

"It will give us a boost for the rest of the season now, we can move forward with confidence.

"I'm very happy that we'll go to the final, that's why you play these games of course.

"It was a long game with extra-time and penalties, it's never easy but it's a good win."

Hailing Poland stopper Fabianski's spot-kick heroics, Vermaelen admitted Arsenal had practised penalties in the previous week's preparations.

"We did have some practices but I wasn't down to take one," he said.

"Lukasz is an outstanding goalie, he works hard for it; he works so hard that he deserves this."