There was very little between the sides and it was the hosts who had the best chance of the first half but it was wasted by Arouna Kone.
The goal came on the hour mark after Jean Beausejour was deemed to have fouled Theo Walcott, much to the anger of the Wigan fans, and Arteta made no mistake.
Wigan's pace up front certainly had the potential to trouble Arsenal, who were playing a high line, and Aroune Kone had a great chance when timed his run to perfection in the 24th minute to collect Franco Di Santo's through ball.
There was nothing Per Mertesacker could do but, with only Wojciech Szczesny to beat, Kone dragged his shot horribly wide.
The three points lifted Arsenal up to third ahead of Chelsea, who play tomorrow, while Wigan remain in the bottom three and have now taken only one point from their last five games.