Wigan Athletic continue their big week as they are relegated from the Premier League with a 4-1 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates stadium. Only three days after The Lactics won their first FA Cup, the side has been relegated to the Championship for the first time since 2005. The result is also massively important for Arsenal, and the win takes them above Tottenham Hotspur into fourth place, setting the stage for a dramatic final weekend of Premier League football for the season.
A strong start to the match lead to Arsenal almost taking the lead in the sixth minute, but Santi Cazorla headed Theo Walcott’s cross from the right inches wide of the near post. Arsenal’s strong start continued, with the Gunners playing at an exhilarating tempo. Arsene Wenger’s side look sure to score, and Lukas Podolski finally gave them the lead in the tenth minute off a corner. Cazorla chipped the ball into the box, a strange method for a cross, and it bounced right across the box before meeting the unmarked head of Podolski, who headed it past the Wigan defenders guarding the line into the back of the net from six yards out.
Although Wigan looked on the point of crumbling after allowing the goal, they fought to get themselves back into the game, using the wings to send in many crosses. The Lactics almost began to dominate, though Laurent Koscielny almost put the Gunners’ up in the thirty-eighth minute. Cazorla chipped in another perfect corner, and it bounced invitingly to Koscielny at the near post, but the center-back bundled his effort just wide of the woodwork.Wigan heavily pressured Arsenal, and just before the end of the half Shaun Maloney gave the Lactics an equalizer. Maloney earned a cheap free-kick twenty-five yards out from goal, and the winger slammed the free-kick over the ball, before the shot dipped down into the corner of the net. Two minutes later the whistle blew for half time, with the half ending 1-1.
Wigan began the half on the upper foot, and were dominating the match. The Lactics almost grabbed the all important goal two minutes into the half when Arouna Kone played a lovely one-two with Callum McManaman in the Arsenal box, forcing Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to come out and make himself big to stop Kone’s shot from a tight angle on the left side of the box. The play was very sloppy from both sides, and Arsenal forced an excelent double save out of Wigan goalkeeper Joel Robles seconds after Wigan had a goal rightfully disallowed in the fiftieth minute. Walcott’s low cross from the right found Cazorla, who’s first time shot was blocked by Joel, and the rebound bounced back to Cazorla, but the Spaniard had his low shot again blocked by Joel.
The match became very open, and after Podolski’s header was saved by Joel, Arsenal took the lead in the sixty-second minute. Joel made the pathetic mistake of charging Cazorla’s low cross from the right with his feet, allowing Walcott to poke it through the goalkeeper’s legs into the back of the net after darting in-between the Arsenal defenders. It took only two minutes for Arsenal to double their lead, and when Wigan poorly cleared Szczesny’s long ball, it fell to Cazorla, who headed it into the path of Podolski. Joel charged, but Podolski cheekily and brilliantly tapped it over the goalkeeper into the back of the net. Three minutes later in the seventieth minute Arsenal put Wigan’s hopes of survival to bed, with Aaron Ramsey giving the Gunners a 4-1 lead. Ramsey was played in down the left (the midfielder was not called for offside although he was), and after he ambled down the left wing for ages before curling a shot into the roof of the net from a tight angle.
Substitute Franco Di Santio headed just over from a corner before smashing a low shot just wide of the post, but Wigan could not grab a constellation goal, and the match ended 4-1 with the Lactics sealing relegation.
Man of the Match: Lukas Podolski