Wednesday, 15 May 2013


It was an impossible dream that Wigan could lift the FA Cup on Saturday, then lift themselves to unimagined heights of excellence against Arsenal four days later. Yet this club have been stretching the boundaries of possibility for so long in the Premier League, there were still those who believed. 

Time's up: Wigan will play their football in the npower Championship from next season

Lukas Podolski scores Arsenal's third of the evening to put the result out of Wigan's reach
Wigan have been eight years in the Premier League but eight minutes put paid to that. In that time, between the 63rd minute and the 71st, Arsenal scored three goals. Once Arsenal regained a deserved lead after half-time, a third and fourth quickly followed.

This was the reality check to end them all. No team had won the FA Cup and been relegated in the same season. This was history, but not the type any club want against their name.

                              On target: Shaun Maloney equalised for the away side on the stroke of half-time with this free-kick

All smiles: Maloney wheels away to the away section at the Emirates Stadium after his superb leveller
Maloney equalised for the away side on the stroke of half-time with this free-kick

This was a huge result for the home side, too, remember. Arsenal now need to beat Newcastle on Sunday to guarantee Champions League football and inflict further pain on bitter rivals Tottenham, who will then be pegged in fifth place, no matter their result against Sunderland.

A draw would leave Arsenal vulnerable, but this victory was emphatic and the determination on display bodes well. Theo Walcott, in particular, looked hungry to make a point about his capabilities when a goal was needed, and Santi Cazorla had an outstanding match. Knowing what needs to be done, they should have enough for Newcastle.

                              Pure ecstasy: Theo Walcott celebrates after scoring for the Gunners (below) with 63 minutes gone
Theo Walcott put Arsenal back in front
Would the Wigan fans have swapped defeat at Wembley for another year of Premier League football? Let’s hope not. The game is about glory, as Danny Blanchflower said. The Arsenal fans so noisily celebrating the hope of fourth place will secretly be envying Wigan their special Saturday in May. It has been a long time since they saw a trophy around these parts.

They see good football, though, and there was plenty of it on display in the second half here, once Arsenal woke up to the consequences of two points shared. It wouldn’t have saved Wigan, but it would have put a serious dent in Arsenal’s Champions League chances, leaving Tottenham to claim fourth place with a home win over Sunderland. Arsenal had 30 minutes to save their season and did so, in style.



Anyone seeing Wigan for the first time in the FA Cup final would be perplexed that they could still be battling relegation. Equally, anyone pitching up at the Emirates in blissful ignorance would be mystified that these players could keep a clean sheet against anybody, let alone Manchester City.



Rain on their parade: Joel Robles is consoled by Ali Al-Habsi as Wigan are relegated
As poorly as Wigan defended, the damage was done well before tonight - though Martinez still emerges from this season with credit, he will wonder how a side capable of such heroics could end up in the second tier.


  1. Wigan thats the cruelty of football for u.. Gudluck in the next division

  2. Just like Pierce Morgan, i will like Arsenal to lose 14 0 @ newcastle then Totenham shud be leading sunderland 1 0 till the 95th minute when sunderland is awarded a controversial penalty making it 1 - 1..

  3. Rain pissed on Wigans parade.. i pray it pisses on Arsenals parade on sundae too

  4. Common You Gunners!

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