Wigan's Survival Dream Now a Distant Hope After Loss to Swansea

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 7, 2013

WIGAN, ENGLAND - MAY 07:  (L-R) Gary Caldwell, Shaun Maloney, James McCarthy and James McArthur of Wigan Athletic look despondent during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Swansea City at DW Stadium on May 7, 2013 in Wigan, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Ever since Roberto Martinez has been the manager of Wigan Athletic, the struggle to stay in the English Premier League has been a yearly theme at the DW Stadium. 

In the last three seasons under Martinez, the Latics have survived to play another season in the English top flight, but after their loss to Swansea on Tuesday night at home, the luck of the Latics may have finally run out. 

The 3-2 loss to Swansea kept the Latics in 18th-place in the table with 35 points. As of now, Wigan are just three points behind the trio of Newcastle, Norwich and Sunderland and four points behind Southampton

With four clubs within reach before the season closes up shop on May 19, there is still a possibility that Wigan could stay in the EPL, but there are plenty of things going against them at the moment. 

While the clubs ahead of them in the relegation race will be fighting for their top-flight lives over the weekend, Wigan will not because of their participation in the FA Cup Final against Manchester City on Saturday. 

Playing in such a prestigious event at the end of the season usually gives the participating clubs a glimmer of hope in a season that is lost.

But for Wigan, the FA Cup Final is just a distraction to their hopes. By playing at Wembley on Saturday, the Latics will be forced to play three matches in an eight-day span. 

After facing the assumed onslaught of the Manchester City attack on Saturday, the Latics will make a trip to North London to face an Arsenal club that are fighting for their own life in the race for the final UEFA Champions League spot. 

If that was not enough to frighten fans of Wigan, they could be fighting for survival on Tuesday at the Emirates Stadium depending on how the weekend results pan out. 

On Sunday, Norwich and Newcastle face very winnable matches against West Brom and Queens Park Rangers, respectively, while Sunderland and Southampton square off at the Stadium of Light. 

If Norwich, Newcastle and Sunderland all come out of Sunday as victors, nothing less than a win over Arsenal would keep Wigan in the survival fight. 

If, and it is a big if, the Latics pull off the unthinkable and defeat the Gunners, they would have to face a suddenly resurgent Aston Villa side at home on the final day of the season. 

Even if the Latics find a way to win their final two matches, they are not in the clear due to goal difference. 

Currently, Wigan sit at -23, a mark that is shared by Newcastle. Norwich is at -22 on goal differential, while Sunderland (-12) and Southampton (-11) should keep their advantage unless they are blown out in their final two matches. 

With everything going against them at the moment, if Wigan somehow pull off another great escape, they will have accomplished the impossible.

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