Premier League: Arsenal 4-1 Wigan
14 May 2014
Emirates Stadium, London
Referee: Mike Dean
11' Podolski; 45' Maloney; 63' Walcott; 68' Podolski; 71' Ramsey
Arsenal XI: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Rosicky, Arteta; Walcott, Ramsey, Cazorla; Podolski
Wigan XI: Joel; Boyce, Alcaraz, Scharner; McArthur, McCarthy, Gomez, Espinoza; McManaman, Kone, Maloney
Eight minutes was all it took to turn ecstasy into misery for Wigan Athletic, who just three days after winning the FA Cup at Wembley were relegated to The Championship after losing 4-1 to Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.
Theo Walcott broke a 1-1 deadlock just three minutes after the hour-mark with a brave finish on Santi Cazorla’s cross from the right, and in the 65th minute Cazorla again played provider as Lukas Podolski broke in alone on Wigan goalkeeper Joel Robles before chipping the Spaniard for a 3-1 Gunners lead. Then, in the 71st, Aaron Ramsey roofed a powerful effort inside Robles’ near post to put the finishing touches on a convincing Arsenal win.
For most of an hour, however, Wigan gave as good as they got.
Podolski opened the scoring after only 11 minutes with a stooping header on Cazorla’s corner, but shortly after conceding Wigan went on the front-foot and had numerous chances to score before Shaun Maloney equalized with a free kick in first-half stoppage time.
The two sides went back down the tunnel level at a goal apiece, but after the restart there was only one side that showed the urgency worthy of the three points on this night.
Wigan, you feel, just didn’t have enough left in the tank at the end. The emotional roller coaster of the past few months that culminated with Saturday’s 1-0 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup Final caught up with them midway through the second half, and with the defeat they become the first side to win the FA Cup and be relegated in the same season.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are now fourth in the Premier League and control their own destiny in regards to Champions League football next season.
They’ll be away to Newcastle on Sunday while Tottenham Hotspur, a point behind them, will host Sunderland.