Just days after triumphantly lifting the English FA Cup, former Barbados football captain Emmerson Boyce and his Wigan side’s eight-season tenure in the English Premier League came to an end as they were hammered 4-1 at Arsenal this evening.
Wigan knew they had to win to keep their survival hopes alive but that never materialised.†Lukas Podolski headed the Gunners in front early on before Shaun Maloney’s free-kick levelled the game.
But Theo Walcott’s low strike, a lobbed second from Podolski and Aaron Ramsey’s angled strike ensured Wigan would be playing in the second tier Championship next term.†Arsenal are now fourth – a point ahead of Tottenham with one game to go and the Gunners know a win at Newcastle on Sunday ensures that final Champions League spot.†Wigan’s defeat also means that Sunderland and Aston Villa can now also rest easy heading into the final weekend.
All the pre-match debate was about how well Wigan could recover from their historic win over Manchester City just three days earlier, but manager Roberto Martinez picked the same starting line-up at the Emirates Stadium.†It was clear in the early stages that there were some weary legs and Arsenal were keen to capitalise with some sweeping football creating a chance for Santi Cazorla, but he headed Walcott’s cross wide.†It seemed more mental fatigue than physical tiredness that gifted Arsenal the opener.
Podolski easily outmuscled James McArthur in the area and as the rest of the Latics defence stood still, the Germany international had a free header to turn in Cazorla’s floating.corner.
The Gunners were posing the biggest threat as they whizzed the ball around in Wigan’s half with Kieran Gibbs almost getting on the end of a misplaced Bacary Sagna shot.
“Believe” has been Wigan’s mantra in recent weeks and despite Arsenal’s pressure, the visitors kept trying to hit on the counter-attack. But all their efforts came to naught.
Boyce, who turns 34 in September, had stressed earlier in the week that though he was elated with lifting the FA Cup, remaining in the Premier League was his club’s priority.††