- Arsenal vs Wigan

Tuesday 14 May 2013 | Emirates Stadium | Referee: Mike Dean | Attendance 60,068

Arsenal
  • Lukas Podolski (11, 68)
  • Theo Walcott (63)
  • Aaron Ramsey (71)
Arsenal
4 - 1
Wigan
  • Shaun Maloney (45)
Wigan

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Match report

Scroll above left to Photostream for match photos; click on the statistics tab for match stats; manager reaction to follow

Wigan Athletic were relegated from the Barclays Premier League after Lukas Podolski's double fired Arsenal to a 4-1 win.

Podolski took advantage of poor Wigan defending to open the scoring early in the game and he doubled his tally just after the hour. Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey added the other two for Arsenal to make Shaun Maloney's first-half equaliser for Wigan irrelevant.

After their FA Cup Final triumph over Manchester City Wigan knew that they must avoid defeat in order to keep their survival hopes alive, and Roberto Martinez stuck with the same 18-man squad that had been successful at Wembley. After 10 days without a match, Arsenal brought Kieran Gibbs in for Nacho Monreal at left-back, Jack Wilshere made the bench, despite requiring ankle surgery.

Within 11 minutes Wigan's survival hopes were rocked as Podolski opened for Arsenal with his 10th goal of the season. The Germany striker pushed away the attentions of James McArthur and when Santi Cazorla's corner reached him, he had a free header from five yards.

The goal appeared to wake the Wigan players up, their passing improved and they looked confident on the ball but a lack of attacking options meant they were unable to test Wojciech Szczesny. Arsenal's play continued to look dangerous but they missed some good opportunities to double their lead.

Wigan got the reward for their improved play just before half-time as Maloney grabbed a lifeline in the game and the season. The Scot was fouled by Mikel Arteta on the edge of the penalty area and took the resulting free-kick himself, firing it over the wall and beyond Szczesny at his near post.

The visitors came out for the second half full of confidence and very nearly took the lead through Kone three minutes after the break. Some neat build-up play led to the ball dropping to Callum McManaman. He was challenged on the edge of the area but the loose ball dropped to Kone and Szczesny had to make a fine save to deny the Ivorian.

James McCarthy had the ball in the net minutes later but the Irishman was flagged for offside, and just as quickly the Wigan goal was under threat but Joel Robles made good saves from Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky.

Theo Walcott, who had been quiet in the opening hour of the game, brought it to life in the 63rd minute with a close-range finish from a Cazorla cross.  The Spaniard broke down the right-hand side and fired a low ball into the six yard box, Walcott met it before Joel Robles, flicked the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net for his 14th league goal of the season.

Victory was secured for the hosts four minutes later as Podolski added his second of the game, Antolin Alcaraz's poor header dropped to Cazorla, who cushioned it into the pass of the German and he flicked the ball past Robles as he came to meet the ball.

In the 70th minute Aaron Ramsey added a fourth for Arsenal as he was released down the left, moved unchallenged into the penalty area and fired into the roof of the net, despite having Podolski square demanding his hat-trick goal.

The visitors were unable to pull off a miracle, with an off-target Franco di Santo effort the sum total of their late charge and will be playing Championship football, alongside their UEFA Europa League campaign next season.

Arsenal moved up to fourth, a point ahead of Tottenham Hotspur and can guarantee that spot if they beat Newcastle United aawy on Sunday.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "I am happy that we won the game. We had a good start but then became a bit conservative and got caught just before half-time. Wigan are a good footballing side with intelligent players and it is difficult to understand, but that is the harsh truth of the game.

"At 1-1, Wojciech made a good save and then in the last 20 minutes of course the fact that we maintained the pace, and they were tired from the FA Cup final, gave us a big win. On the break, Walcott's goal was certainly decisive. From then on, you felt that for Wigan it was becoming difficult.

"You want to congratulate Wigan and you feel sorry for them, because with the quality of football they play it is sad that they go down. Wigan are a good footballing side with intelligent players and it is difficult to understand, but that is the harsh truth of the game."

"It has always been in our hands since recently. It is another big game [against Newcastle] on Sunday and we want to prepare for that and give it all again because we are on a very strong run.  If you look at the number of wins we have, that is quite positive."

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez: "I never expected this to happen. We have an incredible bunch of players at the club, they don't deserve this. It is a tough day for the football club. We have had an incredible eight years in the Premier League. We have to take the good things and make sure we build for the future.

"The relegation is really disappointing but it is something that we can rectify. We will bounce back as we always do as we always do at Wigan Athletic. The club is on a fantastic financial footing, we are stronger than ever in that respect, our football style and philosophy is something for the long term.

"I am glad that this group of players were able to show what they were capable of - to win the FA Cup is an incredible achievement. To win the FA Cup is an achievement that will live forever for the football club and for every individual and especially for the fans."

"We conceded far too many goals. Going forward we have been magnificent, but the amount of injuries that we have had in the backline is something I have never seen before. When you have four, five or six players missing from that position, when you keep making changes in the backline, the partnerships suffer and you concede so many goals it costs you points without playing badly."

Next fixtures
19 May 2013 v Newcastle (A) Buy Now Watch and Listen
20 Apr 2014 v Hull (A) Buy Now Watch and Listen
28 Apr 2014 v Arsenal (H) Buy Now Watch and Listen
04 May 2014 v Arsenal (H) Buy Now Watch and Listen
11 May 2014 v Norwich (A) Buy Now Watch and Listen
Next fixtures
19 May 2013 v Aston Villa (H) Buy Now Watch and Listen

Fan Rating

- rate the player performances for this match

Line-up All Fans BFR
1. Wojciech Szczesny - -
28. Kieran Gibbs - -
4. Per Mertesacker - -
3. Bacary Sagna - -
6. Laurent Koscielny - -
8. Mikel Arteta - -
14. Theo Walcott - -
7. Tomas Rosicky - -
19. Santiago Cazorla - -
16. Aaron Ramsey - -
9. Lukas Podolski - -
Substitutes All Fans BFR
5. Thomas Vermaelen - -
21. Lukasz Fabianski - -
27. Gervinho - -
15. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - -
25. Carl Jenkinson - -
17. Nacho Monreal - -
10. Jack Wilshere - -
Line-up All Fans BFR
1. Joel Robles - -
3. Antolin Alcaraz - -
17. Emmerson Boyce - -
33. Paul Scharner - -
4. James McCarthy - -
16. James McArthur - -
18. Roger Espinoza - -
14. Jordi Gómez - -
10. Shaun Maloney - -
2. Arouna Koné - -
15. Callum McManaman - -
Substitutes All Fans BFR
5. Gary Caldwell - -
11. Angelo Henríquez - -
26. Ali Al-Habsi - -
20. Fraser Fyvie - -
25. Roman Golobart - -
8. Ben Watson - -
9. Franco Di Santo - -

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