Arsenal consign Wigan to relegation after comfortable victory

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Arsenal moved back into the Champions League places with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Wigan Athletic, and in doing so consigned Roberto Martinez's side to relegation from the Premier League.

Just three days after lifting the FA Cup at Wembley, the Latics now know they'll be playing Championship football next year, after eight straight seasons in England's top-flight, following a disappointing defeat at the Emirates Stadium.

Lukas Podolski opened the scoring with a free header at the far post, capitalising on poor defending from the visitors after Santi Cazorla's corner on 11 minutes.

The hosts continued to dominate the early stages of the game, but didn't create any other clear-cut chances.

Theo Walcott had a goal chalked off after he was ruled offside, having been played in by the vibrant Cazorla, and Kieran Gibbs failed to get on the end of a skewed effort from Bacary Sagna.

However, after failing to capitalise on their possession with a second goal, Arsene Wenger's side allowed Wigan back into the game, when Shaun Maloney expertly converted a free-kick in the final minutes of the first-half.

Mikel Arteta was unlucky to be penalised, but Mike Dean had no doubts about awarding the foul, after Maloney went down softly 20-yards from goal. He dusted himself off, and fired in the equaliser with aplomb inside Wojciech Szczesny's near-post, to ensure the sides went in level at the break.

Rejuvenated by their goal, it was Wigan who started the brighter after the interval, with Arouna Kone going close, only to be denied by Szczesny in the Arsenal goal.

Moments later, James McCarthy thought he'd put the away side ahead, but the linesman came to the Gunners' rescue.

The hosts regained the lead in the 63rd minute, after Walcott converted Cazorla's right-wing cross past Joel Robles in the Wigan goal, and then the floodgates opened.

Podolski grabbed his second of the game after he was played onside by Paul Scharner, latching onto Cazorla's header forward. Then Aaron Ramsey broke free in acres of space down the left, cutting inside to convert from a tight angle.

The victory lifts Arsenal back into fourth place in the Premier League table, knowing that a win over Newcastle United on the final day will secure Champions League qualification.

Wigan's defeat also means that Sunderland and Aston Villa can breathe easy going into the last game of the season, with their top-flight status secure.

Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Rosicky (Wilshre 78'), Arteta (Vermaelen 90'); Walcott, Ramsey, Cazorla; Podolski (Oxlade-Chamberlain 78').

Subs not used: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Monreal, Gervinho.

Wigan Athletic: Robles; Boyce, Alcaraz, Scharner, Espinoza; McCarthy, McArthur, Gomez (Watson 64'), Maloney (Henriquez 85'), McManaman (Di Santo 57'), Kone.

Subs not used: Al Habsi, Caldwell, Fyvie, Golobert.

Venue: Emirates Stadium

Referee: Mike Dean

Wigan Athletic
Premier League
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