Arsenal vs. Wigan Athletic: Final score 4-1, wave goodbye to the Latics

Shaun Botterill

Wigan's late season magic has finally run out. They got steamrolled in the second half on Tuesday night against Arsenal, who are in fourth place headed to the final day of the season.

A brilliant free kick by Shaun Maloney gave Wigan Athletic hope, but they were second best to Arsenal for nearly all 90 minutes on Tuesday evening. The Gunners were rampant in the second half, while Wigan showed exactly why it's conceded more goals than anyone else in the division in a 4-1 loss. Arsenal heads to the final day in a Champions League place, while Wigan has been relegated to the Championship.

Poor set piece defending gifted the opening goal to Lukas Podolski. Santi Cazorla's ball skipped up off the grass in the box without being cleared, then bounced over to a completely unmarked Podolski. He faced no opposition in nodding his shot into the back of the net at the far post.

While Arsenal was on top for most of the half, Wigan began to come into the match around the 25th minute. They were going to have a bit of momentum heading into the locker room even down 1-0, but stole a fantastic equalizer just before the whistle. Mikel Arteta committed a foul on the edge of the penalty area for the second time in the half and Maloney stepped up to place a perfect free kick past Wojciech Szczesny to bring Wigan back into the game.

The second half started off with a bang, as both teams generated excellent chances to score. Arouna Kone had a shot saved by Szczesny in the 48th minute, and Wigan had a goal disallowed for a close, but correctly given offside call two minutes later. In the 51st minute, Joel Robles made an incredible double save from close range on Santi Cazorla, who couldn't believe his lack of luck in failing to hit the back of the net.

Sadly for Wigan, that would be the last good play Robles would make on the night. He was downright horrible on the eventual winner, and certainly didn't do his best with either of Arsenal's later goals. Arsenal's second goal came in the 63rd minute on a square ball into the box for Walcott from Cazorla. It appeared as though Joel had a chance to claim, but he slid at the ball with his feet rather than diving at it with his hands, and Walcott won the challenge to force the ball into the net.

That goal was a backbreaker for Wigan, and things only got worse from there. Cazorla won a 50-50 header on a bouncing ball in the 68th minute, catching the Wigan defense out. Podolski ran onto the ball and chipped over Joel to double Arsenal's lead. They put the game to rest three minutes later when Cazorla played Ramsey in behind the defense and the Arsenal midfielder finished into the roof of the net from a narrow angle.

With Wigan dejected and Arsenal content with a three-goal lead, the rest of the match was uneventful. For the first time since 2005, Wigan Athletic will spend a season outside the top flight of English football.

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