LONDON: Wigan became the first club to win the FA Cup and suffer relegation in the same season when they lost 4-1 at Arsenal who thus regained pole position in pursuit of the last Champions League slot.
Simultaneously managerless Manchester City won 2- 0 away to relegated Reading. Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko scored one goal in each half to provided mixed-up City with victory on the day Brian Kidd took temporary charge after the overnight sacking of Roberto Mancini and departure of erstwhile assistant David Platt.
Back in north London doomed Wigan went down bravely. They conceded an early goal to Lukas Podolski then equalised just before the interval through midfielder Shaun Maloney. Roberto Martinez’s men needed to push on for a win to maintain any hope of avoiding the drop but in so doing they left gaps which Arsenal exploited ruthlessly through Theo Walcott, Podolski again and Aaron Ramsey.
Podolski, late in the game, became the most substituted Premier League player ever when he was replaced for the 28th time this season in 31 starts in all competitions. Manager Arsene Wenger has attributed the policy to concerns over fatigue.
Arsenal climbed back into fourth position, one point ahead of Tottenham whom they had once trailed by seven points. To maintain their advantage Arsenal must win away to Newcastle on Sunday while Spurs, to maintain any hope of overtaking, must win at home to Sunderland.
As for Wigan, they will now struggle to hold on to Martinez who is believed to top the wanted list of Everton who needed a replacement for Mancheser United-bound David Moyes.
Favourite for the City job, after the inevitable sacking of Mancini, is Malaga’s Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini.
The uncertainly is likely to continue because Malaga still have three rounds of matches before the end of the Liga season.