WIGAN Athletic are driniking in the last-chance saloon at Arsenal tonight - but boss Roberto Martinez wouldn’t have it any other way.
It was an eventful weekend for Latics, who won the FA Cup on Saturday before seeing their survival hopes dented 24 hours later.
Victories for Norwich and Newcastle mean Martinez’s men now have to win both of their remaining fixtures – against the Gunners and Aston Villa – to retain their Premier League status.
But the Wigan boss is not daunted in the slightest by the task in hand.
“As it stands, if we win our six points, we are guaranteed to stay up,” the Wigan boss recognised.
“I know that people will look at it and say results at the weekend didn’t go our way.
“But I think they did go our way, because everything is in our own hands.
“When you are third from bottom you can’t just rely on yourself. You need to rely on other people.
“You need to get your wins and then expect the others to do you a favour.
“Obviously you want to have as many teams involved in it as you can. But that would have left it a little bit open to us.
“Now it’s very narrow and very simple. We have to get six points.
“By getting them, we don’t have to rely on anyone else, so I think the results went in our favour.”
Few people outside the town have given Latics much chance of pulling off their latest Great Escape.
But Martinez believes his side are more than capable.
“When you prepare for the season, our aim is to stay in this division,” he explained.
“You don’t achieve your league aim without knowing the importance of the last six points.
“You look at last season – out of the last six points, we had to get three. Two years ago, we had to get the six.
“In every season, when you’re trying to achieve something, it goes down to the last day of the season, which we are prepared for.
“The difference this season is that it’s after playing an FA Cup final and the exhaustion that brings.
“But we’ve done it before and we’re excited.”
It will be the second trip to the capital in the space of four days for Latics, after their Wembley triumph at the weekend.
But the Spaniard insists they were right to return home in between rather than remain in the south.
“There was that temptation, but I think you always need to learn from your previous experiences,” Martinez acknowledged.
“A few years back we had a League Cup game against Arsenal on a Tuesday night, and we played at West Ham on the weekend.
“It was a disaster to be staying down because you are in the hotel, and when people ask you who you are playing, and you say Arsenal, people say
“It was the worst preparation I have ever seen for a game, and we were defeated before we went to the Emirates.
“So I thought it was important, whatever happened in the cup final, to come back to normality. You go back home, you are with your family, and you prepare for the game.”