WIGAN Athletic’s eight-year stay in the Barclays Premier League came to an end when they were beaten 4-1 by Arsenal - here we look at five crucial games that cost them.
January 19, Wigan 2 Sunderland 3
Wigan were in the midst of an injury crisis and a poor run of form and the defeat by Sunderland made it only one victory from 10 league games and dropped them into the bottom three. The Latics were even gifted an early opener with a David Vaughan own goal but conceded three times before half-time. Of all their results against their fellow strugglers, losing twice to Sunderland has been particularly damaging.
April 7, QPR 1 Wigan 1
Wigan had won back-to-back Premier League games to haul themselves back to the pack and a trip to Loftus Road to meet doomed Rangers presented a great chance for a third victory. The Latics played against 10 men for 70 minutes after Bobby Zamora was sent off but only salvaged a point thanks to Shaun Maloney’s last-gasp free-kick. It was undoubtedly a missed opportunity.
April 20, West Ham 2 Wigan 0
When Roberto Martinez looks back at the season, he may feel this was the weekend that most hurt his side. Victories for Norwich, Stoke and Sunderland made Wigan’s defeat at Upton Park particularly damaging. The Latics were the better team for much of the match but were once again punished for a tendency to concede goals too easily while needing too many chances to score themselves.
April 27, Wigan 2 Tottenham 2
Wigan looked set to repair the damage from the defeat by West Ham when they produced an excellent display against Tottenham. After conceding a ridiculous goal even by their own standards of horrible defensive errors, goals from Emmerson Boyce and Callum McManaman put the hosts ahead. They held onto the lead until the last minute when Boyce diverted the ball into his own net from a free-kick Martinez felt should not have been awarded.
May 7, Wigan 2 Swansea 3
Relegation can never be attributed to just one game but last week’s defeat was a significant nail in Wigan’s coffin. The most crushing aspect for the Latics was they hammered the nail in themselves with some shocking defending. Injuries have really hurt Wigan this season but a non-league side would have been embarrassed by the way they allowed Itay Shechter and Dwight Tiendalli to score after the hosts had twice led. The result coupled with those of the sides around them on Sunday meant Wigan needed to win both their final games to stay up - a feat they could not manage.