Wigan Athletic have today performed a stunning late comeback to end Arsenal’s dwindling 2010 title hopes, and all but assure their own Barclays Premier League status.
Having trailed at home to the Gunners by two goals to nil on 80 minutes, three quick goals saw them turn this around and grab a vital three points in an extraordinary ten minutes of football.
Arsenal looked to have done enough to put their title challenge back on track when Mikael Silvestre headed home on 48 minutes to add to Theo Walcott’s opener in the 41st minute.
Prior to the Frenchman doubling their lead, Arsenal had appeared fortunate not to give away a penalty, after Watson was brought down in the box, so it appeared to be some consolation when the same player scored on 80 minutes.
Without their first choice centre half pairing of Gallas and Vermaelen, Arsenal at times appeared lightweight in defence, but it would be a mistake by stand-in goalkeeper Fabianski that would set up Titus Bramble to head in the equaliser on 89 minutes, before Charles N’Zogbia completed the turnaround in the first minute of injury time with a fine strike.
For Arsenal, it looks like time to admit third place is perhaps their lot for the season – a win would have seen them within three points of the Premier League lead, with leaders Chelsea yet to face a tricky away trip to Liverpool. As it is, they are now six points adrift with just three games remaining, needing the top two sides to lose two out of three matches, which would seem unlikely.
Wigan have all but assured their Premier League status for another season, however, as they are now seven points clear of third bottom Hull, who have four games to play: if they win any match of their remaining three and Hull lose just one, Wigan will be safe.
Take the context away from this match and it was still a phenomenal ending to an eventful day at the office for the Latics, but, if it so proves, this was some way for Wigan to stay up.