Premier League round-up: Wigan fail to close gap as relegation battle continues
Wigan missed the opportunity to go level on points with Newcastle, Norwich and Sunderland after defeat to Swansea at the DW Stadium. It was a game in hand for the Latics, who twice lead, only to lose 3-2 to the Welsh outfit.
With just six points separating Stoke in 11th and Wigan in 18th, a win would have been a huge boost for a club that have survived four relegation battles since arriving in the Premier League back in 2005.
In a close-knit first half, Wigan managed to take the lead on the stroke of half-time through Roger Espinoza, who volleyed the Latics ahead. The lead lasted just five minutes following the restart, as Angel Rangel hit a rasping effort that deflected in off the post.
The goal shocked the DW Stadium, but just three minutes later James McCarthy had Wigan back in front. The Irish midfielder managed to slide the ball under Michel Vorm to regain the lead for the Latics.
The one goal advantage was soon cancelled out, thanks to Itay Schechter. Pablo Hernandez latched onto a loose pass from Wigan defender Gary Caldwell, feeding the ball to Schechter, who tucked the ball home at close range.
Misery was compiled in the 79th minute, when Dwight Tindelli’s weak effort was able to evade goalkeeper Joel Robles. Wigan had wasted their chance to draw level on points with their follow strugglers.
With the FA Cup final still to come and just two league games remaining, this could be the year Wigan finally go down.
Man City ensured Champions League football next season, following a 1-0 victory over West Brom at the Etihad. A solitary goal from Eden Dzeko was enough to see off the Baggies in a drab affair.
Mancini chopped and changed ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final against Wigan and it just about paid off, as City gained a guaranteed place in next season’s Champions League draw. Their victory also means that Wigan Athletic will be playing in the Europa League next season, regardless of league status.
On Monday night, fellow strugglers Sunderland played out an entertaining 1-1 draw with Stoke City. Stoke took the lead through Jonathan Walters, after Sunderland failed to clear a corner.
Sunderland drew level through John O’Shea from a corner, as Paolo Di Canio painted the picture of a relieved man in his celebrations. The Black Cats had to battle hard, following a red card to Craig Gardner in the first half.
It was the second successive game in which Sunderland was reduced to ten men, which could be costly if results go against them in the remaining games.
Thomas Bradley, football correspondent
Liverpool 0 – 0 Everton
Man Utd 0 – 1 Chelsea
QPR 0 – 1 Arsenal
Fulham 2 – 4 Reading
Norwich 1 – 2 Aston Villa
Swansea 0 – 0 Man City
Tottenham 1 – 0 Southampton
West Brom 2 – 3 Wigan
West Ham 0 – 0 Newcastle