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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
22:00 14th May 2013
By  Nick Taylor

REPORT: ARSENAL 4 LATICS 1

A 4-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium confirmed Wigan Athletic's relegation from the Barclays Premier League, despite pulling level at half time through a Shaun Maloney free kick.

It has been a sensational eight year stay for Latics in the country's elite division as the club has battled against some of the best teams in the world, the team certainly bowed out with dignity.

Roberto Martinez stuck with the same starting XI from the FA Cup final victory on Saturday, with match winner Ben Watson featuring on the bench.

It was a bright start from hosts Arsenal who attacked with pace, mainly down the right hand side with Theo Walcott.

The pacey winger created the first chance of the game when he beat Roger Espinoza and crossed mid-height into the area but Cazorla headed narrowly wide as Joel Robles looked beaten.

Arsenal continued their assault on Latics' goal and after Walcott won their third corner of the game, it was to be the moment that Latics dropped behind.

A low corner onto the edge of the six yard area wasn't met by any Latics defenders and Podolski found himself in all sorts of space to tap the ball home with his head.

The hosts continued their pressure on Latics' defence but Antolin Alcaraz and co. held strong to keep the score at 1-0.

Jordi Gomez almost unpicked Arsenal's stubborn back line with a clip over the top for Arouna Kone but, as he looked to head in for 1-1 Laurent Koscielny acrobatically over head kicked the ball clear.

Latics grew into the second half as they used the outboard of Callum McManaman on the right side but it fell to Shaun Maloney on the stroke of half time to draw Martinez's men level.

As he jinked his way towards the edge of Arsenal's penalty area, Mikel Arteta brought down the Scotsman to the anger of the home crowd.

It was a brilliant free kick from Maloney as he got the ball up over and down into the bottom corner despite a touch on it's way in from the keeper.

Faith was restored for the travelling supporters as the half time whistle blew.

Latics started the second half with a fight, as Arouna Kone came close despite McManaman taking a tumble in the box as the Ivorian striker played on, forcing a tight angled save from Szczesny.

Robles pulled off outstanding double saves to keep the scores at 1-1 when Walcott's cut back was thumped at the keeper by Rosicky but the big Spaniard push the ball away before saving almost instantaneously.

Rhythm was building for Latics, with Boyce heading just over from a Maloney free kick but on 63 minutes Arsenal were ahead again as Cazorla scampered down the right and Walcott turned in his low cross despite an attempted block by Robles.

Five minutes later Podolski got his second of the game when Cazorla headed the ball through Latics' defence and the German forward lifted the ball over Robles.

As Latics tried to push back into the game they were opened up and Arsenal added a fourth goal when Aaron Ramsey escaped down the left, cut in and beat Robles one-on-one.

The main thing for Roberto Martinez and his team is that they never back down and never gave up despite the deficit.

Wigan Athletic Football Club bowed out of the Premier League with the defeat but each and every player showed their heart as they walked across the pitch to meet their supporters, many throwing away shirts and some brought to tears.

It has been an amazing eight season for Latics in the Premier League and history has been created, including Saturday's momentous FA Cup victory...we will be back!