Wigan Athletic dented Newcastle
United's dreams of a Champions League place, while also
boosting their own Premier League survival hopes, with a stunning
4-0 win at the DW Stadium on Saturday.
Fourth-placed Newcastle came crashing down to earth against
Roberto Martinez's relegation battlers who continued their fight
for safety following recent wins over Liverpool, Manchester
United and Arsenal.
Wigan came flying out of the blocks with Victor Moses
scoring twice in the opening 15 minutes and they were 4-0 up by
halftime with Shaun Maloney and Franco Di Santo adding the
"We have reached a good level in the last stages of the
season, with a clinical finish in the last third," Martinez told
"I am sure many people will say Newcastle had a bad day, but
we played really well and we deserved it."
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew said: "If you don't have the
intensity that matches the other side you are in trouble, and we
didn't today and they got the early goals that changed the face
of the game.
"They were superb and can take great credit from this
victory - they were excellent."
The result at Wigan threw the race for Champions League
places wide open.
Manchester United and Manchester City, who meet at the
Etihad Stadium in what is virtually the title decider on Monday,
will fill the first two places, while Arsenal look set to finish
third even though they could only draw at Stoke where Robin Van
Persie's 35th of the season cancelled out Peter Crouch's opener
for the home side.
Arsenal have 66 points, four clear of Newcastle, but it is
no longer definite that the fourth-placed finisher will qualify
for the Champions League.
If Chelsea, who are sixth, beat Bayern Munich in the
Champions League final next month and finish outside the top
four, they will take the last qualifying spot as holders.
Aston Villa, embroiled in the relegation fight, drew 0-0 at
Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion and although they have only
won once in 14 matches, they stayed 15th on 37 points, ahead of
Wigan on goal difference.
Manager Alex McLeish, who was jeered by fans when Villa lost
at home to Bolton on Tuesday, told the BBC: "I have had to show
my experience and leadership and that has come to the fore. I
will not curl up and die. I will persevere to the end as I
always have done."
Sunderland ended their four-match run without a goal with a
2-2 draw against Bolton as Kevin Davies scored twice for the
visitors to keep alive their hopes of avoiding the drop.
Davies put the strugglers ahead after 26 minutes before
Nicklas Bendtner equalised for Sunderland who took the lead
early in the second half with a James McClean free-kick.
Davies saved a point for Bolton who stayed in the drop zone
but have a game in hand on their rivals.
Besides Wigan, three other teams scored four with Everton
crushing Fulham 4-0 at Goodison Park where Nikica Jelavic scored
twice, once from the penalty spot, taking his tally to 10 for
the Toffees since moving from Rangers in January.
Everton, who also scored four at Manchester United last
week, have now won 19 successive home league matches against
Fulham and confirmed all three points with further goals from
Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill.
Swansea City and Wolves produced a thrilling match at the
Liberty Stadium where Andrea Orlandi headed Swansea ahead after
only 24 seconds - the quickest goal in the Premier League this
season and the fastest for five years.
Swansea raced into a 4-1 lead after 31 minutes with further
goals from Joe Allen, Nathan Dyer and Danny Graham, before
Wolves fought back to draw.
Stephen Fletcher scored their first after 28 minutes with
Matt Jarvis getting two and David Edwards the other as Wolves
salvaged a point, although they will still finish bottom after
being relegated last week.
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