London - Wigan Athletic became the first team to be relegated from England's
top flight in the same season as winning the FA Cup after they lost 4-1
at Arsenal the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal took one step closer to qualification for next season's Champions League.
They lead north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, in
fifth spot, by one point with the last round of games to be played on
Wigan have narrowly escaped relegation several times in
recent seasons but their luck ran out at a rain-sodden Emirates Stadium
just three days after they had beaten Manchester City 1-0 at Wembley to
win the FA Cup for the first time.
Arsenal dominated the first 20
minutes and took the lead in the 11th when Lukas Podolski headed home
from six metres after the Wigan defence failed to deal with a corner.
visitors came back into the game and referee Mike Dean penalised a
tackle by midfielder Mikel Arteta on Wigan's Shaun Maloney just outside
the Arsenal area shortly before halftime.
Maloney's free kick
arced over the Arsenal wall and just inside Wojciech Szczesny's
left-hand post after which Dean was booed off the pitch by the home fans
at the break.
The second half was a full-blooded, equally matched
contest until Arsenal's England forward Theo Walcott met a cross from
the right by Santi Cazorla to steer the ball into the Wigan net at full
stretch in the 63rd minute.
Five minutes later, the lead stretched
to two goals after Cazorla broke forward, the Wigan backline stopped
and Podolski lifted the ball over Wigan goakeeper Joel Robles.
Arsenal went 4-1 up when Aaron Ramsey broke free on the left and ran unchecked into the area before blasting the ball home.
In the night's other match, Brian Kidd's Manchester City eased to a 2-0 victory over Reading at the Madjeski Stadium.
Kidd took charge of the team after the club sacked Roberto Mancini following their FA Cup final loss to Wigan at the weekend.
Sergio Aguero grabbed the opener in the 40th minute after being picked out by James Milner and steering a shot into the bottom corner from 12 yards out.
Edin Dzeko put the result beyond doubt with the coolest of finishes in the 88th minute to ensure that City will finish runners-up this season.