The FA Cup winners will play in the Championship next season after a comprehensive defeat by Arsenal who strengthened their claim for the final Champions League spot
• The best images from tonight's match at the Emirates
.. and goodbye to you, fair readers. Thanks for all your emails. They were fun. Please come again, such as for tomorrow's Europa League bash. We'll give the final
plug thought to Craig Ward. "If you would be so kind as to inform Dan Davis I've made tons of records post-dEUS, and they're all way better that anything dEUS have done post-me, while pointing him towards Jezus Factory Records for evidence thereof, I'd be most grateful."
Wigan become Premier League history in historic fashion, the first FA Cup winners to get relegated in the same season. Tonight's match summed up the reasons why: chaotic defending outweighed nimble attacking. Arsenal, meanwhile, have regained the edge over Spurs in the race of the Champions League.
Sub: Arteta off, Vermaelen off.
Cazorla deserves to crown his performance with a goal but selflessly tries to chip a pass through to Ozlade-Chamberlain when he had a perfect shooting opportunity for himself. Alcaraz cuts it out.
Oxlade-Chamberlain charges down the right and pings in a low cross that Wigan actually deal with effectively.
Henriquez's first contribution is to be caught offside. "Craig Ward is emailing the MBM?!? That is great!" booms Dan Davis. "Is he an Arsenal supporter a Wigan fan or a neutral? dEUS hasn't been the same since he left. Since Arsenal's goals have disappointed you, how about if you dispense with the updates on the game and instead post updates on Craig's latest musical endeavors?" I believe he has now committed himself to full-time football-watching, like JR in Illinois. Right, Craig?
Wigan sub: Maloney off, Henriquez on.
The pace has dropped markedly, for obvious reasons. Arsenal are safe and Wigan are grieving. Mind you, Arsenal are still seeking a fifth goal and Cazorla is lining up a corner. "Craig 'dEUS' Ward is a fan of the minute by minute?!" gaps Phil Hopper. "They were awesome! Tell him that their first three albums were brilliant!" Should he deduce from that that the fourth was rubbish?
Wigan have not given up, the poor fools. Di Santo cracks a low effort just wide from 20 yards.
Arsenal subs: Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain on, Rosicky and, of course, Podolski off.
There's no sympathy here from Arsenal, who are threatening to inflict further damage. Only an errant pass from Podolski stopped Walcott from getting in for another. "I once received an email from somebody in public relations who missed out an 'l'," reports Simon Briault. "A pubic relations professional! Amazing."
From the corner Di Santo sends a header just over.
Di Santo wins a corner for Wigan, for all the good it'll do them. "Back in the 90s I was a member of a Belgian 'progressive pop' group you may or may not recall called dEUS," strums Craig Ward. "We were quite fashionable in those days. Anyhoo, shortly before I joined the band they released a (not terribly good) mini-album entitled 'My Sister Is My Clock.' Imagine the hilarity that ensued when the press release from Island Records went out to all and sundry calling attention to dEUS's new mini-album, but missing the crucial 'l in the last word. We never looked back, I tell you."
So long Wigan. That was far too simple for Ramsey, who ambled down the left wing and into the box before firing into the roof of the net. "Regarding typos, I was responding to a meeting request on behalf of a colleague recently and meant to explain that , while I'd be there, she couldn't make it because of her hectic schedule," recalls Colin Ward. "Sadly, I inadvertently inserted a rogue 't' and announced that my colleague wouldn't be attending because she was 'too busty'. Needless to say, that required several follow-up explanations."
Wigan look doomed. It was ropey defending, as Cazorla was able to latch on to a breaking ball and head it into the path of Podolski, who lifted it over Joel. That's three assists for Cazorla, and far too many defensive mistakes this season for Wigan.
Wigan effectively need two goals. So Roberto Martinez turns to the man who got the crucial one on Saturday. Ben Watson replaces Gomez.
The Emirates erupts! Sagna releases Cazorla down the right and the Spaniard pings a wonderful low cross to tghe edge of the six-yard box, where Walcott darts between the centrebacks to jab it into the net!
Jack Wilshere is warming u. "I reside stateside in Illinois," shouts anthony Paige. "I'm still trying to come to grips with 187 matches... that's 16,380 minutes of footy if he watched from kick-off to final whistle (ignoring stoppage) OR eight times a FT job at 40 hours per... I'm picturing a Jabba-the-hut shut-in (like in 'Seven') where folks slide food under a trap door in fear of being eaten by the Footy Sloth in Apartment 8D."
Walcott gets in behind Scharner down the right. Podolski is howling for a pass in the centre but Walcott tries to score himself from an acute angle and Joel foils him. During our manager's first month with the company he was forced to deal with the issue of odiferous perfumes in close quarters," reminisces Erin Brown. "He sent out a lengthy email detailing the harmful effects that the smell of your "colon" (cologne) might have on others. "Other people might not enjoy the smell of your colon. Sometimes, you may not realize just how strong the smell of your colon is." We never let him forget."
A ldangerous cross by Walcott flies over to Gibbs on the far side of the box. The left-back clips it back in and Podolski connects but his header is too soft to trouble Joel.
Koscileny does well to put an Espinoza cross behind for a corner, Wigan's first of the game. Maloney then got booked for time wasting because he didn't take the corner fast enough as he was checking that McManamn was OK - and it seems he is not, as Di Santo has been introduced for the crocked winger. And ref, why would Wigan want to waste time?
Wigan full of enterprise and only diligent backtracking by Ramsey stopped McManaman from getting of f a shot from 18 yards after a fine build-up. Here's Andy Palmquist on Martin Tyler's "Arsenal better off with a loss than a draw" theory. "As a Spurs fan I'd rather disagree. I imagine that an interested Sunderland needing to attack would suit Spurs better. Tottenham have been far better on the road this season (10 wins, 2nd best in league) than at home. One would think its because teams come to WHL sitting back, while Spurs need some space to operate best on the counter. If Sunderland need to score, Spurs can let them attack, spring a couple goals and get their win."
Alzaraz booked for clumping into the back Rosicky. "Whilst I was working for a local authority in East London a few years back, an email was sent to the entire department joyfully announcing the promotion of a colleague to the post of Pubic Realm Manager," recalls Eugene Waters.
Arsenal almost snatch the lead! Walcott whizzes down the right and crosses for Cazorla, whose first shot is blocked by Boyce and the second by Joel before Rosicky joins the pandemonium in the Wigan box and hammers a shot just wide. Anything could happen here!
Goal for Wigan! But it's ruled out for offside - correctly so. But Arsenal were again stretched by Koné.
Maloney, who has been orchestrating matters superbly for the last 25 minutes or so, wriggle away from Ramsey but then balloons a long shot way over the bar. "Is it just me or has anyone else out there thought that the truly correct spelling of the word typo should really be tpyo?" quips Thomas Nolan.
Arsenal are reeling! There's genuine nervousness among the home crowd and Wigan's rise continue. The visitors have just picked their way beautiful through the Arsenal defence, forcing Szczesny to charge of hiss line to block a shot from Koné.
We have resumption. And on Sky, Martin Tyler has just posited the theory that, while a victory would be ideal, Arsenal might prefer a defeat to a draw - because three points for Wigan would mean that Sunderland would have to "give it their best" against Tottenham on Saturday.
As we await Wigan's second-half winner, let us ponder Mark Elliont's racist software. "I once worked with a countryman of yours called Peadar," begins Mark. "The email program we used would always change his name to Peabrain. I'm not sure if it was just using a lazy ethnic stereotype, or it was actually quite perceptive, as Peadar worked in human resources."
"JR in Illinois is constantly emailing the MBMs," note Harsha Kodali. "Are you sure it's football he's going miss, or the chance to chime in on these entries? Maybe you can create a summer MBM for him. 'JR sipping a beer, bored in his living room. A dull day, this one'. He can comment at will on them."
"You just feel with Quinn that when he starts a sentence he doesn't know where he's going with it," writes Brian Kitt of Sky's gantry-rider. Commentator-in-chief Martin Tyler, on the other hand, seems to think Quinn is doing a fine job, even praising him for learning the correct "television vocabulary" when he referred to an on-screen statistics graphic in the first half as, yes, "a graphic". Impressive, eh?
The half-time whistle is greeted by boos from their Arsenal fans, clearly unhappy about the freekick from which Maloney equalised. How selfish of them: won't they think of the TV-watching millions who want a fun final weekend? That could still be on. Come on Wigan, get a second! "I once emailed a work colleague called Jo," announces Andy Seaman. " But I hit the adjacent 'h' key rather than the J so I greeted her with "Hi Ho". I'm still waiting for the call from Human Resources." Are you by any chance a dwarf? Then you could explain that you were going to add "it's off to work we go".
The freekick may not have been deserved but it was brilliantly executed! Just like Maloney's goal at QPR a few weeks back, if a little further out. Game on!
The pressure from Wigan is mounting, although they were lucky to get a freekick on the edge of the box just now as, in my opinion, there was nothing wrong with Arteta's challenge on Maloney. It looks like the Scot will take it ...
Maloney and Koné link up well before flipping the ball wide to McManaman, who tries to skedaddle past Gibbs and into the box. But, with the help of two team-mates, Gibbs subdues the winger and Arsenal clear.
Arsenal almost produce a replica of their goal. Cazorla floated in another corner, Scharner missed it again, and Koscielny met it at the hear post but bundled it inches wide.
More fine play from Wigan, culminating with Maloney making a shuffling run in from the left and letting fly with his right. Koscielny blocked.
McArthur rolls a nice pass behind Gibbs. McManaman fires in a low cross but Mertesacker clears. Arsenal's discomfort is growing.
Koné tonks one way over from 25 yards. "At a recent farewell event, a senior manager apologised for not being terribly good at self-defecating speeches," announces Kris Towson, presumably in reference to our typo riff.
Wigan's mojo continues to rise. They're not going to go down without a fight. Arsenal have had a habit of fading in recent games so there is hope.
A tame long shot from Ramsey trickles wide. "For all the criticism of the FA for staging the final before the end of the league season perhaps that contributed to Wigan's excellent performance and victory," warnles David Wall. "It's probably not a coincidence that no side has ever been relegated and won the cup because a relegated team that reached the final would inevitably be at least a little demoralised and more likely to under-perform. In contrast Wigan still believe (probably mistakenly, sadly) that'll stay up so were in a much better frame of mind than if the final had been at the end of the season when they've probably gone down. Perhaps it's not much to be said for the FA (and certainly wouldn't have been part of their reasons for the decision, but it's at least one positive side-effect (unless you're Roberto Mancini, of course)."
Fine tackle by Boyce to thwart Ramsey as Arsenal launched a counter-attack following a mistake by Scharner.
That's more like it from Wigan. A positive move down the left concludes with a good ball into the box and Koné forces Szczesny to punch clear with difficulty. Wigan win it back and Maloney is fouled about four yards outside the box. Gomez, alas, plops the freekick straight into the wall.
Gibbs was obviously watching Saturday's FA Cup final because he seems to know exactly what McManaman is going to do when he gets the balls. He's just dispossessed him again.
Wigan work Espinoza into a great position down the left but when he looks up to pick out a team-mate in the box, he finds that there are none, so has to turn back and is eventually dispossessed by Sagna. That episode is symptomatic of a tired side, I submit.
Cazorla threads an inviting ball towards the near post and Ramsey slides along the rain-soaked surface to meet it but can't direct it on target.
An attempted long shot from Sagna is so far off target that it nearly becomes a precise cross for Gibbs, who threw himself at the ball as it fizzed past him but just failed to connect. "Not mine, but a coworker recently updated a manual in which we were instructed to apologise to a client for the 'incontinence'" discloses Michael Kruze. "That would require quite the apology, I imagine." Was the word he meant 'incompetence'? Quite fitting he didn't spell it right.
Arsenal are racking up more corners than an icosahedron as Wigan look weak. It's looking grim for them.
Wigan are looking nervous, or possibly jaded. And Arsenal look hellbent on taking full advantage, playing at an exhilarating tempo and with deadly directness.
Far too easy, that goal. Wigan failed utterly to deal with a corner and Podolski was free to nod into the net from six yards.
Walcot t on the charge again, fizzing a pass across the six-yard box and forcing Maloney to put it behind for a corner. "Less typo more autocorrect," says David Leach by way of introduction to his tale of spelling confusion. "I was emailing people that I was due to visit in Newcastle to inform them I was bringing a colleague with me to help me with some training. Unfortunately outlook decided that it was more likely I was bringing 'Naz' with me instead of 'Naz'. I wouldn't mind but they didn't even mention it in the response. I still have no idea what they expected the training to be in."
Walcott gets up a gallop for the first time and whizzes to the right byline before pulling a looping cross into the centre. Cazorla dives to meet it with a canny header but just misses the target, assuming the advertising hoarding behind the goal wasn't his intended target. "Any chance the 'Well done Wigan for winning in the FA Cup!' display was more of a jab at the club that has plundered many of the players who failed to deliver on Sunday?" wonders Alfredo in New Orleans.
There was speculation pre-game that Wigan were going to revert to the back four but it transpires that they are sticking with their 3-5-2, with Espinoza and McArthur as the wing-backs. And the latter has just got forward for the first time and won a throw-in for Wigan down near the right-hand corner flag.
Arsenal's vibrant start continues and only timely interceptions by Maloney and then Scharner have prevented them from finding killer passes so far. Meanwhile, on the subject of typos, here's Robin Hazlehurst. "It may be subliminal but colleagues have noticed that as Friday afternoon approaches, my tendency to miss the letter o from the word point in economic reports increases," reveals Robin. "Does it mean something? Apart from proving that I don't talk like Father Ted perhaps."
We have go. Wigan touches of the ball in the first minute? Zero. Arsenal look eager to prick their balloon of optimism early doors. "I have a horrible feeling Spurs will get food poisoning against Sunderland, but i would love Wigan to give themselves something to play for, regardless," frets Aidy Shaw."
As the teams take to the pitch, the giant scoreboard at the Emirates displays a message reading: "Well done Wigan for winning in the FA Cup!" My colleague Gregg Bakowski thinks this was extremely patronising, "the equivalent of a pat on the head", whereas I suspect it is case of Arsenal trying to get a vicarious thrill from fraternising with trophy-winners.
"It's just starting to sink in that the season is almost over," sobs JR in Illinois. "This will be the 187th Premier League game I've watched this season. With no Olympics and no Euros this year I'm skeptical that I'm going to enjoy this summer (and it doesn't help that it's basically about a billion freaking degrees here from June through August). If Wigan doesn't win this I'm going to feel sorry for whoever is going to be on the clockwatch on Sunday. They better start thinking of alternate topics to discuss." 187 games? You have actually been counting them? Do you have a dossier chronicling all your televisual activities? is it confined to televisual activities or can you also tell us exactly how many cups of coffee you've had this year, the number of CDs listened to and, perhaps, the number of friends you have?
Wigan have won their last two games in each of the last two seasons. Wigan have won 10 of their most recent 20 games. Wigan have won 51 of the 173 matches for which Roberto Martinez has managed them. Sorry, I don't really get this form thing: what's the cut-off point for relevant stats?
Speaking of Saturday's reaction, I saw an online report that briefly carried the headline 'Wogan pull off Wembley shock!”, prompting immediate questions as to what exactly the popular broadcaster had got up to. Had he run on to the pitch and kicked Yaya Touré in the blankety blanks? Or perhaps taken over the stadium PA to offer an impromptu Eurovision style commentary on the final? The mind was a-boggle until, alas, it turned out to be a cruel typo. But what about, readers, have typos ever caused you consternation?
(And yes, this riff is partially intended as preemptive mitigation for the imminent mbm)
Apart from fans of Arsenal and various basement-dwelling clubs, does any one not want Wigan to win this? Nothing against Arsene Wenger & Co, it's just that it would be a drag if the relegation squabble was settled tonight rather than on the last weekend of the season, particularly as all right-thinking folks still have a little happy glow inside them after what Wigan did to Manchester City on Saturday. Roberto Martinez has named the same line-up that got Wigan the Cup and Roberto Mancini the sack but can they produce an even better performance, which is probably what will be required given that Arsenal are unlikely to loaf about as shamefully as City did? So here's to some choice action from Shaun Maloney, James McCarthy and Callum McManaman, and wing-backs who somehow find a way to deal with Theo Walcott.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky; Walcott, Podolski, Cazorla
Wigan: Joel, Alcaraz, Boyce, Scharner, Espinoza, McCarthy, Maloney, Gomez, McManaman, McArthur, Kone