Humble pie for Newcastle
Wigan Athletic dented Newcastle United's dreams of a Champions League place next season and boosted their own Premier League survival hopes after a stunning 4-0 win at the DW Stadium on Saturday. PointersUpdated: Apr 29, 2012 01:38 IST
Wigan Athletic dented Newcastle United's dreams of a Champions League place next season and boosted their own Premier League survival hopes after a stunning 4-0 win at the DW Stadium on Saturday.
Fourth-placed Newcastle, who had won their previous six league games, 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.
Arsenal drew 1-1 at Stoke City to stay in third place (66 points) while Newcastle are fourth (62).Tottenham Hotspur, who play Blackburn Rovers at home on Sunday, are fifth on 59, while Champions League finalists Chelsea, who are at home to Queens Park Rangers on Sunday, are sixth on 58.
Aston Villa, embroiled in the relegation fight, drew 0-0 at Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion but stayed 15th on 37 points, followed by Wigan (37), QPR (34), Bolton (34), Blackburn (31) and doomed Wolves (24) who hit back from 4-1 down to share the points in an eight-goal thriller at Swansea City.
Victor Moses gave Wigan the perfect start with two goals in the opening 15 minutes - the first Newcastle had conceded for five games. Alan Pardew's side, who have climbed the table after their superb run of form, could find no way back as Shaun Maloney and Franco Di Santo, with a chip, added further goals before halftime to secure a victory that left them three points clear of the drop zone.
The result also threw the race for the Champions League places wide open.
Manchester United and Manchester City, who meet 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 Stoke.
That left Arsenal four points clear of Newcastle, but it is no longer definite that the fourth-placed finisher will qualify for the Champions League next season.
If Chelsea, who are currently sixth, beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final next month and finish outside the top four, they will take the fourth qualifying spot as holders.
The other key matches on Saturday saw Sunderland end their four-match run without a goal with a 2-2 draw against Bolton with Kevin Davies scoring twice for the visitors to keep alive their hopes of avoiding the drop.
First Published: Apr 28, 2012 23:46 IST