Wigan defense fuels FA Cup stunner

Posted by Paul Carr, ESPN Stats & Information

Wigan stunned Manchester City 1-0 in Saturday's FA Cup final, as Ben Watson scored in second-half stoppage time to give the Latics the victory. Here are five notes on Wigan's upset at Wembley…

* In its first FA Cup final, Wigan won the first major trophy in the club's 81-year history. Wigan is the first FA Cup final debutant to lift the trophy since Wimbledon shocked Liverpool in 1988. Wigan's only previous cup final of any kind was the 2006 League Cup, when the Latics lost 4-0 to Manchester United.

* Wigan’s goal came after Man City’s Pablo Zabaleta was sent off in the 84th minute. Zabaleta became the third player to receive a red card in an FA Cup final. The others were Arsenal’s Jose Antonio Reyes in 2005 and Manchester United’s Kevin Moran in 1985. Both previous teams to lose a player had proceeded to win the FA Cup.

* Of Wigan’s seven FA Cup matches this season, the only home game was a third-round draw against Bournemouth. Wigan won the replay 1-0 at Bournemouth and allowed a total of two goals in seven matches, closing the tournament with consecutive shutouts of Everton, Millwall and Man City.

That’s a sharp contrast to Wigan’s league defense, which has surrendered 67 goals this season, tied with Reading and Aston Villa for most in the Premier League. The five shutouts Wigan posted in the FA Cup equal the team’s total for its 36-game league season thus far.

* Wigan could be the first FA Cup champion to be relegated in the same season. Five clubs had lost the FA Cup final and then been relegated, most recently Portsmouth in 2010. Wigan was promoted to the Premier League in 2005 and is currently the only club never to be relegated after reaching England’s top flight.

* Whether Wigan is relegated or not, the Latics will face Premier League champion Manchester United in August’s annual season-opening Community Shield match. Wigan could be the first second-division team to play for the Shield since West Ham lost to Liverpool in 1980.

After qualifying for Europa League with its win, Wigan could also be the third English second-division club to play in Europe, joining 2011-12 Birmingham City and 2002-03 Ipswich Town.

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