Full-time - 90'
4 - 1
18:45 +00:00, May 14, 2013
Emirates Stadium, England
The final whistle goes and, so soon after they lifted the FA Cup, that means Wigan Athletic are relegated after eight seasons in the top flight. Arsenal, meanwhile, strengthen their chances of fourth place. It's all over at the Emirates: Arsenal have beaten Wigan 4-1.
Kone crosses and Vermaelen is the man in the right place to head it away.
One last Wigan move: Watson finds Espinoza on the left and he fees the ball back to Watson...
Vermaelen is on and Arteta off in a late, late change for Arsenal.
There will be two minutes of added time here at the Emirates.
...Arsenal clear it and break through Walcott. He tries to find a cross for the splendid Cazorla, but Wigan cut it out.
Wigan have decided to spend the remaining time upfield, and Di Santo has a run on the right. He wins a corner...
As the visitors seek a consolation, Henriquez chases in vain. A couple of minutes of normal time remaining.
Henriquez is offside as Wigan mount another attack. Szczesny will take the free-kick and start an attack from which Oxlade-Chamberlain crosses dangerously and Wigan scrape the ball away.
Di Santo and - of all people - Scharner link in an attack for Wigan. The latter rather scuffs his cross from the right, and Arsenal get that one clear.
Joel deals with the corner for Wigan, and the follow-up is blocked.
Angelo Henriquez is on for Wigan, with their goalscorer, Maloney, making way.
At Reading, where things kicked off later, a Sergio Aguero goal has Manchester City in front. Oxlade-Chamberlain makes a determined run on the right to win an Arsenal corner.
A good, firm clearing header by Boyce makes sure that they can't turn it into another goal.
Back to matters on this pitch at this time, and Arsenal have a corner after another Gibbs raid.
All this means that, with a game left, Arsenal are a point ahead of Tottenham and have - for now - fourth place. The final day sees the Gunners travel to Newcastle, while Spurs host Sunderland.
...he uses it to fire in a low effort, but it's wide of Szczesny's goal.
Forward it comes, though, and there's a little bit of space for Di Santo...
Wigan are on the ball again, but it's all happening inside their own half and Arsenal will be fine with all that.
We're heading towards the last ten minutes - the last ten minutes of Wigan's eight-season spell in the Premier League. Still they come forward, though. Espinoza and Watson link in midfield, but then McArthur slips.
Podolski, two-goal scorer, is off for Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Rosicky makes way for Jack Wilshere in a double Gunners change.
Espinoza comes forward, but Wigan can't find him. Things have fizzled out for them since the departure of McManaman - fizzled out in every sense.
Free-kick to Wigan in midfield. They lose it, and Arteta produces some good footwork before under-hitting his attempted pass through the middle.
As it fizzes across, Di Santo gets a touch - but that only guides the ball onto the roof of the net.
Nothing doing on that occasion, and Wigan come forward. Di Santo crosses and Koscielny's uncertain clearance gives the visitors a corner.
Wigan come forward and Maloney finds a low cross from the left. Arsenal clear, and here they come again with Rosicky on the left-hand side...
Three goals in eight minutes have done for the FA Cup-winners, who have produced some sparkling football and improbable storylines during their time in the top flight. Now, though, it is over: and that will come as a huge relief to fans of Aston Villa and Sunderland.
It is all over for Wigan, and the number of their players who slumped to the turf after that shows that they are only too aware of it.
GOAL: He finds a gem of a finish, crashing the ball high into the net from an angle on the left. Arsenal, all of a sudden, are 4-1 up.
Boyce is forward, up on the right, but they can't keep the ball and Arsenal can come forward again as Ramsey races into acres of space down the left.
They have 20 minutes in which to find three goals - and Di Santo is trying. He finds Watson in midfield...
Wigan will feel that two of tonight's Arsenal goals were preventable, and they are surely facing an impossible task here now.
GOAL: Arsenal, from nowhere, get a third. The ball is headed forward to Podolski, played onside by Scharner, and he lifts the ball over Joel superbly. The end, it appears, is nigh for Wigan Athletic.
Still Wigan believe, and they have time. Watson and Espinoza link - Walcott snaps in to win the ball and is then (well, so says referee Mike Dean) fouled by the Wigan man. Free-kick.
Mertesacker tries to get there and as Wigan clear Kone races on to a long ball before - just - being crowded out.
Cazorla, who provided the cross for that Walcott goal, takes it.
Ramsey does well down the left for Arsenal, winning a throw as the home fans find their voices once again. From it, they get themselves a corner...
Cup final hero Ben Watson is on for Jordi Gomez. A touch under half an hour to play, and Wigan are in deep, deep peril once again.
GOAL: It's a peach of a cross, and Walcott gets there to stab past Joel. Arsenal have had a tough time in this half - but they are back in front and again Wigan must find two goals to have a chance of survival.
It looks as though Arsenal will be introducing Jack Wilshere - but, in the meantime, Cazorla can cross from the right...
Gibbs attacks again for Arsenal on the left. Alcaraz is there and Kone comes away, but Di Santo can't make anything of his pass.
Walcott finds some room on the right, but his effort from a narrow angle is blocked by Joel. Podolski wanted a cross, but didn't get one.
On the hour: this has been an intriguing, open second half. Wigan are the better side - but they need a winner.
Maloney crosses, Boyce flicks and the ball is wide of the far post.
Espinoza raids once again for Wigan. The ball is switched to the right, and Gibbs fouls Di Santo. A good crossing position for the visitors, this one.
Gibbs crosses well from the left, and Podolski gets his head to it. There are no problems for Joel, though, who clutches the ball.
McManaman has to come off and Franco Di Santo is on. McManaman still receiving treatment - that's a bad blow for Wigan.
Maloney was booked for waiting to take the corner, hoping that McManaman could make his way back onto the pitch.
Arsenal get it away. McManaman, meanwhile, is down and off the pitch after a challenge.
Espinoza crosses dangerously, and Koscielny has to slide the ball out for a corner. It's Wigan's first corner of the match.
McCarthy makes a run and tries to find Kone, but the move breaks down. Arsenal, though, are on the back foot at the moment.
Gibbs raids on the left and, when the ball falls to Ramsey on the edge of the area, he can only blaze a difficult chance into the crowd.
...but Wigan are forcing them back all the time. They are unrecognisable from the side that struggled so badly in the first half an hour.
Alcaraz clatters into the back of Rosicky and gets a yellow card. From the free-kick, Arsenal embark on a spell of passing...
Breathless stuff at the start of this half. Maloney, on the right, crosses towards Kone, but it's beyond him and Szczesny catches.
Straight to the other end - Walcott crosses, Cazrola shoots, Joel saves and then the follow-up is scrambled away before Cazorla fizzes another effort in. This one is wide.
Another attack from Wigan, and when the ball falls to McCarthy from Kone's cross, he blasts home - but is offside.
Maloney turns away from Ramsey but gets his 25-yard shot all wrong: it's sliced wide.
Ramsey tries to come forward but is adjudged to have pushed Scharner in the back. Free-kick to Wigan, and forward they come again.
What a moment that almost was for the Latics. They've got their rhythm together now.
Wigan attack, and the ball is fed in towards Kone, at an angle on the left of the area. Szczesny has to make a good stop - Wigan almost in front.
Joel looks for Espinoza with his goal-kick, but it's a bit too high and he can't keep that one in play.
Here come Arsenal, with the ball swept out to Walcott on the right. They're forced back, though, and when the ball is played through Walcott is offside.
And off we go - what a crucial 45 minutes these are.
Second half about to get under way here - Wigan will kick it off.
And that is half-time - anger from the home fans over the award of the free-kick to Wigan that has put this game in the balance, but it has set up an intriguing second half. All square, all to play for.
Seconds until the break. McArthur tries to slide a pass through, but that's blocked.
"We are staying up," sing the Wigan fans. And if their players can score another goal and keep Arsenal out, they just might be.
Two minutes of added time, and Wigan's improvement had definitely made them more of a threat. But you can argue that was a very, very soft free-kick for Wigan.
GOAL: And he scores - it's a glorious effort over the wall and, although Szczesny gets a touch to it, he can't keep it out. All square at the Emirates!
Controversial free-kick to Wigan, as Arteta is adjudged to have fouled Maloney. Maloney will take this one, in shooting range...
While there is only one goal in it, though, Wigan are more than in it. Kone makes a run, and up goes the flag, after McCarthy and Cazorla tangle and Arsenal felt they should have had a free-kick before the ball was played.
McManaman runs into the area, but that comes to nothing. The game is rather meandering its way to the break.
Wenger, you feel, will be disappointed at the noticeable slide in Arsenal's momentum. Maloney comes forward to start a move that ends with a deep Espinoza cross and a Wojciech Szczesny catch.
Five minutes remaining until the break. Meanwhile, Reading are goalless at home to the now Roberto Mancini-less Manchester City.
Seconds later, Walcott chips in - but the offside flag is up.
Again, Wigan allow it to travel - but this time, Koscielny stabs wide. That could, and probably should, have been two.
Arsenal break, and McArthur puts the ball behind for a corner. At last, a bit of noise from the home fans.
Wigan on the ball again. They are improving as this half goes on, without question. Espinoza, on the left, finds Maloney, whose run is snuffed out.
Suddenly, Arsenal have gone a bit ragged. Their fans have gone a bit nervous.
A sign of encouragement for Wigan. They come forward again, but McArthur delays too long when he had Espinoza in space on the left.
Gomez finds McManaman, who can cross from the right. It's not the greatest cross, and Arsenal get it clear.
It's all rather quiet at the Emirates - but then McManaman gives the all away to Ramsey. Who gives it away himself. Mutters from the crowd.
Rosicky clips McManaman inside the Arsenal half. Kone takes the ball on but gets his effort at goal all wrong, hoisting it well over the top.
Cazorla crosses, low and dangerously, from the left. It's stabbed out of harm's way by Boyce.
The Latics currently look drained by their weekend exploits. The adrenaline has yet to kick in.
Neat passing from Wigan, but it's all inside their own half. When it goes forward, they produce their fifth or sixth over-hit pass to the left. They are not, at the moment, working as an attacking unit at all.
The ball is too long, and Wigan 'keeper Joel claims. Meanwhile, Arteta looks a little dazed after what may have been a clash of heads, but is back on his feet soon enough.
...he is challenged by McArthur, and the referee adjudges that to be a free-kick. Looked more like a 50-50, but here come Arsenal once more.
We're heading for the half hour, and Arsenal have had much the better of the possession and the vast majority of the chances. Rosicky heads on to Ramsey on the left...
Ramsey tries to skid a low shot in but gets it all wrong, bobbling a half-hit effort the wrong side of the post.
Scharner makes a mistake, and only a good sliding challenge by Boyce prevents a shooting chance from opening up for Arsenal.
Not much, because Gomez hits his effort straight into the wall. Not a good one.
Wigan free-kick - dangerous, about 25 yards out. What can they do here?
And right on cue, Koscielny has to make a good interception to prevent Kone from getting in.
Arsene Wenger will want his side to make the most of their superiority here by taking a lead of more than one goal into the break. After all, if anyone specialises in comebacks, it's Wigan.
Arsenal clear, and Cazorla tries to play one over the top for Walcott. Wigan read that one well.
Maloney on the ball, followed by McArthur and now McManaman. His cross is blocked, and it's a throw for Wigan almost on the byline.
Espinoza runs down the left and is very well tracked by Walcott, who had got all the way back to stop him from running at the Gunners' defence.
Can Wigan get going? Not this time - another stray pass allows Arsenal to come away with the ball.
Cazorla on the left of the area, and he stabs a low pass to Ramsey, who can only prod a half-chance wide.
Podolski loops in a header as another cross comes in from the right, but this time it's over the top.
Sagna crosses, and Walcott sees his shot blocked. Again, Arsenal are having almost all of the ball.
McManaman fouls Cazorla. Kone looks frustrated. Worrying times for Wigan.
Sagna takes the ball on and fires in what was supposed to be a low shot. It almost turns into a cross for Gibbs who, if he had made contact, would surely have doubled the lead.
Gibbs and Ramsey gang up on their defenders to win a throw inside the Wigan half.
Kone flicks on, but Wigan are failing to keep the ball for any length of time at all. You feel that, even though we are less than 20 minutes in, a second goal from Arsenal would almost be curtains.
Alcaraz looks for Espinoza but gets it all wrong, the ball going out of play for an Arsenal throw.
Martinez, on the touchline, looks worried. And soaked. The rain is still teeming down.
Podolski crosses low, the visitors get it away. They are very, very stretched.
Scharner heads out, but the respite is brief as Espinoza has to give away another corner against the excellent Walcott.
Again Walcott threatens, again down the right. It's another corner. Wigan are struggling badly at the moment.
Scharner gives away a free-kick for a foul on Walcott, and the Gunners come forward again. Rosicky tries to play it forward, but it's blocked.
It's a pretty dreadful goal from Wigan's point of view and it means that, as things stand, they are going to be relegated.
GOAL: And it brings a goal - the ball goes all the way across to Podolski who, unchallenged, heads into the roof of the net.
Arteta finds Walcott, whose early cross from the right is excellent and forces the visitors to concede a corner...
Espinoza is making a run for Wigan down the left, but the ball looking for him is awful and skids out of play. He could have done some damage there - there was room to run into.
Rosicky slides in to win the ball from Wigan. The home fans appreciated that challenge.
Patient passing from Arsenal in their own half. When it goes forward, Walcott wins a throw inside Wigan territory.
First real effort in anger, and it's an Arsenal one. Win here, and they would put themselves into fourth, a point ahead of Tottenham, with one game left.
...Cazorla is the man waiting, and his low header is only a fraction wide, zipping off the rainy pitch.
Another cross from the winger, but Arsenal bring this away and Walcott can cross...
Ramsey has to look lively as McManaman threatens again. Wigan throw.
Maloney has the ball and spreads play to the left. Patient passing from Wigan - their first spell of it - but then a ball looking for McManaman is overhit.
Wigan have hardly been able to string anything together yet in the way of passes. But they win a throw just inside the Arsenal half, with Espinoza to take.
It doesn't, with Scharner stepping in. But Rosicky, half-way inside Wigan territory, tries to usher a pass through. Again, the Latics clear.
But Wigan give it away and another cross might fall to Cazorla...
Arsenal have started very brightly: there's a lot of pace to what they're doing. The ball is played out towards Sagna: his pass forward, though, is aimless.
He tries to thump the ball across at pace, and Wigan get it clear.
Gibbs makes an early foray for Arsenal, who spread the play to Ramsey on the right-hand side of the area.
And we're off, in the driving rain of a dank North London night.
Kick-off is just five minutes away: stay with ESPN FC for all the action.
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez, unsurprisingly, sticks with the team that played so superbly at Wembley: Joel, Boyce, Espinoza, Alcaraz, McCarthy, Maloney, Gomez, McManaman, McArthur, Scharner, Kone.
Here's how Arsene Wenger's Gunners line up: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Rosicky, Arteta, Ramsey, Cazorla, Walcott, Podolski.
Last season, in their run of seven wins from nine at the end of the campaign, Wigan won 2-1 here. They know they have to do it again.
If they win, though, it's in their own hands again: another great escape would be on. But the points are every bit as crucial for Arsenal, who are in a huge scrap for fourth place with neighbours Tottenham.
If the Latics are defeated, they are relegated - from ecstasy to agony in four days. A draw does them no good, because Sunderland, the only team they could then catch on points, have a far superior goal difference.
So, here it comes - a genuine must-win game for both sides. Just days after lifting the FA Cup with that superb performance against Manchester City at Wembley, Wigan face another defining moment in North London.
Franco Di Santo
Ali Al Habsi
Franco Di Santo