Wigan Athletic’s loss is a gain for everybody else

Following Wigan's loss to Swansea, it seems their time in the Premier League is coming to an end.

You sensed it was inevitable, that Roberto Martinez – the quietly spoken miracle worker – would somehow do it again.

And yet in the end a team renowned for avoiding relegation the right way – by playing football, by calmly overcoming crises – slipped closer to the Championship with something of a horror show.

Wigan’s 3-2 defeat to Swansea – in the game many observers had hailed as the one to make things interesting – means the Latics are seeking favours.

Newcastle United, on the other hand, will be Tweeting and texting their thanks to many a Swans player in the coming days.

Martinez gives such an impression of knowing what he is doing that his side’s defeat has left me a little disappointed.

Not in the Spaniard, but in the fact that Wigan may finally be saying their farewells to the top flight.

I remember their very first game in the Premier League, when only a late Hernan Crespo goal prevented them from getting a much-deserved draw against Chelsea back in 2005.

Ever since then, I have been a sporadic follower of the Latics; I look out for their results, I feel sad for the briefest moment when they have lost, and I smile when year-on-year they beat the odds.

But now those odds seem to have won.

And while Martinez will remind his side what they achieved last season, in winning seven of their last nine games to stay up when all looked lost. Their performance last night suggests they won’t believe him.

Of course there is still hope, but that hope is very much that one of the sides above them goes into free-fall.

Newcastle are giving that their best shot. But they will now go to Loftus Road on Sunday aware that three points will all but secure safety.

Wigan, on the other hand, must travel to Arsenal, where a repeat of their defensive befuddlement will see the Gunners run riot; although they have the small matter of an FA Cup final to play first.

Martinez will remain cool. And he will do his best to transfer that calmness to his players.

It is something that has steered them clear of worse positions than the one they currently find themselves in.

But all signs point to the need for three points in their last game against Aston Villa; and following the Swansea result even that may not be enough.

Can Wigan still survive?  And should they not, what does the future hold for the team and their manager?

image: © illarterate

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