ASTON VILLA ARE SAFE! Thanks to an outstanding second-half performance from Arsenal (really, outstanding final 30 minutes), Wigan Athletic have lost and will be playing next year in the Championship. It's been fun having you in the league, Wigan, but enjoy the lower levels. As a result of the match the relegation battle is settled and Aston Villa and Sunderland are safe. Sunday's match at Wigan is one purely for the record books now.
Here's how it happened. In the first half, Arsenal took an early lead when Wigan failed - miserably - to defend a corner that Lukas Podolski deftly headed in for the 1-0 lead:
Up to that point, it had been all Arsenal. But Wigan picked things up and were granted a dubious free kick on a Shaun Maloney dive. I'd like to be unbiased, but I can't be. It was a dive. But the free kick was wonderfully taken, leading the teams to head in to the half even at 1-1:
In the second half, Wigan came out as the superior team, but Arsenal eventually took control and put the match away with three goals in eight minutes. The first was from Theo Walcott:
The second was Podloski's brace:
And the third came off of the boot of Aaron Ramsey:
Wigan were just hopelessly outdone, and there was no way they'd win it.
But for Villa fans, all that matters is this: SAFETY IS ASSURED. Aston Villa will finish the season on Sunday and look ahead to the 2013-14 season shortly thereafter. We can all breathe again.