LONDON — Wigan Athletic became the third and final team to be relegated from the Premier League with a 4-1 loss to Arsenal, just days after the elation of its FA Cup final win.
Roberto Martinez’s side had arrived at the Emirates Stadium hopeful that its dramatic upset against Manchester City would prove the springboard for another great escape in the relegation battle.
But Arsenal desperately needed the points as well as it tries to qualify for the Champions League and the Gunners romped home thanks to a brace from Lukas Podolski and strikes from Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey.
Meanwhile, Wigan’s defeated FA Cup final opponents Manchester City secured second place in the Premier League with a 2-0 win over already-relegated Reading at the Madejski Stadium.
Sergio Aguero’s first-half strike put City ahead, but the dethroned champions had to wait until the 88th minute before Edin Dzeko showed a cool head to double his side’s lead.In London, Martinez named the same starting line-up that stunned City, but the Latics seemed sapped of energy and they surrendered the lead in careless fashion in the 11th minute.
German forward Podolski put Arsenal ahead when he nodded in Santi Cazorla’s corner following poor Wigan marking.
Shaun Maloney gave Wigan hope with a free-kick equaliser, but the Latics, running on fumes after their Wembley heroics, will experience the unique anguish of becoming the first side to win the FA Cup and be relegated in the same season.
“It is really disappointing,” Martinez said. “I never expected this to happen. The group of players we have are an incredible bunch and we didn’t deserve this.
“It’s a tough day, but we have had incredible eight years in the Premier League.
“You look at the stats and they tell you we conceded far too many goals. Going forward we were magnificent but the number of injuries we’ve had in the back line is something I’ve never seen before.”
Martinez, himself a former Wigan player, insisted the FA Cup had not been a distraction from the business of staying in the Premier League.
“The FA Cup gave us a bit of hope of finishing the season on a high. It gave us a different sense of confidence.
“It’s great to win the FA Cup. It’s an achievement that will live forever. The relegation is something we can rectify.
“The club is on a fantastic financial footing. We are stronger than ever. It’s important we make our fans really proud. They supported us like they always do.
“It’s a difficult time. It’s a time to look forward to the future.”