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Monday, April 30, 2012
Wigan boosts hopes of survival with rout
LONDON — Wigan demolished Newcastle 4-0 on Saturday for another remarkable win in its attempt to avoid relegation from the Premier League and severely dent its opponent's chances of qualifying for next season's Champions League.
With the fight for the title not resuming until leader Manchester United makes the short trip to second-place Manchester City on Monday, much of Saturday's action centered on the teams fighting to stay in the lucrative Premier League.
Newcastle had won six straight matches to move into fourth place but Wigan, which looked certain to be relegated just over a month ago, followed recent wins over Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal with four first-half goals.
Wigan is now three points clear of the three-team relegation zone. Bolton remained in 18th place despite rallying for a 2-2 draw at Sunderland, while Aston Villa is still in danger after a 0-0 draw at mid-table West Bromwich Albion.
At the other end of the table, Robin van Persie scored his 28th league goal of the season to earn third-place Arsenal a 1-1 draw at Stoke.
Uruguay striker Luis Suarez scored from near halfway to complete a hat trick and give Liverpool a 3-0 win at Norwich, while Nikica Jelavic scored twice as Everton scored four for the third straight league game to beat Fulham 4-0.
Wigan was still last in the standings on March 17 after just one win in 14 Premier League matches but kept faith with its passing, attacking game and is now one of the division's in-form teams.
"It was huge win today and we have two more huge games against Blackburn and Wolves," Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said. "This result is fantastic for the fans but if we don't achieve our aim of staying in this league then it is going to mean nothing."
Victor Moses headed Wigan into the lead in the 13th minute and made it 2-0 two minutes later after Magpies defender Fabricio Coloccini failed to clear the ball and left his opponent with a simple finish from a loose ball.
Shaun Maloney rounded off a team move with a finish from a tight angle on the left and Franco Di Santo struck a fourth goal in first-half injury time with a curling shot from outside the area.
Wigan now has 37 points with two games remaining, three more than Queens Park Rangers and Bolton immediately below it and the same as Aston Villa.
Villa needed a late save from goalkeeper Shay Given to earn a valuable point at West Brom. Last-place Wolverhampton Wanderers, which has already been demoted, fought back from 4-1 down to draw 4-4 at Swansea.
Kevin Davies earned Bolton a point at Sunderland with his second goal of the game, while QPR plays Sunday at Chelsea. Blackburn, the other side in the relegation zone, is at Tottenham in Sunday's other game.
Southampton was promoted Saturday after a 4-0 win over Coventry sealed its return to England's topflight after a seven-year absence.
The Saints scored twice in each half to clinch a second straight promotion and finish as runnerup to Reading in the second-tier League Championship.
"We've put a lot of hard work in and a lot of hours and we've achieved something special this season," Southampton manager Nigel Adkins said. "Everyone works so hard at this football club and it's great to see the smiles and delight on the supporters' faces."
West Ham finished third despite a 2-1 win over Hull and will enter the playoffs with Blackpool, Birmingham and Cardiff.