Maloney can steer Wigan to a safe haven


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The Independent Online

For the first time in months, Wigan can see dry land. Their run of treacherous games ends at Arsenal tonight, before a final four which could yield enough points to complete another Premier League survival.

Wigan spent the first three months of 2012 bottom of the table but have finally earned the results their ambitious 3-4-3 football deserves. A win at Liverpool was followed by a 2-0 defeat of Stoke, a fairly honourable defeat at Chelsea and a famous 1-0 victory over Manchester United. They are out of the drop zone for the first time since December and after tonight's game they have Fulham, Newcastle, Blackburn and Wolves to end their season.

It was Shaun Maloney whose perfectly curled finish beat United last week and his manager Roberto Martinez said: "He had a massive impact [in the 1-1 draw] against Norwich and since then has shown he is a player capable of that little bit of magic that gives you results. He makes the fans enjoy their football, which is something they really appreciate, and has shown a real freshness in producing the quality we always knew he had."

For Arsenal it is Chelsea loanee Yossi Benayoun who is finally displaying his talent despite arriving back in August.

He scored his second league goal in last week's win at Wolves and manager Arsène Wenger said: "He has been very patient and very professional. He came here with lack of competition and took a while to become really sharp. We kept faith in him and put him in for big games because he is an intelligent and talented player."