Wigan score three in eleven minutes to stun Arsenal

Wigan 3 Arsenal 2

Three goals in the final 11 minutes gave Wigan arguably the most stunning victory in their Premier League history and slammed the door shut on Arsenal's faint title hopes.

The Gunners appeared to be coasting to victory on the back of goals either side of half-time from Theo Walcott and Mikael Silvestre, and with it hauling themselves to within three points of leaders Chelsea.

But after a run of eight defeats and a draw in the league against Arsenal, Wigan added to their maiden wins over Chelsea and Liverpool this season as Ben Watson, Titus Bramble and Charles N'Zogbia conjured an astonishing comeback.

The remarkable result leaves Wigan seven points clear of the drop zone and seemingly safe, whereas Arsenal can now kiss goodbye to any hope they had of the title after back-to-back defeats in the space of five days.

Tottenham's victory over leaders Chelsea yesterday had given the visitors a glimmer of hope on the title front, but that has now evaporated, and they have only themselves to blame for a late collapse.

For 40 minutes here they found themselves frustrated by a Wigan side desperate for points in their battle to stay in the top flight for a sixth successive season.

After being booed off the pitch on Wednesday following a goalless draw against an already-relegated and understrength Portsmouth side, Wigan were determined to restore the faith of their fans.

There was certainly an urgency about Roberto Martinez's side, but for 80 minutes they lacked a cutting edge.

Instead it was Arsenal who were in the ascendancy, initially in the 41st minute as Nicklas Bendtner split covering defenders Maynor Figueroa and Bramble with a through ball of pace and precision.

After riding Bramble's challenge and pulling away from Figueroa, Walcott then slid the ball underneath the advancing Chris Kirkland for his seventh goal of the season.

It was deserved as Walcott should have scored minutes prior to that after Abou Diaby had released him in behind Wigan's defence.

Although left with a one-on-one opportunity with Kirkland just outside the six-yard box, he opted to try and find Bendtner with a square ball, only to pull it behind him, allowing Wigan to clear.

Walcott could, and perhaps should have given Arsenal a two-goal cushion on the stroke of half time, only to narrowly clear the bar with a rising drive from just inside the area.

Prior to Walcott's opener Wigan were lively, but barely troubled Lukasz Fabianski, playing in his first league game since the end of last season with Manuel Almunia out with a wrist injury.

N'Zogbia, rumoured to be a target for Wenger in the summer, was narrowly wide with one curled effort, whilst a low, powerful 20-yard drive was straight at the Pole.

As a contest, it seemed to turn inside the opening three minutes of the second half, initially after just 40 seconds as Wigan were denied a penalty.

Referee Lee Mason, who had incurred the wrath of the Wigan fans all afternoon with his decisions, infuriated the locals further by turning a blind eye to Samir Nasri's pull on the arm of Watson.

Moments later, and from Arsenal's first attack of the half, Kirkland superbly denied Diaby at close range, with the ball eventually running for a corner.

Nasri proceeded to deliver an outswinger to which Wigan's defence were guilty of falling asleep, allowing Silvestre an unmarked header from the penalty spot beyond Kirkland's outstretched grasp.

Starting for Thomas Vermaelen, who misses the end to the season with a calf strain, it was Silvestre's first goal for a year since a 4-1 win on this ground.

Wigan, though, did not roll over and die.

N'Zogbia first curled a tame effort that was easy pickings for Fabianski, on his 25th birthday, after being played in by Watson.

Watson was then denied by Fabianski who was at full stretch to prevent a low 20-yard shot from creeping inside his right-hand post, whilst Hugo Rodallega saw his scuffed shot trickle inches wide.

Then 10 minutes from time Watson hauled Wigan back into the game with a sidefoot effort from 12 yards after substitute Victor Moses had played the midfielder in from the bye-line.

It was the catalyst for the comeback, aided by a howler from Fabianski who fluffed an N'Zogbia corner, allowing Bramble a free header which crossed the line, despite Clichy's efforts to hook the ball clear.

Then in the first of four minutes of added time N'Zogbia struck a curling winner from 20 yards to send the majority of the DW Stadium into raptures, and leave Arsenal's followers sickened.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin visits her 1990s work ‘My Bed’ at Tate Britain in London, where it is back on display from today
artsBut how does the iconic work stand up, 16 years on?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor