x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Three points imperative for both Arsenal and Wigan

For Arsenal, failure to defeat Wigan Athletic would leave their hopes of a 16th season in the Uefa Champions League in severe jeopardy, while a loss for the FA Cup winners would condemn them to relegation.

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal side can leapfrog Tottenham into fourth place with victory. Glyn Kirk / AFP
Arsene Wenger's Arsenal side can leapfrog Tottenham into fourth place with victory. Glyn Kirk / AFP

For Arsenal, failure to defeat Wigan Athletic would leave their hopes of a 16th season in the Uefa Champions League in severe jeopardy.

For Wigan Athletic, anything other than a win would quickly sour the taste of a memorable FA Cup final shock.

As end-of-season fixtures go, the clash at Emirates Stadium could hardly have more importance to the two sides involved.

Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, said: "Both teams will go for it, it's a huge game for both of us."

Arsenal slipped out of the top four on Sunday as neighbours Tottenham Hotspur came from a goal down to beat Stoke City 2-1 in their penultimate match of the season.

Tottenham, who missed out on the Champions League despite a fourth-place finish last season because Chelsea won the competition, have 69 points to Arsenal's 67, and Spurs entertain Sunderland on the final day of the season.

Victory against Wigan and then at Newcastle United on Sunday would guarantee Wenger's side finish at least fourth.

"We are on a remarkable run and have been hugely consistent and our destiny is in our hands," said Wenger. "Two months ago, our destiny was not in our own hands. Today it is. So let's finish the job."

Wigan know a defeat will consign them to relegation and a draw will effectively seal the same fate, given their poor goal difference to Sunderland, the only side they can catch if they drew.

A victory would leave survival in their own hands on Sunday, knowing that if they defeat Aston Villa, they would be safe.

"I think we are fortunate in terms of results, because if you are relying on other people to do your job, that doesn't work in football," said Roberto Martinez, the Wigan manager. "We are very fortunate in that we are third from bottom, but if we win the six points we don't have to rely on anyone.

"We need six points and we don't have to look elsewhere.

"It is important that, mentally, the mindset is right and it is right because of what is happening within the town and what happened at the weekend."

Wigan would become the first team to ever win the FA Cup and be relegated in the same season, and on-loan defender Paul Scarner said the match against Arsenal is just as important as Saturday's final.

"We need to win our last two games," he said. "We need to treat this like two more FA Cup finals."

* Agencies

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