It would be the greatest of all their great escapes if Wigan could survive relegation this season after a disappointing defensive display at home to Swansea on Tuesday night ruined Roberto Martinez’s hopes of staying up.
Despite taking the lead twice and almost going two goals clear, Wigan fell on their own sword as the Swans three times exploited desperate defending to win the tie 3-2 and leave the Latics three points off survival.
As Wigan fans wake up and read the football betting news this morning it is clear their situation is worse than any they’ve encountered before. In previous seasons they’ve been blessed with relatively easy run-ins but this term their final two fixtures are against top-four-chasing Arsenal and equally desperate Aston Villa.
Not even in Martinez’s wildest dreams can he hope of securing victory over the Gunners – who have won seven of their last nine competitive fixtures – and so their Premier League survival rests on the final day of the season.
That being said, Villa could escape the drop this weekend should they earn a point at Chelsea, although this is also unlikely. It appears the scrap to survive will come down to 19 May at the DW Stadium and there’s plenty of ways to make money on the outcome of that result.
Interestingly, Newcastle are equally as likely to suffer the drop should they lose to QPR on Saturday, while neither Sunderland nor Norwich can breathe easy.
This weekend will probably cut four of eight relegation-threatened clubs away from the end-of-season drama but make no mistake Villa and Wigan will be there to face those final-day nerves.
Martinez lamented defensive injuries as his side’s problem against Swansea but now is not the time for excuses. If Wigan are to achieve the impossible this season they must steel themselves for the Villa task and hope the teams around them slip up.
It would be the greatest of great escapes.