Wigan 4 - 0 NewcastleKO: Sat Apr 28 15:00:00 BST 2012 Ground: DW Stadium
Att: 22187 Referee: M Dean
Wigan v Newcastle
Surprise package Newcastle United continue their quest for a top-four Premier League finish at relegation-threatened Wigan this weekend.
Both sides are close to the top of the form table ahead of Saturday's clash at the DW Stadium, but need maximum points for very different reasons.
The Magpies have chalked up six straight wins to soar above Tottenham into the final Champions League qualification spot with four games remaining.
It is a different story for 17th-placed Wigan, whose top-flight destiny is no longer in their own hands.
Roberto Martinez's men have enjoyed a stunning revival in recent weeks, with four wins in their past six matches including surprise victories against Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal.
However, the Latics know they could theoretically win each of their final three games and still fall down the trapdoor.
North-West rivals Bolton, who travel to Sunderland on Saturday, would leapfrog Wigan if they managed to win all of their last four matches.
Such a remarkable scenario would be a bitter pill to swallow for Martinez and his men - and, at the other end of the table, Newcastle could face heartbreak of their own.
Alan Pardew's men have surprised many onlookers by keeping pace with the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea in the battle for a place among the European elite.
But they could still finish fourth and miss out if Chelsea finish below them and then beat Bayern Munich in this year's Champions League final.
Wigan striker Franco di Santo (calf) is a doubt after limping out of last weekend's late 2-1 defeat at Fulham.
Fellow forward Hugo Rodallega (knee) is hoping to prove his fitness after returning to training following a seven-week lay-off.
Defender Ronnie Stam (hamstring) is unlikely to feature but midfielder Albert Crusat (calf) is back in contention.
Newcastle boss Pardew has no fresh injury concerns and could name the same starting XI which cruised past Stoke last weekend.
Midfielders Gabriel Obertan (ankle) and Sylvain Marveaux (groin) are both back in training, but neither will travel.
Only Steven Taylor (Achilles) and Sammy Ameobi (knee) remain on the Champions League-chasing side's long-term casualty list.
Possible starting XIs:
Wigan: Al Habsi; Boyce, Alcaraz, Caldwell; Beausejour, McCarthy, McArthur, Figueroa; Gomez, Sammon, Moses.
Newcastle: Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez; Ba, Cisse.
Wigan Athletic 4 - 0 Newcastle United
Roberto Martinez's perennial escape artists were considered doomed at Easter when looking ahead at a daunting fixture list.
But wins over Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and now Newcastle have moved Wigan onto 37 points and level with 15th-placed Aston Villa.
For Alan Pardew's visitors, who arrived with plans of finishing third and securing a place in the UEFA Champions League, it was a sickening afternoon.
Newcastle were chasing shadows against Wigan's principled pass-and-move style and were made to pay with two goals from Victor Moses and strikes from Shaun Maloney and Franco Di Santo in a stunning first half.
The recalled Maloney spread panic with a free-kick in the second minute and Moses had already brought a save out of Tim Krul before the striker opened the scoring by rising above a static Danny Simpson to nod home an Emmerson Boyce cross.
And less than two minutes later, the Latics extended their lead when Fabricio Coloccini made a mess of an attempted clearance from a Jean Beausejour cross, and Moses pounced again to drill a low shot past Krul.
In response, Hatem Ben Arfa drilled a dangerous-looking free-kick just over the Wigan bar and Papiss Cisse poked a poor effort at Ali Al Habsi from the edge of the box in what was the home goalkeeper's first sight of the ball in the opening 23 minutes.
But Newcastle's uncharacteristic defensive clumsiness almost cost them again in the 34th minute when Simpson and Davide Santon hesitated over a harmless-looking cross from Moses, and Beausejour almost took advantage from close range.
Incredibly, Wigan extended their lead in the 36th minute when Di Santo fed Maloney on the left and the recalled midfielder fended off Simpson as he cut into the box to slide a low shot across Krul and into the bottom corner.
Demba Ba bobbled Newcastle's best chance wide four minutes from the break then, in first-half injury-time, Wigan made it 4-0 when Di Santo directed a magnificent lob over Krul and into the top corner from 25 yards.
Moses screwed a rising shot just wide of Krul's left hand and with the home side continuing to hunt for more goals, only a brilliant fingertip save from Krul denied the striker in a mighty penalty box melee on the hour.
Belatedly the visitors began to press, with Al Habsi producing a brilliant save to deny Cisse from 10 yards in the 63rd minute, and moments the later the same player firing a shot from the left side of the box which hit the bar.
Ben Arfa drilled a low shot just wide before Martinez made clear his intention to keep pushing for more goals, replacing the tiring Di Santo with another out-and-out striker in Conor Sammon in the 69th minute.
Cisse hit the woodwork for the second time in the 72nd minute when he slammed Al Habsi's left post with a header from a Ben Arfa cross, but with time running down the massed ranks of visiting fans behind Al Habsi's goal became resigned to a heavy defeat.
Sammon almost rewarded Martinez's bravery with a fifth for Wigan three minutes from time, with the striker beating the advancing Krul but seeing his dribble towards goal ended by a last-ditch interception from Coloccini.
Man of the match: James McCarthy was at the heart of everything for Wigan, with his composed passing and excellent sense of positioning.
Goal of the match: Franco Di Santo scored Wigan's fourth in first-half injury-time with a looping long-range effort over Tim Krul.
Save of the match: Having been a spectator for most of the contest, Ali Al Habsi produced a fine stop in the second half to deny Papiss Cisse.
Talking Point: Why do Wigan always find their form at the end of the season? What went wrong for Newcastle? Can they qualify for the Champions League?
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