Premier League - Wigan stun Arsenal to boost survival bid
Arsenal had won all of their nine previous home matches against Wigan, but were undone by a wonderful opening to the match as the visiting side constructed a 2-0 lead within just eight minutes courtesy of Franco Di Santo's finish on seven minutes and Jordi Gomez's effort from close range soon after.
Thomas Vermaelen snatched a goal for Arsenal when he nodded home on 21 minutes, but Arsene Wenger's team could not find the equaliser despite throwing plenty of bodies forward against a visiting outfit who were hardly fortunate winners on the night.
Wigan - who overcame Premier League leaders Manchester United 1-0 at the DW Stadium last Wednesday - are suddenly five points ahead of third-bottom Bolton with only four matches left having won four of their last five Premier League matches for the first time since winning four consecutive league matches between December 2008 and January 2009.
Arsenal remain third in the table, but Tottenham and Newcastle are five points behind with one game in hand as the race for Champions League football took another unexpected twist.
Arsenal had scored 19 goals in their last six league meetings with Wigan, but never looked likely to extend that sequence with the visiting defence superbly organised by Scotland defender Gary Caldwell.
Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi nudged a Yossi Benayoun header over his bar before Roberto Martinez's team broke from the corner-kick to floor Arsenal with the opening goal as Gomez slipped the ball into the path of Di Santo.
Wojciech Szczesny saved the initial effort by Di Santo, but the forward followed up to score.
With Mikel Arteta limping off injured in the opening moments - Wenger later confirmed the midfielder's season is probably over - Arsenal were reeling when they lost a second goal a minute later as Szczesny failed to collect the outstanding Victor Moses's ball across the face of his goal with Gomez nipping in to prod into the empty net.
With the home side toiling, Di Santo saw a shot deflect behind as Wigan sensed the chance of a third goal.
Arsenal finally recovered their gait to narrow the deficit when Vermaelen powered a header beyond Al-Habsi, who had somehow clawed a Benayoun header over his bar moments earlier.
Robin van Persie had scored more goals this season than Wigan before the evening began, but never looked likely to add to his haul of 34 as Al-Habsi punched the Dutch forward's drive over on 22 minutes.
Andre Santos should have discovered the equaliser on 56 minutes when he was played in by Van Persie only to slam the ball wide of goal from five yards out.
With Wigan playing 3-4-3 and breaking at some speed, Szczesny was forced to halt a stinging shot by Moses on 57 minutes.
Moses then picked out Gomez after another fine break, but he lifted the volley well over the bar.
Arsenal huffed and puffed with Al Habsi infuriating Wenger when he was booked for time-wasting five minutes into time added on, but it was difficult to argue with the outcome of the evening.
The small posse of 200 or so travelling fans certainly enjoyed their trip to London.