Wigan upset Manchester United 1-0 to move out of the Premier League relegation places and cut the Red Devils’ lead at the top of the standings to five points as Manchester City won.
Shaun Maloney scored in the 50th minute last night as Wigan’s first victory against United lifted it two places to 17th in the 20-team league, where the bottom three teams are demoted to the second-tier Championship.
“We were second to every ball and only had one shot at goal,” United manager Alex Ferguson told the British Broadcasting Corp. after his team’s eight-game winning streak ended. “It was one of these off nights you get. We have been on a great run and it has put us in a position where we can win the league, so we have to get over the disappointment.”
Second-place Manchester City beat West Bromwich Albion 4-0 to move to 74 points, Queens Park Rangers also climbed out of the relegation zone with a 3-0 win against Swansea, and Arsenal beat 10-man Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0.
Wigan’s victory, its first in 15 meetings with United, dropped Bolton into the bottom three. The Latics had lost all of their previous meetings and scored just once in the past nine.
Victor Moses appeared to give Wigan the lead in the 29th minute when he headed in a corner kick, until the goal was disallowed because United goalkeeper David De Gea had been fouled.
Wigan went ahead five minutes into the second half after being awarded a corner kick that replays showed should have been a goal kick for United. Maloney got the ball at the edge of the area, carried it to the middle and curled a shot past De Gea inside the right post.
United had a penalty appeal rejected later in the half when Phil Jones’s cross hit Maynor Figueroa’s arm. The defending champion then pressured for the tying score and home goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi saved a shot from Danny Welbeck to preserve the lead.
“It’s a historic moment for our fans,” Wigan manager Roberto Martinez told the BBC. “We showed what we can do. Now the challenge is to maintain it to the end.”
United’s first defeat since Jan. 4 gave rival Manchester City new life in the title chase. Sergio Aguero scored twice and Carlos Tevez and David Silva got a goal each as City ended a three-match winless run. City hosts United on April 30.
Aguero opened the scoring in the sixth minute and made it 2-0 nine minutes into the second half. Tevez, starting for the first time since returning to the team last month following a dispute with manager Roberto Mancini, got his first goal since last May in the 61st minute and Silva closed the scoring three minutes later.
‘Not Mind Games’
“United is a fantastic team and I don’t think that they will drop five points,” Mancini said in a post-match news conference. “This is not mind games, United have fantastic experience and we don’t have it.”
QPR’s home victory against Swansea allowed it to join Wigan in climbing out of the relegation zone. Joey Barton, Jamie Mackie and Akos Buzsaky scored as Rangers moved up to 16th place and matched Wigan with 31 points, two more than Bolton.
“It was a massive win,” Mackie told Sky Sports. “We haven’t been great this season against opposition around us, so we’ve given ourselves a massive chance with five games remaining.”
Arsenal strengthened its hold on third place with the away win at Wolves, which remains six points adrift in last place.
Wolves’ Sebastien Bassong was sent off after just seven minutes for taking down Theo Walcott in the area, with Robin van Persie scoring his league-leading 27th goal from the penalty spot.
Walcott and Yossi Benayoun also scored as Arsenal won for the ninth time in 10 games to go five points ahead of Tottenham and Newcastle in the race for third place and the final automatic Champions League berth.
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