The magic of the FA Cup was in full effect at the weekend as Wigan Athletic upset last season’s Premier League champions Manchester City to be the lowest-ranked winners of the competition in nearly 25 years.
Yet manager Roberto Martinez will be hoping the newest members of football’s major trophy club have one more piece of magic up their sleeves as other weekend results have left his side in danger of becoming the first ever to claim the FA Cup and be relegated in the same season.
Wigan are now priced at 1/25 for the drop and need to win both of their remaining matches in order to extend their 8-year top flight stay.
Only Aston Villa, Sunderland, Southampton and Fulham remain in Wigan’s reach as Martinez’s celebrations will have become more subdued throughout Sunday.
First, Newcastle ensured they wouldn’t complete a remarkable fall from fifth place last season to a relegation place this by defeating already-relegated QPR. They were joined on 41 points by Norwich as the Canaries spectacularly ended any lingering fears with a 4-0 win over West Brom.
It looked as if Sunderland would join them in safety until Jason Puncheon’s equaliser for Southampton left them stuck on 39 points and needing a result against Champion’s League-chasing Tottenham to guarantee survival. The Black Cats are 12/1 to go down.
They could yet survive without kicking another ball should Wigan fail to win at Arsenal on Tuesday at 8/1, while a draw would leave the Latics needing to overturn an 11 goal difference to send Di Canio’s side down.
Anything less than a Wigan win would also guarantee Aston Villa’s survival, despite Paul Lambert’s team slipping to a late 2-1 defeat by Chelsea early on Saturday that left them 28/1 for the drop.
However, if the ‘cup magic’ carries Martinez men to victory at the Emirates, it sets up a mouth-watering final day showdown with Villa, who would travel to the DW Stadium knowing defeat would send them down.
Having started the FA Cup as 100/1 rank outsiders, are you brave enough to back Wigan to overcome the odds once again?