Win at Villa and Sunderland will go 11th

Paolo Di Canio

Paolo Di Canio

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SPURS’ late equaliser at Wigan’s DW Stadium would have brought massive sighs of relief in boardrooms of beleaguered Premier League club across the land.

A victory would have put the Latics onto 34 points, dropped Aston Villa into the drop zone and blown the relegation battle wide open.

But Wigan’s Emmerson Boyce deflected into his own net in the 90th minute and Roberto Martinez’s men had to settle for the draw which gives them 32 points, two points behind fourth-bottom Aston Villa and five points adrift of 15th-placed Sunderland, with the teams now having all played 34 games.

It was a day when little was resolved at the bottom.

QPR and Reading, who play tomorrow afternoon, both have a mathematical chance of staying up, though in reality they are involved in a play-off for the wooden spoon,

Further up the table, uncertainty still reigns with Wigan’s point at least giving them something of a lifeline.

The one team the weekend was a success for, was Stoke City, whose 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Norwich City took them level with 11th-placed Fulham on the usual safety target of 40 points.

Southampton, like Norwich, also lost – 3-0 to West Brom – and both the Saints and the Canaries are just above Sunderland and Newcastle.

The results, though, heighten the tension and the excitement for Monday’s game at Villa Park.

And the ironic thing is that Sunderland, having been staring relegation in the face when Paolo Di Canio was appointed manager at the start of the month, could go 11th in the table if the beat Villa tomorrow night.

If the Italian can engineer the Black Cats’ third win on the bounce in the wake of wins over Newcastle United and Chelsea, then Sunderland will hit the magical 40-point mark and leap-frog Norwich, Southampton, Stoke City and Fulham in the process.