SUNDERLAND will be playing Premier League football next season after Wigan’s gallant bid for top flight survival perished at the Emirates.
The Latics - winners of the FA Cup final at Wembley four days earlier - had to beat Arsenal and then go on to beat Aston Villa on the final day of the season to have any chance of preserving the Premier League status they have had since 2006.
But after going in at the half-time break with the scores 1-1, a killer second half on a rain-sodden pitch proved too much for Roberto Martinez’s men who ended being beaten 4-1 in what was their fourth game in 10 days.
Defeat means Wigan on 35 points cannot now catch 39-point Sunderland, who travel to Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the season.
Paolo Di Canio would have liked to have got Sunderland over the line under their own steam by getting a win over Southampton on Monday, rather than a draw.
But he will gladly accept the lifeline the Black Cats received from Arsenal.
And now, with the pressure off at White Hart Lane this weekend, Sunderland fans can enjoy their day out in London, while Di Canio and Ellis Short draw up plans to guarantee the Black Cats do not flirt with relegation again next season.