Arsenal stunned, Chelsea stumble; title race hots up

Arsenal stunned, Chelsea stumble; title race hots up

Football: English Premier League: London giants suffer as Tottenham, Wigan throw spanner in the works

Arsenal stunned, Chelsea stumble; title race hots up

KILLER BLOW: Wigan Athletic's Steve Gohouri exults after his team scored a shock win over Arsenal in their English Premier League match on Sunday. AP

Arsenal, lifted by Chelsea's defeat at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, looked to be coasting to victory through goals from Theo Walcott and Mikael Silvestre either side of halftime.

But Ben Watson, Titus Bramble and Charles N'Zogbia struck in quick succession to turn the match on its head and give Wigan their first league victory over Arsene Wenger's side.

Lukasz Fabianski, replacing the injured Manuel Almunia, was badly at fault for Wigan's equaliser when he failed to hold the ball from a corner, allowing Bramble to score.
The result moved Wigan on to 35 points, seven clear of Hull City, and virtually guaranteed their Premier League survival for another season.

Arsenal, who would have moved to within three points of leaders Chelsea with a win, remained third on 71 points, six behind Chelsea and five adrift of Manchester United with just three matches to play.

Wenger conceded that Arsenal were out of the title race on Wednesday when they lost 2-1 at arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur but they were handed an unlikely lifeline when Spurs beat Chelsea.

They looked poised to grab it when their depleted team coasted through the first 80 minutes at the DW Stadium without seriously being troubled.

Walcott impishly put the Gunners ahead after 41 minutes, perfecting slotting past Chris Kirkland. Silvestre, replacing the injured Thomas Vermaelen in defence, made it 2-0 from a corner after 48 minutes with his first of the season.

Wigan, who had only sporadically threatened, pulled one back when Arsenal fan Watson scored after 80 minutes to set up what proved to be an astonishing finale and the most unlikely comeback in the Premier League this season.

Bramble made it 2-2 in the 89th minute following the mistake by Fabianski, who was making his first appearance since an error-strewn display in a Champions League match against Porto in February.

N'Zogbia won the match with a superb strike from the edge of the penalty area which flew in off the post.

Manchester United ended it just a point behind with three matches remaining and everything to play for after beating Manchester City 1-0 with a last-gasp goal from Paul Scholes.

Chelsea, reduced to 10 men after captain John Terry was sent off in the 66th minute for a second yellow card, remain on 77 points while United closed in with 76.

Jermain Defoe opened the scoring for Spurs at White Hart Lane with a 15th minute penalty after a handball by Chelsea captain John Terry, whose nightmare evening ended when he collected a second yellow card. Gareth Bale had hammered in Tottenham's second goal just before halftime with a low shot past Petr Cech at the near post that left the visitors reeling.

At the other end of the league, Bolton Wanderers took a big step towards survival by beating Stoke City 2-1.

Burnley slumped ever deeper into the relegation mire when they lost 2-1 at Sunderland. That dropped them to 19th place, with only relegated Portsmouth behind them, on 27 points.