Guzan, Lichaj saved from the drop after Wigan loss
Aston Villa was assured of safety from relegation and clinched a place in the Premier League for next season with the Gunners’ 4-1 triumph at the Emirates Stadium, one that sealed Wigan’s place as the final team in the drop zone.
Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who last week was voted as Aston Villa’s Player of the Year, has played a vital role in the Villans’ quest to remain up with his in-form goalkeeping all season long. Fullback Eric Lichaj has just recently made his return to Paul Lambert‘s good graces after spending a lengthy spell on the bench. Assuming both remain at Villa Park in 2013-14, they will do so in England’s top flight, as the club is five points clear of 18th place with a single game remaining.
Wigan’s loss ensured that the FA Cup winner will join Reading and Queens Park Rangers in the League Championship next season, with the Latics trailing 17th-place Sunderland by four points with one game remaining. That last game will pit the Wigan against Aston Villa, but nothing will be on the line aside from Villa’s final positioning in the table.
For Arsenal, the win puts the club in the driver’s seat for the Premier League’s final UEFA Champions League berth, as the Gunners lead Tottenham by a point and have a vastly greater goal differential. Dempsey, Friedel and Tottenham must get a win over Sunderland at White Hart Lane and hope for Newcastle to defeat Arsenal at St. James’ Park in order to usurp the Gunners and clinch a place on Europe’s grand stage. Otherwise, it is back to the Europa League for Spurs, who crashed out in the quarterfinals of the competition this season.