Milner wallops Villa winner at Wigan
James Milner scored Villa's winner to lift them to 49 points, just three behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with a game in hand. The scrap for the final Champions League place also involves Liverpool and Manchester City.
Villa went in front after 25 minutes when Wigan defender James McCarthy volleyed the ball into his own goal under no real pressure but the hosts equalised two minutes later with a firm Gary Caldwell header.
Milner, who could be part of Fabio Capello's England squad for the World Cup finals, did his chances no harm when he blasted home the winner from 25 yards after Ashley Young's corner was not properly dealt with.
Villa, unbeaten in the league in 2010, remained seventh with Manchester City sixth on 50 points and Liverpool on 51. Villa and City have only played 28 matches, however, two fewer than Liverpool.
Defeat left Wigan just four points above the relegation zone.