Unsurprisingly following last Saturday’s excellent performance against West Ham , followed by the Capitol One cup debacle against Bradford, Roberto Martinez opted to re-instate the eight players rested on Tuesday with James McArthur the odd one out , being replaced by Ben Watson in his more familiar role of central midfield.
Wigan’s record defeat was of course at White Hart Lane and the game nearly started off badly when Watson under no pressure, passed without looking allowing Dempsey to break towards goal but his shot was deflected for a corner. Huddlestone took the corner but Wigan managed to clear the ball to alleviate the pressure.
Wigan unsurprisingly appeared to set out to play possession football and frustrate the home side by denying them the ball , however in the early stages the home side closed Wigan down quickly trying to force a mistake from the away side and break quickly using the pace of Lennon and Defoe.
For Wigan Beausejour looked sharp early on but Spurs worked hard to close him down, ditto Kone who found the home side’s defence on top form denying him the space he required on the ball.
Wigan’s first real chance fell to Di Santo following good work by Maloney but England full back Walker did well to thwart the Argentinean and the game settled down into a more measured passing game with both sides apparently reluctant to commit too many bodies forward, instead both seemingly content to probe the oppositions formation looking for a weakness with the home side looking the sharper of the two sides. For the home side Bale looked the most dangerous and was subject to a couple of wholesome challenges but on occasion he did get free from Wigan’s shackles, Figueroa was there to clear the ball to safety .
From a corner to the home side, Watson failed to clear the corner and Al Habsi had to move smartly to deny Vertonghen the opening goal with a fine save.
Wigan responded quickly and a neat one two between Maloney and Kone saw the big Ivorian in space but Friedel made a good save from close range. Wigan took heart from this and Maloney beat the offside trap but again Freidel saved well. Following that Kone should have done better and Spurs were under pressure.
Spurs tried to pile on the pressure but the Wigan defence stood resolute and following a quickly taken free kick Gallas was forced to block a Maloney shot.
The Kone, Maloney tandem was soon in action once again but when the ball fell to Watson he was unable to convert the chance, blazing high over the bar.
Just before half time Bale ‘s shot gave Al Habsi in the Wigan goal something to do and the Omani saved well to keep the score goalless.
Half time brought a chorus of boos from the home side but it was a case of Wigan playing well rather than Spurs playing poorly, the home fans not giving Wigan’s performance the credit it deserved.
The second half started slowly with chances for both sides few and far between with the most notable actions the brandishing of yellow cards to Dempsey and Figueroa in separate incidents.
Wigan took the lead when a corner from Maloney was half saved by Friedel and the loose ball fell to Watson who blasted the ball over the line , the ball clearly over the lien despite the protestations of the home side and fans.
Spurs tried to hit back immediately and with Watson conceding a free kick, a poor clearance from the free kick fell to Vertonghen but his powerful shot was block and cleared quickly to Kone but Gallas did well to rob the powerful Wigan striker of the ball.
Bale was coming more to the fore and as Wigan sat back further trying to defend the lead, Spurs started to put pressure on the Latics’ defence with Al Habsi moving off his line quickly to deny Bale and Ramis forced to bring Vertonghen down, thankfully outside the area.
Again Bale was involved as Walker’s corner came out to him and a superb shot forced Al Habsi into a spectacular save tipping the ball away for a corner.
Wigan were really under the cosh now and McCarthy was forced to head the ball off the line following a powerful header by Caulker.
Spurs really piled on the pressure with Wigan putting all the team behind the ball in an effort to frustrated the ambitions of their more illustrious opponents and Wigan’s chances were few but Figueroa blasted a free kick narrowly wide with Friedel well beaten. Back up the other end a high ball into a packed penalty area was well claimed by an under pressure Al Habsi.
Five minutes of injury time saw Wigan work hard to keep the home side out but the full time whistle brought to an end a superbly disciplined and professional performance from Roberto Martinez’s charges
Al Habsi, Ramis, Caldwell (c), Figueroa, Boyce, Beausejour, Watson, McCarthy, Kone, Di Santo, Maloney.
Gomez for Di Santo
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