Wigan Athletic showed a packed DW Stadium their worst side and their best side much to the frustration of the majority of the almost 19,000 spectators privileged or unfortunate (tick as appropraite) enough to be in attendance.
Manager Roberto Martinez was forced into a few team changes with Steve Gohouri replacing the injured Emmerson Boyce, with Piscu dropped altogether in the back line, whilst up front talismanic hit man Hugo Rodallega missed out through injury which gave Momo Diame a chance to impress.. Harry Redknapp meanwhile, was also forced to rule out Jermaine Defoe who is suffering from a virus and he was replaced by Robin Van Der Vaart, with Sandro replacing Niko Kranjcar from the team that crushed Liverpool 4-0 last time out.
With Gohouri playing at right back and newcomer Patrick Van Aanholt playing on the left perhaps Maynor Figieroa was caught on the hop in the third minute when a sloppy back pass fell at the feet of Emmanuel Adebayor instead of fellow defender Gary Caldwell. Adebayor jinked past Caldwell with ease and laid the ball on a plate for Van Der Vaart to slam into the roof of the Latics net.
From that moment on it is fair to say that Latics were ran ragged and the hosts should have been two goals down just three minutes later when Gareth Bale miscued when it would have been easier to score and in the blink of an eye Kyle Walker had found Adebayor who fired over the bar to save the blushes of an absolutely woeful defence.
Al Habsi was called on to keep Latics in the game on two more occasions and then a 23rd minute corner was not dealt with sufficiently and Gareth Bale piled on the misery by notching Spurs’ second goal of the afternoon. By the time the half time whistle was blown it is fair to say that the only thing offered by Latics by way of an attacking move was a 12th minute free kick by Jordi Gomez, it really was that bad.
As the whistle blew the home faithful once again gave the team a standing boovation!
Such was the complete domination of the visitors that a Tottenham youngster even won the half time crossbar challenge after a woeful display from the previous eight Latics supporting youngsters who attempted to hit the crossbar from the penalty spot!
Whatever was said at half time in the privacy of the Latics dressing room certainly worked a treat and with Ronnie Stam replacing the much maligned Gomez for the start of the second half it took just four minutes for Diame to score his third Latics career league goal by placing a great shot past Brad Friedel to halve the defecit.
The visitors were rattled, and it showed, they began missing out on the fifty balls and mistakes began to creep slowly but surely into their game. Then in the 63rd minute Gohouri, who had earlier been shown a yellow card by a somewhat unpredictable referee, lunged into Adebayor on the left hand touchline and was shown the dreaded red card.
Far from demoralising the hosts, the decision seemed to instill yet more self belief and with a by now rocking home support urging them on the game proceeded with Latics seemingly just shrugging off Gohouri’s loss. The ante was raised by the introduction of Conor Sammon and James McArthur to the proceedings in the 72nd minute. The two Macs began to boss the midfield and Redknapp in his technical area was far from amused!
The last five minutes saw the hosts tiring though as Spurs began passing the ball back at any given opportunity. Frustration began to creep into Latics’ play and Spurs could have scored a third goal had Modric’s free kick not slammed Al-Habsi’s bar with just a few minutes remaining.
Blatant time wasting by Friedel and a late, late substituion by Spurs upset the Latics rhythm and after four minutes of added time the game was over and three more precious points had been dropped.
Thankfully all the other results went Latics way and when most of the supporters arrived home or at various watering holes in and around town, they found that Bolton Wanderers were propping the rest of the league up, this helped ease matters slightly. Next up is Aston Villa at Villa Park, a happy hunting ground for Latics who have yet to taste defeat on it. Here’s hoping!
WIGAN ATHLETIC – Al Habsi, Gohouri, Caldwell, Figueroa, Van Aanholt, Diame, Watson (McArthur, 72), McCarthy, Moses, Di Santo (Sammon, 72), Gomez (Stam, 45). Subs not used, Kirkland, Crusat, Maloney, Jones
Goal scorers, Momo Diame 49 mins
Booked, Steve Gohouri, James McCarthy, Conor Sammon
Sent off, Steve Gohouri 63 mins
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR – Friedel, Walker, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto, Modric, Parker, Sandro (Livermore, 90), Bale, Van der Vaart (Dos Santos, 77), Adebayor. Subd not used, Cudicini, Bassong, Corluka, Townsend, Carroll
Goal scorers, Robin Van Der Vaart 3 mins, Gareth Bale 23 mins
Booked, Emmanuel Adebayor
Referee, J Moss
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