|DATE||Saturday 24th September 2011|
Just a quick preview, with Spurs coming into the game on the back of two good wins and Wigan approaching the meeting with two defeats ringing in their ears.
With Tottenham finding their form, with the midfielder Luka Modric still there and now firing on all cylinders, the team is still not settled, with injuries hitting Harry Redknapp's selections. However, the depth of the squad is now showing it's value and the difference between Spurs' and Wigan's squads might be displayed here.
Without Rodellega, Wigan may have to rely on Conor Sammon and Franco Di Santo up front. The Italian has been on form this season after joining from Chelsea a little while back. Roberto Martinez tries tog et his team playing and that might suit Spurs, although last season, we failed to beat the Latics home or away, so we need to improve that stat if we are to move up the table.
I imagine Harry will want to stay with Adebayor and Defoe, but will try and fir van der Vaart into the equation and with Niko Kranjcar out injured and Aaron Lennon injured too, the Dutchman could be fitted in on the right side of midfield.
The Spurs defence has been patched up of late, with Gallas and Dawson both out, but the selection from King, Kaboul and Bassong has done well enough to shut out Wolves and Liverpool. Hopefully, they will be able to keep a third clean sheet on the trot.
While there is always the thought that Wigan are a small Premier League club, they have become more established in recent years, with last season's escape showing that they have grit as well as some flair in their side.
However, I take Tottenham to have too much for them, with Bale and Walker showing the way on the flanks to provide the chances to seal a useful three points.
|PREDICTION||Wigan Athletic 1 Tottenham Hotspur 3|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , history, etc.|
WIGAN ATHLETIC TEAM NEWS :
Ruled out of the game are Hugo Rodellega (knee), Emmerson Boyce (hamstring) and Anton Alcaraz (thigh) and Steven Gohouri (calf) are both doubts.
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs will be able to select Rafael van der Vaart and Sandro after they came through the mid-week League Cup tie, but could be missing Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who has a throat infection. Also side-lined are Tom Huddlestone (ankle), Aaron Lennon (groin), William Gallas (calf), Michael Dawson (Achilles), Niko Kranjcar (hamstring), Roman Pavlyuchenko (hamstring) and Steven Pienaar (groin).
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
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Wigan Athletic 1 (0)
Saturday 24th September 2011
Venue : - DW Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur 2 (2)
Kick off 15:00
||van der Vaart 3
Gouhori (foul) 26
McCarthy (foul) 71
Sammon (foul) 76
Adebayor (foul) 90+3
|Crowd : 18,788||Weather : - Dry, mild|
|Referee : Jon Moss (Leeds)||Assistant Referees : Mr. J. Collin; Mr. A. Halliday|
|Fourth Official : Phil Dowd||-|
|Tottenham kicked off and played towards the South Stand end in the first half.|
|Wigan Athletic :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
11 van der Vaart (29 dos Santos 78)
|Manager : Roberto Martinez||Manager : Harry Redknapp|
|Sponsor : 12Bet||Shirt sponsor : Aurasma|
|Kit Supplier : Mi-Fit||Kit Supplier : Puma|
A sparkling first half performance gave Spurs what proved to be a winning lead in the game that saw Wigan come back strongly in the second half, despite being reduced to ten men, making it an unnecessarily difficult task to hold on to a 2-1 victory.
Having established their superiority over Wigan in the first 45 minutes, where Friedel rarely had a moment of concern, Tottenham managed to ease off and not kill the opponents off, leaving the final stages of the match tense and the Latics pushing on for a possible equaliser. But Spurs should have been out of sight. The clinical way they finished off Liverpool last week seemed a long time ago, with chances going begging here, when they should have been netted to put Wigan to the sword ... as the club have done before.
With Assou-Ekotto recovering from a throat infection, but with Jermain Defoe going down with a virus, it allowed Harry to accommodate Rafael van der Vaart just behind Emmanuel Adebayor. With Sandro back, Niko Kranjcar's absence was accounted for and Spurs kicked off, with Walker making an early foray down the right to put in a low cross. When the first Tottenham goal came in the third minute, it was as a result of a mistake by Maynor Figueroa, who slipped and turned possession over to Adebayor. Looking up, he picked out a low pass to Rafael van der Vaart, who was able to hit a first time left foot shot from around the penalty spot into the top left hand corner of Ali Al-Habsi's goal to make it 1-0.
An early goal for a second week running is almost unheard of with Spurs, so it set them up nicely to take advantage of the nervousness that seemed to be running through the Wigan team, as well as the rancour that they were aiming at each other too. One incident saw Ben Watson and Al-Habsi almost have a stand-up row in the box. Walker created a chance for Adebayor, but the striker shot over from close range and with 13 minutes on the clock, Friedel had his only work of the first half, when he challenged Moses, as Gomez fired in a free-kick.
Bale's cross picked out Walker, who had to go low to head the ball, but could not get it on target and then the provider did better when he had the opportunity in the 23rd minute. Walker had made a good run on the right to deliver a cross that Caldwell had to put behind for a corner. From Modric's corner, the Welshman got to the ball at the near post to head past the Wigan goalie to double the lead for Spurs.
Latics defender Gohouri took it out on Bale with a foul in the 26th minute that earned him a yellow card and then it was Tottenham's turn to defend and not very well, as Kaboul's back pass left Friedel having to race out to hack clear as Di Santo shut him down. Bale almost repeated the goal with a similar header from another Modric corner, but this time he put it a little too high before hitting a low shot on the half hour that Al Habsi saved at his near post. Five minutes before the break, Bale picked up the ball when it was cleared and set up Adebayor for a firm shot that the keeper dived to push away.
Spurs had dictated play from the off and had made enough chances to win a couple of games, but with the score at 2-0, the next goal would always determine how the game might go. Five minutes into the half and Wigan had got the impetus back. Assou-Ekotto took too much time trying to clear a ball in his own box and Ronnie Stam shut him down, blocking the ball into the air, when Ledley's header sent it to Diame. The home midfielder took a touch to make some space and who then fired in a low drive into the net inside Friedel's left hand post.
Nerves might have started to spread through the Spurs side, but Kaboul's long pass forward gave Adebayor a chance, but Al-Habsi was down quickly to save at the foot of his post. The next time the Togo forward was on the ball, Figueroa flattened him and the physio had to come on to treat him and get him back on the pitch. The challenge seemed to take a lot out of him and his effectiveness was not as great after the incident. It was typical of Wigan's approach in the second half that Bale's run at Gohouri ended with him being brought down by a wayward tackle by the Wigan defender leading to his dismissal when he received his second yellow card.
From this position, Tottenham should have gone on to comfortably take the three points, but it wasn't like that. Wigan were inspired to work harder with ten men and despite a goalmouth scramble when Modric dribbled into the box and the ball bounced around before Benoit went down under a tackle, but it wasn't a penalty.
With yellow cards for McCarthy and Sammon, with the latter coming on with MacArthur, the home team looked to get something out of the match. van der Vaart departed with dos Santos coming on in his place and his introduction initially took Tottenham forward. He held the ball up well in the corner of the pitch before setting up Modric who did not meet it as sweetly as last week, making for an easy stop for the Athletic goalie, who had little hope when Kaboul crashed in a free-kick that took a deflection on it's way through and rattled the crossbar. Not only that, but the French defender got on the end of the resulting corner, but couldn't hit the target, putting his header wide of the post.
Spurs should have been pushing the ball further up the field, instead of dallying on it in midfield, which is what Assou-Ekotto did leaving Wigan to take the ball away and only a poor pass that ran through to the Spurs goalie saved them from an embarrassing moment. As did Friedel seeing MacArthur attempting an audacious effort form near the halfway line. Only a poor finish from a move that ended with a good piece of control by Sammon kept Tottenham in the lead, as the Irishman's volley went well of target.
While the ball was fed through Moses as he tried to make a breakthrough, Spurs doubled up with Livermore coming on to shore up the middle, while Bale switched to the right to counter the former Crystal Palace winger's threat. However, Tottenham did enough to hold on to the lead and the three points did head back to London, but they were three sweat stained points in the end.
This result righted some wrongs that Spurs had suffered last season and helps them put the points gained total back in the right direction. While we were bottom a couple of weeks ago, we now sit sixth in the table and looking good. While the team looked a little sluggish in the second half, it will allow Harry to put out a stronger Europa League side on Thursday, but he will be aware that there is a derby game at the Lane next Sunday that needs a good eleven out on the pitch.
Wigan raised their game, but became a little too hasty in the tackle, leaving them vulnerable to conceding free-kicks and also ending up a man down. Whether they would have put up such a fiesty response had they still had eleven men, we will never know, but Tottenham stood firm and three consecutive Premier League wins has helped kick start out season after the postponement and two defeats.
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|What you thought|
|Stan Chun||After last week's
performance, I thought we had looked like we had turned a corner in
our development as a team and had learned how to kill teams off
clinically, but today, we showed the old failings of not taking our
chances and allowing team's back into a match that we should have
already have wrapped up.
Sloppiness at the back nearly proved costly here, with Wigan giving it a go to get a late equaliser, but against better teams, we will lose points and that will cost us come the end of the season.
We must be more ruthless with our finishing and especially from free-kicks. Whenever we win one just outside the box, it is usually no threat to the other side. It was a shock to see Kaboul get a shot on target from one near the end of the game and but for a deflection might have scored. However, with the players we have in the team, it is always likely that they will be fouled around the box, so we need to work on the set-pieces at training to make them more deadly.
Having had my moan, the first half was almost exemplary and the two goals could easily have been about six, with the openings we created, against a side who sat too deep and allowed Tottenham to go at them.
Three points though and another outcome the same next Sunday would be most welcome.
|Other scores during this week :|
|Newcastle United||3||Blackburn Rovers||1||day|
|Stoke City||1||Manchester United||1||Saturday|
|West Bromwich Albion||0||Fulham||0||Saturday|
|Queens Park Rangers||1||Aston Villa||1||Sunday|
|10||Queens Park Rangers||6||2||2||2||5||7||8||-2|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||6||1||1||4||3||8||4||-5|
Position before match :
Position after match : 6th
Position after the weekend : 6th
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