Wigan Athletic (Home)
FA Cup Third Round

Friday 2nd January 2009

With Wigan missing some of their striking potency with Emile Heskey out with an ankle knock and Amir Zaki out too, the teams might be a bit more evenly matched, with Tottenham also lacking a killer touch when it comes to goalscoring.  Added to the fact that Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland damaged his lack last week and both sides might be fielding less than 100% strength teams, it will be a less than appetising prospect, but conversely  might make for more of a spectacle.

Under Steve Bruce's management, Wigan have shown that you don't have to have a host of big names to do well in the Premier League, as his side currently sit in seventh place and might end up winning a place in Europe if they carry on their good form.  Built on a solid defence, the attacking options Bruce has brought in have not been top names, but have made a significant impact and among the players on the wanted lists of clubs all over Europe.

Antonio Valencia is a pacy winger, who delivers a good ball and can finish himself, making himself a target for Real Madrid, while Zaki has hit the net regularly enough to set the cheque writing hands of a number of teams in this country and abroad start to twitch. 

Mike Pollitt might be the one to deputise again, should Kirkland be ruled out and his experience will be useful, although his reflexes might not be what they once were, so he will be hoping that the defence can keep the Tottenham team away from goal.  Emerrson Boyce is a quick full back, but Lennon has had joy against him in previous years, with Ryan Taylor on the other flank being more noted for his attacking play and expertise from dead-ball situations.  Surprisingly enough, his good form has come at a time when he is being linked with a move away from the JJB stadium.  Mario Melchiot is perhaps more likely to start than Boyce and he also has had his best years, though his experience stands him in good stead.  Central defenders Paul Scharner and Titus Bramble are both susceptible to a pacy striker and perhaps Frasier Campbell might get a look in at some stage, although Darren Bent is a more likely starter.  Knowing Bramble's propensity for making bloopers, perhaps closing him down quickly might force one out of him.  Both are good in the air, but it is on the ground that Spurs might get most out of them.  Figeuroa has signed permanently and the Venezuelan is a strong defender, who takes no prisoners.

The midfield features winger Valencia and Wilson Palacios is his counterpart on the other side of midfield.  Both are keen on getting behind their markers and getting to the dead-ball line to drag the ball back for a team-mate.  Lee Cattermole is a determined and tough midfielder, who usually picks up a yellow card or two, but when he concentrates on his game, he can get forward to good effect in the penalty area.  Jason Koumas has not been a regular starter, but is skilful on the ball and a good passer, as well as possessing a good shot.  And with Taylor also used in midfield, our four will need to put a lot of work in to push them back towards their own goal.  Others how can be called upon are veterans Kevin Kilbane and Michael Brown.

Without Heskey, the Latics might lack a target man, but Henri Camara is a pacy striker and one who can turn tightly in the box to get shots on goal.  He could be partnered up front by Daniel De Ridder, who Bruce had at Birmingham and the big Dutchman is another who has a good touch on the ball and can create as well as score.  Whether they would give Spurs more problems than Heskey and Zaki remains to be seen, as the 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane earlier this season did not perhaps show the attacking duo off to their best effect.

I expect a tight affair and maybe, Spurs will be released from the pressure of fighting away at the bottom of the table to grab a narrow win and take them through ... hopefully, instilling some confidence in the process ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  1    Wigan Athletic  0

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Alan Hutton (foot); Ledley King (knee); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (suspended); Giovani Dos Santos (ankle); Tom Huddlestone (ankle); Jermaine Jenas (suspension); - (-); - (-); 

WIGAN ATHLETIC :  -   Chris Kirkland (groin); Emile Heskey (hamstring); Amir Zaki (knee); Lee Cattermole (suspended); - (-); - (-);


Setanta Sports 1 - (live coverage)
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 - 23.50 (highlights)
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.35 - 23.35 (highlights)
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne) SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :
www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2005/10/12/live_commentaries_feature.shtml
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Tottenham Hotspur   3    Wigan Athletic   1      (Half-time score : 0-0)

FA Cup Third Round
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Friday 2nd January 2009
Kick Off :  8.00 p.m.
Crowd :   34,040
Referee :  Alan Wiley (Burntwood)
Wigan Athletic kicked off and played towards the Paxton end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Cold, clear
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka
39  Woodgate (c)
20  Dawson
  3  Bale

  5  Bentley
14  Modric   (  7  Lennon 90)
  4  Zokora
24  O'Hara

10  Bent (18  Campbell 27)
  9  Pavlyuchenko  (p) 

Unused subs: 
15  Ghaly
16  Gunter
19  Taarabt
23  Boateng

Wigan Athletic :

22  Kingson     

17  Boyce      
19  Bramble
  7  Scharner (31  Figueroa 73)
  8  Kilbane

16  Valencia
18  De Ridder (21  Cywka 74)
11  Brown
  5  Palacios

23  Kapo (  3  Edman 84)
27  Camara

Unused subs: 
  2  Taylor
38  Routledge
-  Holt

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Tottenham Hotspur

  Wigan Athletic
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Pavlyuchenko (p) 52
Modric 76
Pavlyuchenko 90

Wigan Athletic

Camara 88

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  




Wigan Athletic

Boyce (persistent fouling)  49
Kingson (foul) 52 


Match Report : -  
A shadow of each side played out a dull first half, but the second started with a penalty in the first few minutes for Spurs and the game became much more open, leading to Tottenham running out 3-1 winners, although not without a late scare.

Starting with a 4-4-2 formation in an attempt to win it on the night, Harry Redknapp obviously took the view that if Spurs lost and the system didn't work, at least it meant less games to come.  However, the ball was worked well in some moves and not others, but the solid and more familiar set-up seemed to work, with Modric and Pavlyuchenko especially seeming to thrive in it.

The first half was scrappy and disjointed.  Both sides were out of touch and good moves were at a premium.  Wigan had the first chance in the fifth minute when Camara rose to put a free header to Valencia's cross wide, when he really should have hit the target at least.  A neat one-two a little later saw Pavlyuchenko play in Modric, but it fell to the little midfielder's left foot and he dragged it wide from 20 yards out.  Both sides were restricted to shooting from distance, with O'Hara hitting one from 25 yards that bounced just in front of Kingson and Kapo hitting one from even further out that must have bounced about twenty times before Gomes took it very easily.

Camara tried an overhead kick, but Dawson got in the way, while Bent managed to get over the top of Boyce to win a header, but it dropped gently for the keeper to pick it up.  Then Spurs had a good opportunity from a dead ball situation, when Michael Brown took Pavlyuchenko's legs and Bale stepped up to curl a shot from 25 yard a couple of feet wide of the goal.  Following the next Wigan attack, Gomes caught a cross and threw it to the halfway line to Bentley, who was fouled.  He took the resulting free-kick and hit the wall with it (failing to beat the first man as he did on a number of occasions), but got the second ball and put it in at the near post, where Kevin Kilbane completely sliced his clearance about a foot past his own post.

On 23 minutes, Darren Bent seemed to pull up after being challenged as he paid the ball off and he struggled on until he had to leave the field to be replaced by Fraizer Campbell three minutes after the original knock.  It meant that Spurs now had some more pace up front.  He almost made an immediate impact as Pavlyuchenko spread the ball from left to right, where Bentley hit a good cross into the near post, where Campbell dived in, only to see his header go off Bramble for a corner.

Then Gomes was called into action when the ref awarded a soft free-kick and de Ridder dipped it over the wall, leaving the Spurs keeper to dive low at his post to palm the ball away from the in-running forwards.  There was a comic moment when Dawson thundered a clearance away, but Zokora, who was ten yards away could not get out of the way of and took it right in his stomach, much to the amusement of his team-mates. 

Just before half-time, O'Hara was out on the left and half-hit a cross that Roman stepped over and it went through to Modric in the middle of the penalty area.  The Croatian only half-hit his shot and Kingson made an easy save.  Then Bentley went past Brown and hit an early shot that ripped into the side netting with the Wigan keeper getting down to it a bit late.

The second half had to get better didn't it ?  Well, After Boyce had been booked for the third bad foul he had committed, Bale made a good run forward from the halfway line and played the ball down the left hand channel for Fraizer Campbell to run onto.  As Bale was being tumbled over behind him, Campbell suffered the same fate as Kingson raced out and was rounded by the Spurs forward.  As there was a defender covering the goalie, it was only a yellow card, but the penalty that was awarded was calmly steered inside the side netting by Pavlyuchenko to give Tottenham the lead in the 52nd minute.

This seemed to give both Roman and the Tottenham side in general a lift and his run on the right saw him put in a fine cross to the far post, where it was met by Campbell diving in to head at goal.  Kingson took off and made a good diving save to his right to beat out the effort. 

When Dawson did an "air header" as a long ball bounced through, Camara looked like he would level the scores.  He was centrally placed and inside the area, when Woodgate stuck out a leg to divert the ball away from him as he was about to shoot and did so without fouling the Wigan forward.  From the corner, the ball dropped kindly for Scharner and his shot was blocked a couple of yards out by Dawson, making up for his earlier error, then when the ball came back in, the same Athletic player headed over the top.

In the 64th minute, Dawson cleared long out of defence and with the Wigan defence pushing up, Pavlyuchenko latched onto the ball beyond them and got there just before the keeper, lifting the ball over him, but unfortunately, it bounced before the goal and went wide and high of the target. 

Wigan made a double substitution to try and shake things up (and probably to save their players for next week), but it was Spurs who were pushing now.  Another slipped pass into the area saw Roman get there ahead of Kingson, but as his touch went past the keeper, it also went past the post on the wrong side for Tottenham.  However, it was only a temporary escape, as in the 76th minute, Jamie O'Hara found himself in space 25 yards from goal in the middle of the pitch and struck a fine shot that beat Kingson, but bounced back off the post.  The crowd were disappointed that O'Hara hadn't repeated his goal against West Ham, but as it bounced back into play in the penalty are, Modric, who had been following the shot in and had fallen, got up to his knees and headed back into the net to make it 2-0.

With a two goal lead, it was much more comfortable for Spurs, but Wigan came back into the game and when the ball was struck on the turn by Camara from around the penalty spot, Gomes was quick to dive on the ball and seven minutes form the end, he made an even better save, as Kapo headed a corner from Valencia downwards in textbook manner, requiring the Tottenham goalie to make a sharp diving save to push the ball wide, which is a difficult save for a big man like Gomes.

Interestingly there was a contrasting reaction to two substitutes warming up.  Having been booed when his name was announced before the game, Hossam Ghaly produced even more boos when he stripped off his tracksuit and waited to come on.  The corner for Wigan made Redknapp consider it was not the best time to bring on the midfielder, but the shirt-throwing incident in Jol's day has obviously stuck in the mind of some Spurs fans and the Egyptian sat down again, probably making it the last sight of him in a Spurs shirt you will see.  Conversely, when Wigan brought on Erik Edman to make his first appearance since his knee injury in his first game for the Latics, he received a good ovation from the Tottenham crowd.

Unfortunately, his introduction came just before the visitor scored with two minutes left.  Valencia got in behind Bale and his low cross was met by substitute Cywka, who mis-hit his effort, but the ball dropped to Camara off a defender and he shot in from just outside the six yard box to make the last few minutes nervy ones.  Things might have been worse had Camara made a better contact to Palacios' chest down, but his shot lacked any conviction and Gomes could gather it without any trouble.  

The keeper's quick thinking saw him throw the ball out to the right wing to Bentley and he launched Tottenham on another attack, but it came to nothing.  Just before the end of added time, Zokora won the ball at the back and ran forward with the ball, which was something he had not been doing in the previous 92 minutes.  As he entered the Wigan half, he passed through to Pavlyuchenko, who tried his luck from 20 odd yards out.  He had a go from the same distance earlier and hit the top tier of the Paxton Road, but this time he hit it sweetly.  As Bramble ducked out of the way and Kingson got his positioning all wrong, the ball ripped past him to make to 3-1 and fourth round here we come.

Wigan had changed their side more substantially than Spurs, so this will be no guide to how the league game will go in eight days.  But it was a useful exercise in using the 4-4-2 system, which, against a weakened Wigan team, worked OK.  Maybe, this is a precursor to the new Spurs team we might see after the transfer window.  But that will be decided by how much we have to pay for players and not by the crowd, who were constantly singing for Jermain Defoe, who it appears, might now be out of our financial reach, just a year after selling him.



Reaction : -



It was good to see Roman Pavlyuchenko back in the goals, with some decent ball to him to give him the ammunition to score.  He looks like someone who can score goals, unlike Darren bent at the moment after his good start to the season.  I think that is why it will be important to bring in another forward during the transfer window.

Not sure if this is going to upset your readers, but here goes ... I don't want Jermain Defoe to come back.  Whatever we are going to pay for him will be over the top and although he is a good Premiership goalscorer, I feel that someone who brings more to the team could be a better buy and that is why I was pleased to see us linked with Lukas Podolski.  A strongly built player playing up front with either Pavyluchenko or Bent will be a good partnership and one which can provide each other with chances.

At least we are through and the 4-4-2 appears to be an option that I would like to see us adopt at home at the very least.

simon fry

Last night was a much better performance and I thought Pavyluchenko started to look worth what we paid for him very encouraging. 

I think the Defoe saga will be strung out but that he will come in the end.  Ive always said never go back but I think in this case we do need someone like him and so fingers crossed it all works out and that like Klinsmann did before him, he scores bags full of goals and leads us up the table to safety.

steve gediking


While I agree with everyone about the influential role that Luka Modric played in our win over Wigan, it should not be overlooked that Didier Zokora was given a role that allowed Luka to play the way he did.  

Staying deep to cover the forward probing of the little man, Zokora used his pace and reading of the game to intercept passes or to get back and track runs through the midfield. This put a stop to his normal runs forward, until near the end of the game, when he did well to set up Pavlyuchenko with his late goal

Zokora is not always the most effective player, but he might find his role in this new system that Harry introduced.

benny the ball




Other scores this round :
Arsenal 3 Plymouth Argyle 1 Saturday
Birmingham City P Wolverhampton Wanderers P Saturday
Cardiff City 2 Reading 0 Saturday
Charlton Athletic 1 Norwich City 1 Saturday
Chelsea 1 Southend United 1 Saturday
Cheltenham Town P Doncaster Rovers P Saturday
Coventry City 2 Kidderminster Harriers 0 Saturday
Forest Green Rovers 3 Derby County 4 Saturday
Hartlepool United 2 Stoke City 0 Saturday
Hull City 0 Newcastle United 0 Saturday
Histon P Swansea City P Saturday
Ipswich Town 3 Chesterfield 0 Saturday
Kettering Town 2 Eastwood Town 1 Saturday
Leicester City 0 Crystal Palace 0 Saturday
Leyton Orient P Sheffield United P Saturday
Macclesfield Town 0 Everton 1 Saturday
Manchester City 0 Nottingham Forest 3 Saturday
Middlesbrough 2 Barrow 1 Saturday
Millwall 2 Crewe Alexandra 2 Saturday
Portsmouth 0 Bristol City 0 Saturday
Preston North End 0 Liverpool 2 Saturday
Queens Park Rangers 0 Burnley 0 Saturday
Sheffield Wednesday 1 Fulham 2 Saturday
Sunderland 2 Bolton Wanderers 1 Saturday
Torquay United 1 Blackpool 0 Saturday
Watford 1 Scunthorpe United 0 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 1 Peterborough United 1 Saturday
West Ham United 3 Barnsley 0 Saturday
Gillingham 1 Aston Villa 2 Sunday
Southampton 0 Manchester United 3 Sunday
Blackburn Rovers - - - -day
Blyth Spartans - - - -day


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