Wigan Athletic (Home)
Premier League

Saturday 28th August 2010

With a convincing win over Young Boys of Bern, Tottenham are now brought face to face with the whipping boys of the Premier League - Wigan Athletic.  Two games and ten goals conceded and none scored.  The same club who came to the Lane last November and lost 1-9.  So, what odds Spurs end up tripping up against the underdogs ?

I am not sure that will happen to the current Tottenham squad, as they are made of sterner stuff, but the game against the Latics will not be as easy as some might think.  They will be hurting and now that they have sorted out who wants to play for them and who doesn't, they might be a more cohesive unit, willing to try and top the goal machine that is Tottenham Hotspur.  They also have the confidence of a 3-0 away win over Hartlepool Unite din the League Cup in midweek.

Knowing that the bulk of the supply comes from Gareth Bale, they will double up on him, with Lennon on the other flank being tightly marked, but this should allow space for other midfielders or over-lapping full backs to exploit the spare man.  Defoe might play despite rumours of a groin operation and his partnership with Crouch looked good on Wednesday, as we played the ball to Crouch in the right way.

Wigan will be hoping that they are not embarrassed in the way they were last season.  However, Titus Bramble, Jason Koumas and Jason Scotland have gone, N'Zogbia is on his way and arriving have been Scottish defender Stephen Caldwell (joining his brother Gary), James McArthur another Scot, but a midfielder and Dutch defender Ronnie Stam from Twente Enschede.  How they will fare in the Premier League it is yet to be proven, as none are big names or established Prem players.

Chris Kirkland still keeps goals, but has been shell-shocked by the ball flying past him recently and the big figure of Maynor Figueroa being missing after picking up a knee injury in the last week's game against Chelsea.  The remaining defenders are either unknown quantities (Alcaraz, Gohouri, Golobart) or players who have not shone greatly in the past (Boyce, Caldwell).

Midfield has been hit by the losses of Koumas (although he rarely played under Martinez) and N'Zogbia, with the injury to Moses has deprived them of one of their brighter prospects.  James McCarthy did well in his debut season last time out, while Jordi Gomez adds a little fantasy to the workmanlike engine room, where Ben Watson, Hendry Thomas and Mohammed Diame all give muscle to the battlefield of the middle of the pitch.  Daniel de Ridder has been at a number of clubs, but has failed to harness his skill into an effective weapon, but he can be dangerous in delivering a good ball into the box.

Hugo Rodellega was a big hit at the start of last season, but faded after his early impact, but he is big strong and can't half hit a football well.  The Colombian will be paired with Argentine summer signing Mauro Boselli and they have yet to hit it off as a strike partnership, but they will need to be watched and Spurs will need to pay attention to their defensive duties in midfield rather than to keep bombing forward in an attempt to equal the first innings score of an English cricket test team.

Palacios will be fielded against his former employers and Tom Huddlestone will have to be quick on his toes to avoid the pressure he will attract as a five man Wigan midfield seek to squeeze the life out of the game and stop Tottenham playing.  The Athletic side will be more of a test than Young Boys turned out to be on grass, but then there will be other moves afoot to make sure that the feeling of beating the likes of the European sides we will be playing is one which inspires the side to gather enough points for another fourth place finish.

The glory may lie elsewhere, but the bread and butter of games like this one against Wigan cannot be underestimated ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    3      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 : -  Heurelho Gomes (out - groin), Luka Modric (out - groin), Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin), Jamie O'Hara (out - back), David Bentley (out - ankle); William Gallas (out - match fitness), Jermain Defoe (hopeful - groin), Giovani dos Santos (doubtful - hamstring) and Robbie Keane (doubtful - knee); Alan Hutton (out - groin); - (-); 

Wigan Athletic :  -  Victor Moses (out - ankle); Gary Caldwell (out - hip); Maynor Figueroa (out - knee); - (-); 


Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Saturday 20.25
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.25 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:40 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.00 (highlights)  Also available online (not on the night).
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 :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.


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

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Saturday 28th August 2010
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   35,101
Referee :  Phil Dowd (Stoke-on-Trent)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Dry, sunny
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

23  Cudicini

  4  Kaboul
26  King (c)
20  Dawson      
32  Assou-Ekotto (21  Kranjcar 46     )

  7  Lennon (17  dos Santos 73)
12  Palacios
  6  Huddlestone      
  3  Bale

18  Defoe
15  Crouch (  9  Pavlyuchenko 46)

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
19  Bassong
  8  Jenas
10  Keane

Wigan Athletic :

26  Al Habsi

  2  Gohouri
  3  Alcaraz
17  Boyce
23  Stam (16  McArthur 87)

21  Diame
31  Figueroa      
  4  McCarthy
  6  Thomas      

  9  Boselli  (14  Gomez 68)
20  Rodellega 

Unused subs: 
12  Pollitt
13  Caldwell
39  Mustoe
38  McManaman
  8  Watson

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

  Wigan Athletic
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur


Wigan Athletic

Rodellega 80

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Dawson (foul) 30
Huddlestone (foul)  43
Kranjcar (foul)  74


Wigan Athletic

Thomas (foul)  43
Figueroa (kicking ball away) 78 


Match Report : -  
Well, it was something we thought might, but hoped wouldn't, happen.  Spurs turned up, thought it was a forgone conclusion that the result was in the bag and put in a less than average performance to see three points slip away in a game that saw everything go wrong for them, whereas last season everything went right.

Starting from the slack passing in defence and dwelling on the ball by Assou-Ekotto to the lack of precision in delivery of supply into the box by most involved, Wigan made the most of their opportunities, while Spurs managed to labour against a well drilled defensive display by the Latics and it became obvious that the lessons from last season's home matches against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Stoke City had not been learned.

The opening efforts in this match saw the two sides exchange shots on goal, with a seventh minute shot from Diame getting taken wide by Dawson getting in the way, but the ball went for a corner and when it came in, the ball was headed back from beyond the far post by Alcaraz for Gohouri to turn six yard out and crash a shot against the bar and out.  It should have been the shock that sparked Tottenham into life, but Benoit Assou-Ekotto suddenly thought he was Ryan Giggs and started to try and dribble the ball past any opponent who stood in front of him.  He had the ball easily taken off him and Dawson blocked the resulting shot, although the ball pin-balled off Assou-Ekotto before going just wide and then BAE stood on the ball inside his own six yard box and only just toe-ended the ball away as a shot was lined up.

Bale was obviously going to be a player who would cause Wigan problems, but the early scything challenge by Boyce deserved more than a talking to that was given to him by referee Dowd, who had a very disappointing game on the whole.  He let Hendry Thomas get away with two bad challenges and that was after he had already booked him, while cautioning three Spurs players - two for their first fouls.  Almost amazingly, the match official allowed Wigan keeper Al Habsi to time-waste from the start and spoke to him only once, but then booked Figueroa for kicking the ball away.  However, when Alcaraz and Thomas did the same, he did nothing.  Consistency appears to be an area lacking in Dowd's game.

With Jermain Defoe still seeing how he reacted to the groin injury he has been carrying, Peter Crouch was the main target for the balls out of defence.  He took one out of the air in the 14th minute and played it off to Defoe, who in turn put it into Bale's path and the Welsh midfielder fired at goal, but only caught Emmerson Boyce in the midriff.  Defoe then needed the physios after Alcaraz took him from behind and got away with it.

With half the half gone, Spurs finally created a good chance, with Assou-Ekotto fizzing a pass into the area on the edge of the D.  Taking the ball as it arrived and turning in an instant, the England forward hit a low shot that the Athletic keeper got down to really well to palm it away.  both sides huffed and puffed for the remainder of the half, with the only clear opportunity falling again to Defoe.  This time he had to work for it, taking Crouch's pass and holding off Gohouri, despite an arm round him and then keeping Diame off him before prodding a right foot dig that went across the goal from left to right and ended up wide of Al Habsi's goal.

Harry Redknapp no doubt peeled some dressing room paint with his comments in the half time interval, with a couple of substitutions to shake things up.  Crouch, who had a hard half, with little decent supply and Assou-Ekotto, who signed his won way out of the action, both made way for Kranjcar and Pavlyuchenko.  Niko made an impact with some energetic entries into the action, but Pav had a quiet game and looked slightly off the pace.

Spurs had started the first half slowly and almost did the second.  They allowed Diame to thrad a ball through the middle of the defence and only a surge form his line saw Cudicini take the ball at the second attempt at the edge of his box.  Pav showed his one good contribution in the 52nd minute, when he tricked his way into a little space on the left wing from a throw-in and his low cross was heading for Defoe, but it was a little too close to the keeper, who took it low down before it reached the little Spurs striker.

A couple of substitutions changed the game.  Jordi Gomez came on for the niggly and ineffectual Boselli, while Aaron Lennon, who had been equally as anonymous was taken off and dos Santos came on.

Within minutes, the tide of the match changed.  While Spurs had been pressing forward, they neither created much of note and certainly had not made Al Habsi make many saves, but suddenly Wigan broke free of their defensive shackles and launched three quick attacks on the Spurs goal.  Firstly, a break on the right saw Rodellega play a low ball across the Spurs box and the Spurs sub Giovani was sucked into the middle of the goal, leaving his man Alcaraz free at the far post with the simple task of knocking the ball into an empty net.  Fortunately for Spurs, the ball fell to the defender and his delight at being in such an advanced position was tempered by the fact that he managed to scoop the ball over the bar from about two feet out.  That was in the 79th minute and a minute later Rodellega got past Bale on the Wigan right and lifted the ball into the centre of the six yard box where Gomez arrived with the simple task of volleying the ball past Cudicini.  Fortunately for Spurs, he had to take the ball with both feet in the air and could not keep his effort down, leaving his shot going over the bar.

Then Spurs didn't get so lucky.  80 minutes on the clock and a ball over Ledley King's head to the Wigan right wing position and Rodellega was there again.  This time, he took a touch and drilled a bobbling low shot across Cudicini, but the Spurs keeper failed to get down to it and it slipped under both his hands and in at the far post to give Wigan the lead, at a time when they were looking the team most likely to score.

This did not stop Spurs seeking away back into the match, but it was leaving it late.  Pavlyuchenko's flick on ended going straight up in the air and when it came down, Huddlestone had positioned himself underneath it and he hit a volley that had Al Habsi beaten, but it trickled a foot wide of the post.  Defoe then ran into the right hand channel in the box to take Palacios' pass, but he could not hit the target, slicing his shot into the side-netting.

Spurs were getting closer and Kranjcar made a yard on the left corner of the box to shoot at goal, but his powerful effort was diverted over the bar by the keeper, when it looked like it might end up in the net.  From the corner, Al Habsi flapped at the ball and it dropped to Michael Dawson on the edge of the area and his shot was pushed out by the Oman keeper for another corner.

A paltry five minutes had been added on, despite time-wasting on an expert level, but there was only one clear chance that Spurs created, with Kranjcar's free-kick drawing Al Habsi out, but he was nowhere near the ball, which was won by Younes Kaboul, but his header went a yard wide of the goal, with the space left by Al Habsi totally unguarded.  And so went Tottenham's last chance.

The problems caused by Wigan are likely to be repeated by other teams who see this as the way to get something out of their trip to White Hart Lane and so Tottenham must learn how to deal with it and come up with ways to break teams down rather than run out of ideas.  No doubt missing the mercurial prompting of Luka Modric, the side had no answer to the two banks of four that Wigan stuck in their last third.

Only finding a solution to that thorny problem will determine how the side will progress.  When They face sides who put in a lot of work to close them down and don't allow them the space to play, Spurs tend to struggle.  With the issues plain for all to see, they need to put in a work-rate to match that of the opposition and make the most of the few chances that may be available to them.

Otherwise, it will be like watching the Tottenham of old.

purcell cole


Fan Reaction : -



I really must stop listening to the football phone-ins on TalkShite.

All week they have been focusing on an aspect of Tottenham Hotspur.  Firstly it was is Tom Huddlestone that great.  Then it was Spurs fans are claiming they are going to win the Champions League.  Then it was how Spurs are going to get thrashed in their group once it had been picked.

Does this make Spurs a big club as the rubbish radio station is talking about us all the time ?  I guess not.  Just another bunch of fans to try and rouse to phone in and disagree with their wind-up presenters.

I don't remember hearing many Spurs fans say that the big-eared trophy is in the bag after beating Young Boys.  There will always be the deluded Spurs fan who phones up and does the club a disservice by spouting off about their pet theory ... like the one who phoned up and said "I have had to educate your researcher ... Spurs actually won the Double in 1962" !!  Well, it was close in 1962, but then a year out in fifty doesn't really matter that much does it.

If anything, a number of Spurs fans thought this game would end up exactly this way.  Many of us have all seen Tottenham too much to know that anything is a foregone conclusion.  Slow starting and playing with no tempo, Spurs had not got out of European mode and played the ball around at the back with no great intent to get it forward until Wigan closed them down (something Young Boys didn't do) and then it had to lumped forward to the head of Crouch.

Even though Wigan were near the bottom of the league last season, they are still probably more of a match for Young Boys and Tottenham players should not forget that just because they are now brushing shoulders with the European hoi-polloi, their bread and butter is in playing the likes of Wigan and West Ham.  If you try and take liberties with anyone you will come unstuck and their utmost concentration and application will be required in every game.  They need to get used to playing Champions League midweek and league football at the weekend, otherwise the chance of doing anything resembling progress will be gone in a blink.

It might be an early season blip, but it is something that needs to be drummed home to stop it happening again.

While Blackpool might have the Big One rollercoaster ... there are fewer rides with such ups and downs than the one offered by Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

benny the ball

With the Champions League match behind us, it was surprising that Harry Redknapp fielded a number of the players who featured on Wednesday night in this match against Wigan Athletic.

I know he wants to keep up the pressure on all fronts this season, but the fresh legs some players could have brought and the impetus of proving the manager wrong for leaving them out of the Young Boys game, might have added a bit more spark.  Because in truth, there were elements of a Champions League hang-over and of complacency in the early stages, which proved to be hard to get out of the system.

While Spurs had chances, so did Wigan and if they had all gone in it could have ended 4-4, but that would have been like last season's game, where almost every effort on target went in.  That isn't going to happen every week and especially when a team are returning to the site of a 9-1 mauling.

Wigan were never going to let that happen again and their first win at White Hart Lane came off the back of a resolute defensive display, a fair sprinkling of time-wasting and the taking of one of their four chances.  Cudicini looked like he could have done a fair bit better with the winning goal, as he got his hands to it, but he failed to get them down quick enough and then he did not show strong wrists to palm it wide.  Bearing in mind he has come back from his motor-cycle crash when he broke both wrists, it is perhaps a concern if this becomes a theme in his keeping while Gomes is out injured.

But the chances that Wigan made came from losing cheap possession and they exploited Gareth Bale's move to left back, when the over complicated dwelling on the ball of Assou-Ekotto saw him removed at half-time.  Bale was still looking to get forward, but the Wigan balls to his side of the pitch found him up-field of infield and this allowed Rodellega to find space there on three occasions within a couple of minutes.  His first cross should have been simply touched in, but Spurs were lucky that it was the defender Alcaraz who was there and the rush of blood he had saw him loft the ball over the bar instead of keeping his calm and side-footing it in.  Then substitute Gomez got on the end of another cross from the Colombian, but was airborne and stretching, so couldn't keep his volley down.  The third time, Rodellega took the shot himself and beat Cudicini low down to the keeper's right.

Spurs rallied and the Wigan keeper Al Habsi made two good saves and when he made his one mistake in coming for a free-kick he was never going to get, Kaboul put his glanced header wide.

Harry Redknapp put it down to a bad day.  If Defoe's sharp turn and shot had not been pushed out by Al Habsi after about half an hour, things might have been different, but two home games and no goals is not good enough and not the sort of form if the team are serious about finishing top four again.  Not being able to beat Manchester City with an inspired performance from Joe Hart was one thing.  Not being able to break down a defensively set up Wigan is very much another.

steve morley


If Spurs players fail to move about, then it is difficult to see how we are going to break teams down.  The movement was so poor, I thought I had accidentally hit some imaginary pause button.  The strapping defenders that Wigan stuck in their back four should have told Tottenham that the way around them was passing on the floor and running into areas that would pull their players out of position.  

The incessant launching of high balls from the back was also a tactic I thought we had got out of.  Many were not even in the same postcode as Crouch and those that were gave him little chance of doing much with.  The space that opened up in front of the back four ad Wigan's midfield backed off should have allowed them to take the ball closer to the Wigan goal, as Ledley King demonstrated a few times.  Bassong might have done the same had he been playing, but Dawson looked intent on playing the lofted ball from fifty yards.  It failed almost every time, as you were playing straight into their heads if not their hands.

And what has happened to the player who used to be Aaron Lennon ?  A good game at Stoke last week, when you thought he might not fancy it as he would have expected a good kicking into touch (if you believe Arsene Wenger), but today, with the crowd behind him, he looked less like the turbo-charged winger who sparked the run to fourth place at the end of the season and more than a bit like the who represented England in the summer.  I accept that the balls he got rarely were in front of him to run onto and with Kaboul behind him, there was not the same understanding he may have with Corluka, but he showed little willingness to run at his man and even if he felt he couldn't get past him, he would previously check back and then play the ball inside to a Huddlestone or Palacios.

Maybe we missed the presence of Modric, as he has an influence on other players, just by his movement in floating behind the front two across the whole width of the pitch.  Without him, we look limited and it goes back to the start of last season when he was out injured then too.

Things might change when players are back from injury, but they need to change in the players' heads.  A winning mentality and a bit of nous to the way they should play when in a game situation might turn things around quickly.

stan chun

I thought there was a misprint in the result and kept looking for the 1 in front of the Spurs 0 in the score-line.

Nice to see the Wigan board keeping in touch with the coach-load of their fans who came down for the game with the directors also failing to fill their allocation of seats in the Director's box.

tony clarke




Other scores this weekend :
Blackburn Rovers 1 Arsenal 2 Saturday
Blackpool 2 Fulham 2 Saturday
Chelsea 2 Stoke City 0 Saturday
Manchester United 3 West Ham United 0 Saturday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Newcastle United 1 Saturday
Aston Villa 1 Everton 0 Sunday
Bolton Wanderers 2 Birmingham City 2 Sunday
Liverpool 1 West Bromwich Albion 0 Sunday
Sunderland 1 Manchester City 0 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 3 3 0 0 14 0 9 +14
2 Arsenal 3 2 1 0 9 2 7 +7
3 Manchester United 3 2 1 0 10 4 7 +6
4 Aston Villa 3 2 0 1 4 6 6 -2
5 Bolton Wanderers 3 1 2 0 5 3 5 +2
6 Birmingham City 3 1 2 0 6 5 5 +1
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 1 2 0 4 3 5 +1
8 Newcastle United 3 1 1 1 7 4 4 +3
9 Manchester City 3 1 1 1 3 1 4 +2
10 Sunderland 3 1 1 1 3 3 4 0
11 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 1 1 1 3 3 4 0
12 Blackpool 3 1 1 1 6 8 4 -2
13 Liverpool 3 1 1 1 2 4 4 -2
14 Fulham 3 0 3 0 4 4 3 0
15 Blackburn Rovers 3 1 0 2 3 4 3 -1
16 West Bromwich Albion 3 1 0 2 1 7 3 -6
17 Wigan Athletic 3 1 0 2 1 10 3 -9
18 Everton 3 0 1 2 1 3 1 -2
19 Stoke City 3 0 0 3 2 6 0 -4
20 West Ham United 3 0 0 3 1 9 0 -8

Position before the match :  8th
Position after the match :  9th
Position after the weekend :


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