Wigan Athletic (Away)
Premier League

Saturday 2nd April 2011

An unusual trip to Wigan on a Saturday is perhaps balanced by  familiar tale of who needs what from the game.  There was a time not too long ago, when this would have been a bottom of the table battle, but in more recent years, it has been Wigan needing the points to stay up, while Spurs have been seeking three more to take them closer to the European qualifying places.

With injuries at the back, Spurs are approaching the bare bones stage of the season in that department of the team, but with players recovering from injury in other positions, the squad looks reasonably balanced.

Wigan are struggling at the foot of the table, mainly through the lack of goals and the fragility of their defence.  With 29 scored and 51 conceded, they have the worst goal difference in the Premier League and that is not a good thing when you are fighting to get out of the bottom three.  They have good strikers, but with the team being pushed back, they are having to battle back and thus are not always high enough up the field to do damage to the other side.  Hugo Rodellega showed what he can do when he scored at White Hart Lane to give the Latics a 1-0 win earlier in the season.  Strong on the ball and with a powerful shot, he is a real asset.  The Colombian has been overlooked recently, with Chelsea loan player Franco Di Santo getting the nod, but he is struggling to make an impression after a couple of appearances for his parent club in which he looked good.  Conor Sammon was signed in the transfer window from Kilmarnock, but may find the English version of the Premier League different to that in Scotland.

The midfield boasts a couple of prize assets in Charles N'Zogbia and James McCarthy, who will perhaps be moving on at the end of the season whether Wigan stay up or not.  Both have lots of skill and McCarthy is also full of effort in midfield, while N'Zogbia has tricks and pace that open up other team's defences.  Another skilful midfielder is Spaniard Jordi Gomez, but he may not be the sort of player that will do you a job when you are scrabbling for points, so it is more likely that the more prosaic Hendry Thomas and Ben Watson will feature to give them some bite in midfield and Watson likes to get forward, while Thomas can sit in front of the back four.  Loaned by Manchester United, Tom Cleverley is looking a very good midfielder, with an eye for a goal, which is what Wigan need.  He is powerful with the ball at his feet and can see an opening to set up a team-mate.  Mohammed Diame has been out of favour and Daniel De Ridder is out on loan.

Goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi had been good for Bolton Wanderers before joining Wigan Athletic on loan and his performance in the return game at the Lane kept Spurs out.  A good shot stopper, he has had a bit too much work to do and there have been times when he has been pulled out of position.  The defence in front of him has been a little porous, with the goals slowing past them as they did towards the end of last season.

Antonlin Alcaraz is a rash full back, who goes in to tackle with lots of determination and not a great deal of finesse, while on the other side of the back four Maynor Figueroa, a player who ahs great athleticism ad enjoys getting into the other box, as he did to score the winner against Birmingham City recently.  Emmerson Boyce is leggy and good in the air, but can be found out on the ground, so there may be scope for Defoe to get around him, with bothers, Gary and Steven Caldwell available in the heart of defence, they are both string tacklers, but not that quick.  Steve Gouhori has pace and enjoys supporting the attack, while Dutchman Ronnie Stam has not been selected of late following his signing in the summer.

There should be an opportunity for Tottenham to get back the points dropped at home to Wigan, but they need to improve ion their finishing, with Defoe seeking his 100th goal in the Premier League and perhaps trying a little too hard.  Taking our chances should give us a win and I think the score will be ...

PREDICTION : -    Wigan Athletic    0      Tottenham Hotspur    2

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


WIGAN ATHLETIC :  -  - (-); - (-); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Younes Kaboul (out - knee); Wilson Palacios (out - knee); Tom Huddlestone (hopeful - ankle); William Gallas (out - knee);  Ledley King (out - groin); Gareth Bale (doubtful - hamstring); Aaron Lennon (hopeful - hamstring); - (-); - (-); 


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Radio :  
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If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
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click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

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

Premier League
Venue :  -  JJB Stadium
Saturday 2nd April 2011
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   18,578
Referee :  Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the North Stand end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Dry, warm
Teams : - 
Wigan Athletic :

26  Al-Habsi

  3  Alcaraz
  5  G. Caldwell 
17  Boyce

  4  McCarthy
  8  Watson
10  N'Zogbia  (  7  Di Santo 85)
11  Moses  (18  Sammon 66)

20  Rodellega  (21  Diame 85)

Unused subs: 
12  Pollitt
  2  Gouhori
23  Stam

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka
20  Dawson (c)
19  Bassong
32  Assou-Ekotto

11  van der Vaart  (  7  Lennon 68)
30  Sandro     
14  Modric  (21  Kranjcar 85)
  8  Jenas

  9  Pavlyuchenko
  Defoe  (15  Crouch 57)

Unused subs: 
  6  Huddlestone
25  Rose
40  Pienaar

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Wigan Athletic

  Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Wigan Athletic


Tottenham Hotspur


Cards : -  
Wigan Athletic

G. Caldwell  (foul)  70 


Tottenham Hotspur  

Sandro (persistent fouling)  76 


Match Report : -  
A reasonably uneventful game saw a handful of chances and a goal-less point apiece that helps neither Spurs nor Wigan in their respective hopes at either end of the table.

Spurs looked like their players had one eye on the Champions League game in the Bernabeu on Tuesday, while Wigan gave everything they had, but it proved not to be enough and whether it is enough to keep them in the Premier League will depend on whether they can find goals between now and mid-May, as they were the one thing that stopped them taking all three points in this match.

Spurs were sluggish and failed to get any great degree of supply to Defoe and Pavlyuchenko up front.  Playing van der Vaart on the right of midfield might have been a risk, but against Wigan, it was a fairly safe bet, but his roaming nature meant that it was not always easy to pin him down when he was needed as an outlet.  With Sandro acting as the defensive anchor, it was surprising to see him advancing beyond our attacking midfielders, with runs from the deep, but he was the outstanding Spurs player out there today ... along with Heurelho Gomes who earned the point with a couple of smart stops.

The game started with Spurs playing two up top, while Wigan settled for one with supporting midfielders getting forward with pace.  Neither tactic worked for the first twenty minutes, as the ball into the box from either side was not of the quality desired and both sides were working hard to win the midfield battles.  Referee Marriner stopping the game regularly for petty fouls did not help the flow of the game.

Just before the halfway point in the first half, Roman Pavlyuchenko went down under challenge by Watson, but it looked a bit too dramatic for the ref to give anything and then a ball inside to Jenas saw him hit it in his stride and the power was too much for Al Habsi to hold, although he got down quickly to smother the rebound before Jermain Defoe could get there.  When a corner was cleared to Victor Moses a couple of minutes later, Spurs were relieved to see it whizz just too high over Gomes' goal, although the home fans wanted a corner.

||Ten minutes before the break, Moses broke into the right side of the Spurs box and with Benoit Assou-Ekotto trailing him, the Wigan winger went down and claimed a penalty, but it was a seemingly unintentional contact and the ref waved play on.  Pav turned inside his man and hiot s shot over from just outside the box and then Rodellega took a goal-kick down and hit a looping shot from 35 yards that went wide, but he had seen Gomes off his line and tried his luck.

Tottenham were working the ball better as the half came to an end, with Defoe and Modric creating a half-chance for Rafael van der Vaart to shoot at goal, but Al Habsi got his body behind the curling shot.

The second half started with Assou-Ekotto dweeling on the ball too long and being robbed by N'Zogbia, who went into the box and hit shot was low to Gomes' near post, but the keeper did well to get down to save the shot four minutes in.  He was grateful to Michael Dawson and Sebastien Bassong a few minutes later, when a low Moses cross form their right wing was palmed out by Gomes and fell to Rodellega and the Spurs skipper and his central defensive partner both got in the way to prevent him getting his shot past them.

Wigan were building the pressure on the Tottenham defence, but could not capitalise on their dominance.  N'Zogbia played the ball from the right wing to the left and Cleverley struck a curling shot that Gomes could not take any chances with and just touched around the far post for a corner.  To change things, Harry sent on Crouch for Defoe and Peter had a couple of half chances with headers and one shot that failed to find the target, while van der Vaart was replaced by Aaron Lennon, with a hug for Redknapp as he went off, after the recent rumblings about neither party being happy about the way substitutions were made or received.

Three minutes from the end, the best chance of the game arrived for Wigan.  Diame played the ball into the area and substitute Connor Sammon got on the end of it with a shot that was difficult for Gomes, being under his ribs as he dived, but the Brazilian did well to grab it to disappoint the few, if vociferous, home fans.

The game petered out with Crouch having the last chance, but not with enough conviction to make it into a chance for a team-mate.

And so another two points slip out of hands in games we should be getting more from if we are serious about finishing in the top four come the season's end.  This sequence of games with the defeat at Blackpool and draws with Wolves, West Ham and now Wigan will probably define our season when it is looked back on.  The lack of goals are killing us at the moment and with tough games coming up against sides at both ends of the table, we need to take every chance we get.

Burton Bradstock


Fan Reaction : -



With the selected array of forwards we have at our disposal, it is perhaps a little perplexing that we can't score a goal for love nor money at the moment.

The goals have dried up from midfield and the forwards either lack confidence or conviction to get the ball past the opposition defence, leaving us struggling for wins that we need to keep the pressure on at the top of the table.

Admittedly, it was always going to be more difficult this season, having finished in the top four, but the way we had been playing showed we had been creating chances, but these seem to have dried up and sometimes bad luck plays a part, as it did against West Ham United, but in a game like this, it looked like the looming Champions League tie was the biggest factor in some of our players' performances.

The Champions League has seen us hit the target regularly, but the Premier League not so.  Is it priorities or unfamiliar opponents being caught out, while our domestic foes are more used to our striking ways ?

East Stan






Other scores this weekend :
Arsenal 0 Blackburn Rovers 0 Saturday
Birmingham City 2 Bolton Wanderers 1 Saturday
Everton 2 Aston Villa 2 Saturday
Newcastle United 4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Saturday
Stoke City 1 Chelsea 1 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 2 Liverpool 1 Saturday
West Ham United 2 Manchester United 4 Saturday
Fulham 3 Blackpool 0 Sunday
Manchester City 5 Sunderland 0 Sunday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 31 19 9 3 68 32 66 +36
2 Arsenal 30 17 8 5 59 29 59 +30
3 Manchester City 31 16 8 7 50 27 56 +23
4 Chelsea 30 16 7 7 54 25 55 +29
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 30 13 11 6 42 35 50 +7
6 Liverpool 31 13 6 13 42 38 45 +4
7 Everton 31 9 14 8 42 41 41 +1
8 Bolton Wanderers 31 10 10 11 43 43 40 0
9 Newcastle United 31 10 9 12 48 46 39 +2
10 Fulham 31 8 14 9 36 33 38 +3
11 Stoke City 31 11 5 15 37 39 38 -2
12 Sunderland 31 9 11 11 33 42 38 -9
13 West Bromwich Albion 31 9 9 13 43 57 36 -14
14 Birmingham City 30 7 13 10 30 42 35 -12
15 Blackburn Rovers 31 9 7 15 39 51 34 -12
16 Aston Villa 31 9 10 13 39 53 34 -14
17 Blackpool 31 9 6 15 45 63 33 -18
18 West Ham United 31 7 11 13 38 53 32 -15
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 31 9 5 17 36 53 32 -17
20 Wigan Athletic 31 6 14 11 29 51 31 -22


Position before the match :  5th
Position after the match :  5th
Position after the weekend :   5th


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