Spurs prolong Wigan's winter of discontent
DW Stadium, Wigan
Wigan's winless run now stands at eight gaames after today's defeat by a Spurs side whose passing and industry made a mockery of the conditions and in doing so raised questions about Latics commitment and fitness for the relegation battle.
Latics lacked inspirational centre half Titus Bramble and he was replaced by Paul Scharner who dropped back into the centre half role creating a recall for Hendry Thomas to oppose his Honduran compatriot Wilson Palacios.
Anyone anticiapting a titanic battle between the two would have been disappointed as Thomas looked far off the pace and with Mohammed Diame also having a poor game, Huddlestone and Palacios were allowed to dominaate the centre midfield mudbath.
Wigan seemed to sit deep and once again played with only one forward and with the Roddallega seemingly disinterested on one wing and N'Zogbia superbly marshalled by Bale on the other , Martins was left to either vainly chase lost causes or be out jumped by the man mountains in the centre of the Spurs defence.
Spurs on the other hand seemed to master the conditions and break quickly with Defoe looking particulary sharp.
The first real chance however fell to Wigan when a loose clearence fell to Rodallega on the edge of the area and his goal bound shot was tipped over by Gomes for a corner.
Spurs belied their 'fancy dan' reputation with some crunching tackles one by Defoe on Melchiot could hve earned him a red card but Alan Wiley saw nothing wrong with what appeared a two footed lunge.
This perceived error was compunded when a quick Spurs break saw Defoe put through on goal and he made no mistake, scoring his sixth goal against WIgan in two games. Everyone on the ground was screaming for offside but the two men who mattered , referee Wiley and his assistant saw nothing wrong and the goal stood.
Latics heads visably dropped and for the rest of the first half they offered very little, with only McCarthy looking like creating anything for the forward players as Diame and Thomas dropped further snd further off the Spurs midfield.
The second half was a more open affair with Latics pushing forward searching for an equiliser with Moses on for the underperforming Thomas, however Latics still persisted with a lone forward and so created no clear cut chances agaisnt a very efficient Spurs back four.
As the game progressed Spurs seemed to have more room to run into and their forwards were constantly stretching the Wigan back four. This pressure paid off when Pavluchenko played a neat one two, burst into the area and fired past the advancing Kirkland. This sparked a mass walkout of a sizable proportion of the home crowd which can have left Matrinez under no illusions of what the fans feel about their current predicament.
Those who left were at least spared the embarassment of the third goal, Pavluchenko shot from inside the six yard area which was well saved by Kirkland , the ball rolled along the dead ball line and from an impossible angle the big Russian shot past Kirkland and two static defenders to make it three nil.