Big Match Preview: Tottenham vs Wigan

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It’s Wigan Athletic at White Hart Lane on Sunday, perhaps not the most fragrant of attractions to most but to Spurs fans eager to put the whiff of the smelly win over Sunderland behind them, the game can’t come soon enough.

Stats produced before the last round of fixtures show that Wigan bring the Premier League player with the most shots without a goal in Jordi Gomez whilst Peter Crouch has the highest national shots per goal ratio, luckily for those sat behind the goals though there’s a good chance that neither will start. Harry will hopefully abandon any fancy tactics for this game and will stick square pegs in square holes. If Lennon and Kranjcar are fit then they should start with two of Jenas, Huddlestone and Palacios in the middle. Wilson’s Honduran friendly against Peru was in Miami but kicked off at 1.15am on Thursday our time, so even the extra day’s rest isn’t going to help him much. Thus in theory he’ll be the one to miss out, though obviously a lot depends on injuries.

Jermain Defoe must feel like he’s not played for ages – and that’s because he hasn’t. He’s started one game in just over a month and still owes us big time for getting himself dismissed at Portsmouth. Defoe’s start to the season was full of confidence and swagger, he’s now though got to play himself back into goal scoring form, and he’s got to do it by leading a team that seems to have, hopefully only temporarily, mislaid its mojo. Stodgy tactics and slightly eccentric team selections have led to a series of cramped and restricted performances that have been dominated by overcrowded midfields. Defoe’s best chance of getting back to his best quickly is if the team is given width and the players allowed to get back to the slick pacy passing we started the season with.

It’s anyone’s guess at the back as injuries dictate who will appear. Woodgate looked rusty against the Mackems but at least made it through the ninety minutes. The case for King gets weaker with each hamstring strain, but at the moment, if he’s ‘fit’, he’s got to play. We looked very slow against Sunderland, but unless Bassong is back or Naughton given an outing it’s hard to see how this will be addressed.

As for Wigan, Roberto Martinez is learning how to bring the best out of his players, but not without the odd hiccup. They’re the only team to topple Chelsea this season but also the only team to lose at home to Wolves so we’ll see which team turns up (though the latter will do fine thanks). They’re capable of free flowing attacking stuff and keeping the game open is something we specialise in so despite the Crouch/Gomez statistics above, goals seem likely.

The referee is set to be Peter Walton, late of David Ngog diving controversy. After Robbie’s experiences this week he won’t be pleased to see a nervous man in the middle.

The reward for winning this game is the possibility of stealing another few points clear of most, if not all, of our fellow contenders and pretenders for a top six spot and winning is the only result we should be satisfied with. Maybe we’ll have to wait for the return of Modric to get completely back to our free flowing best, but even without him we should create enough chances to make sure we keep ahead of the pack.


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