For the first fifteen minutes of this game it looked like Spurs could rip Wigan apart as led by Aaron Lennon and Niko Kranjcar we created chance after chance. Only one opportunity was taken (a Crouch header from a lovely Lennon cross) though and the remainder of the half was played out almost soporifically as for some reason we took the foot off the gas and let our opponents think they had a chance to get back into it. Though they never looked particularly threatening – any shots they had were all of the long range pot variety – their midfield looked compact and capable of denying us space. We stopped getting the ball out to Lennon and started to look more to an individual effort from Defoe (of which more later) or a thunderbolt from big Tom to get us further in front.
For the first fifteen minutes of the second half we did rip Wigan apart and we didnâ€™t stop there as by the end the visitors were shell-shocked, demoralised and in their high-vis orange kit there was nowhere for them to hide.
9-1 was the final tally and all nine goals came from attacks down our right hand side. If Defoeâ€™s five strikes meant he had a day to remember, Erik Edman had a day heâ€™ll never forget. Lennon turned the ex-Spur inside out and conjured a series of crosses and cutbacks that Defoe clinically despatched for our second and fourth goals. Our favourite winger should no longer take flak about his final ball without arguing back and pointing his critics at a tape of this game. Lennon himself despatched number five after good work from Crouch gave him an opening.
Fine as Bentleyâ€™s swerving free-kick was for goal number eight (and if final proof were needed that everything was going our way today then the ball rebounding off the back of the keeperâ€™s head into the net was it), my personal favourite was number six which had Defoe collecting a perfect through ball from Corluka and beating Kirkland at his near post.
Niko Kranjcar was superb all afternoon displaying a level of flair and skill that even Luka Modric will struggle to match when he returns. He also did his fair share at the back, helping out Assou-Ekotto on a number of occasions. Kranjcar completed the scoring when he collected a Bentley pass inside the box and turned and rifled in off the bar from twelve yards.
The other two goals were Defoeâ€™s and could both be attributed to mistakes by Wigan defenders as first a Palacios pass squeezed through a gap it should never have been allowed to (that was goal three) and then Edman sliced a clearance straight at Jermain for his final goal and our seventh.
Paul Scharner was the early season pantomime villain as he took a cross down with his arm before scoring for Wigan to make it 3-1. He picked the wrong week to choose to do a thing like that and was enthusiastically booed thereafter. The fact that he looked like heâ€™d fallen asleep in a puddle of hair bleach didnâ€™t help.
Presumably because he was still brooding on the unfairness of life, Robbie was on the bench for this one. He wouldâ€™ve been cheered by the reaction from the crowd as he warmed up, first a healthy round of sympathetic applause and then some long choruses of â€œThierry Henry, heâ€™s a c*ntâ€ from the Park Lane. Robbieâ€™s limbering up routine contained several not so discreet attempts to acknowledge his agreement.
So after the stilted and cramped performances of the last few weeks the players were put back into the positions they know best today and performed like theyâ€™d been let off the leash. Lennon, Kranjcar and Defoe were the main stars but Palacios was also excellent in the middle as were Woodgate and Dawson at the back. Wilson was of course facing his old team and got applause from the Wigan fans still in the stadium when he was subbed near the end.
The High Road afterwards was like the scene of some sort of Joker gas attack, everywhere was awash with huge grins and laughter as what weâ€™d just seen sank in. Away to Villa next week; confidence shouldnâ€™t be a problem anyway.
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