On a chilly winter evening in the capital, Tottenham reignited their title ambitions with another classy performance, which left a struggling Wigan side out in the cold at the foot of the table.
Gareth Bale continued to shine for Spurs with a neat chest and athletic volley into the Wigan net following an exquisite cross-field through ball from Luka Modric.
The nimble Croatian doubled the lead for the home side with an instinctive, turning half-volley from outside the box.
|Bale celebrates first goal|
The second half failed to wow the crowd, until Bale struck an individual effort into the far corner, before James McArthur squeezed in a deflected consolation for the visitors.
Wigan could and should have made the finish less comfortable for Spurs with Conor Sammon unable to convert a Ronnie Stam cross from six yards in the closing minutes.
Despite a few carless moments, Tottenham exhibited enough quality and belief to pick up their first victory in three league outings and showcase why they deserve to be a mere five points off the pace.
The opening half hour was, as expected, dictated by Harry Redknapp’s side, although two headed attempts by centre-back Younes Kaboul were all they had to show for their dominating of possession.
Wigan had glimpses of hope with Ronnie Stam delivering dangerously into the box and Victor Moses penetrating the nucleus of the Spurs backline, but an obvious lack of execution was all too evident.
As was always on the cards, Tottenham eventually broke the deadlock with a fantastic display of skill.
Modric eliminated The Latics’ defence with a pinpoint pass to Bale, who lost his man in the process of chesting the ball down to volley passed Al Habsi. The effortless finish complementing the preciseness of the assist.
|A devastating duo|
The sought-after Modric then demonstrated his own goal-scoring abilities, instinctively propelling a ricochet into the bottom corner with apparent ease.
Following an irresistible first half performance from Spurs, the Wigan contingent trundled off for half time refreshments with a sense of doom for the impending second half.
Despite a near miss shortly after the interval, courtesy of the head of Emmanuel Adebayor, the N17 faithful became impatient with Tottenham appearing content to sit on their lead.
However, Bale once again produced something from nothing whilst appearing to have his sight to goal obscured; he shifted onto his left in a flash and with minimal backlift, fired a rasping nail into the far corner of Wigan’s coffin.
With Roman Pavlyuchenko signing for Lokomotiv Moscow and Jermaine Defoe already sidelined, Cameron Lancaster was handed his Spurs debut after Adebayor joined Rafael Van der Vaart and Kyle Walker in limping off.
|Probert misses lunge|
Redknapp will therefore be especially thankful his free transfer of Louis Saha was successful. He said of the 33-year-old Frenchman, "I like Louis. He is bright, sharp, got good movement and I think he'll do well for us."
The only controversial incident involved Benoit Assou-Ekotto who floored Franco Di Santo with a reckless lunge, catching the forward high up the shin, yet the incident went apparently unnoticed by referee Lee Probert, who took no action against the defender.
Roberto Martinez was incensed, "I think it was a definite red card and we are very fortunate he's only got a minor injury. A red card would have given us more momentum.”
Wigan got a deserved consolation for their efforts after Moses freed McArthur whose deflected chip looped over Brad Friedel.
They should have added a second moments from time, with Stam causing problems down Tottenham’s left flank and must take heart from their second half performance if they are to drag themselves up, out of the drop zone.
Martinez admitted, "I do think we deserved a lot more but in the next fifteen games we need to perform in the manner we did in the second half."
This was a welcome victory for Spurs and Redknapp who has been in court on charges of tax evasion recently. He joked, "I've been sitting down all week. I kept dancing around like a two-year-old! It was nice to get on my feet again. The fans were great, I appreciated it.”
|Redknapp in high spirits|
In a positively jovial mood, the so-called wheeler dealer of the football world reminded all Arsenal fans, “We're thirteen points ahead of Arsenal now, it's a nice lead.”
The Tottenham manager was quick to pour praise on Gareth Bale who had another dazzling performance. Luka Modric was also outstanding and Redknapp will know just how crucial that pairing will be for the success of the club, not only this campaign, but for seasons to come.
Bale and Modric form part of what is currently considered the best midfield in the English Premier League, but in a strange irony, many believe that how well they perform and therefore how much success they bring themselves at Tottenham, may dictate their desires to remain at the club.
Sitting third, just five points behind Manchester City and still in the FA Cup, Spurs fans need not panic just yet, but the summer is a long way off.
Written by Dom Wallace
Written by Dom Wallace