Away from home in the north west, with the rain pelting down upon a pitch that could be best described as a mud bath; this is not the sort of game that Tottenham normally win.

The aforementioned pitch was like a ploughed field, so little wonder that some of the football played was a little agricultural in nature.

With the ball sticking in the mud, a crisp passing game was never on the cards for either side. Chances were at a premium, with only a couple of speculative long range efforts bothering the keepers, before Defoe’s opener in the 27th minute.

Another example of Gareth Bale’s thrusting runs saw him put the ball across the goal to the not unfamiliar sight of Jermain Defoe in an offside position. What was unfamiliar though, was the fact that we got a bit of luck in front of goal, as the linesman decided to not put up the flag, as Defoe poked home. Such fortune has been at a premium of late, so we were grateful to take advantage of a terrible decision, rather than being on the receiving end.

You do have to feel sorry for Wigan. They’re fighting a relegation battle and they can look back at this game as one in which they might have picked up at least a point, had they not been victim of an errant linesman. Still, never mind, eh?

The goal may have been fortuitous, but we had been the stronger team, even if actual chances had been few and far between. We played out the half with the game under control.

After the break Wigan pushed for an equaliser, as they brought Moses on to the right and shifted from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2. This stretched the game somewhat and allowed us to create better chances on the break than they managed to carve out, despite their pressure.

Wigan’s best chance probably came when Gomes spilled a cross, but they failed to capitalise upon it. On the break Defoe continued to threaten and twice forced good saves from Kirkland.

It was a surprise then that it was he and not the ineffectual Crouch, who was chosen to make way for Roman Pavlyuchenko. The crowd had been chanting the Russian’s name throughout the second half and when they finally got to see their man in action, he didn’t disappoint.

It wasn’t just Pav ‘wot won it’ though. Luka Modric had been left out of the team for the physically stronger Kranjcar, but was brought on in the second half to take advantage of tired legs.

The little Croatian did just that. Every time he got the ball, he set off on a run and was immediately causing problems. Before long he had threaded a ball through the Wigan defence that saw Crouch hone in on goal, only for Kirkland to block his uninspired effort. Minutes later Modric hit a well struck volley from the edge of the area, which hit the post before bouncing straight back to Kirkland.

We finally got the second goal when Pavlyuchenko was put through on goal by Modric and stab home. Just before the end, Pav got his second, after his header was saved by Kirkland and he showed real composure to take control of the rebound and place it in the net.

The cameras focused straight on Redknapp, who wasn’t able to pull off a smug ‘I told you so’ look after his well timed substitutions, due to the fact that he’s previously given Pavlyuchenko so few chances to prove himself.

I would be astonished if the Russian didn’t start alongside Defoe on Wednesday. Both looked lively and always likely to score, while Crouch struggled to get into the game.

It’s a shame that we didn’t have a Pavlyuchenko-figure to bring on in central midfield. This was not a game that suited the talents of Tom Huddlestone and with the mud making him even slower than usual, he was pretty lucky not to receive a second booking at a time in the match when going down to 10-men, could have seen Wigan launch a comeback.

Two poor performances aside, everyone else played pretty well in what could have been a difficult match. This was the first time that the side scored 3 goals in a league match since beating Manchester City back in December, so let’s hope that this now opens the floodgates for more goals.

The result put us back in fourth place and though City and Villa have a game in hand, our goal difference is stronger than both. This was a vital win, before the tough challenge to come in the shape of Everton.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. We have a good chance this season to get that fourth spot. It will require that supporters, players, coaches and the manager all have a common vision and push together. I will admit that Harry hasn’t made all the best calls over the past few matches, and certain players haven’t always been at their best. But now is not the time for true Spurs supporters to snipe at players or at the manager. I’m not saying I haven’t been guilty of it myself, but I propose that we all get behind the team now for that important final push. COYS!

  2. Its about time harry played Pav, everyone seems to know he is talent, except for harry! Defoe has stated that he thinks Pav is one of the best in europe. Crouch should only be used as a final 15 sub, i wonder if we would actually be in 3rd position if harry had stuck with Pav all season, when a striker has no effect week in week out and the manager still wont change the starting line up, something is seriously wrong, lets hope harry has learnt his lesson, and Defoe and Pav start from now on. COYS.

  3. Pav came on and delivered. He did exactly what Harry and the coaching staff asked of him. We won a difficult game. Harry was the one that put the block on Pav’s transfer out. Harry had already countered Pav’s agent’s comments this week saying that Pav would get a start in the next few games. So what please is the justification for your headline?

    • Because Pavlyuchenko has scored more goals in two brief substitute appearances against Leeds and Wigan, than Crouch has in his last ten starts.

      The headline indicates that in my opinion, Harry has been silly not to give Pavlyuchenko more opportunities.

      I don’t think he’s always looked that brilliant in a Spurs shirt and I’m not one who believes that bleating to the press should be rewarded, but with neither Crouch or Keane having played brilliantly this season, I can’t believe he hasn’t been given more opportunities.

      • But then again, you don’t get to watch all the players in training. Only Harry, the coaching staff and the players know the truth as to why Pav hasn’t been getting the playing time he appears to have deserved. Harry gets measured by his results and he will have picked the best starting line-up for each game. The form of Crouch and Defoe had been great and had only recently started to falter. Pav would have got a start two or three weeks back but he apparently had an injury after scoring in the Leeds replay. The implication that Harry deliberately overlooked Pav out of some sort of obstinacy is patent rubbish (imo)

  4. The question we have all been asking is that Pav should be starting with Defoe. Crouch is just a squad player, and he should only be coming on in the last 10 mins, when we lump it forward and we need a win. I watch spurs week in week out and crouch is just not good enough, he needs 3 touches, yes thats right 3 touches to control the ball & then he passes it to the opponent. Yesterday he had a 1 on 1 and missed. Pav on the otherhand persisted with his rebounded header and got 2 goals to his name. Would crouch have done that?

  5. I think you have got the wrong person. It is Pav and yourself that are the silly ones. It is plain for everyone to see he is quality but he obviously doesn’t do himself any favours on the training ground where the Manager and Coaching staff look closely at all the players to see if they have the right application and attitude to be picked for the next game. Harry was spot on yesterday. Modric came on and changed the game. Most Managers wouldn’t have put on a quality attacking play maker against a battling Wigan on a bog of a pitch. Well done Harry for being so positive.

  6. Innit funny how I was commenting Wigan needed a scrappy (read: slightly fortunate) goal in the first half and it went exactly the other way, just when we least wanted it to? 🙂

    Anyhow, I thought we put up a good fight yesterday but it just wasn’t our day. I like how we pushed for an equaliser, but that was always going to lead to trouble at the back. Six Prem games without a win now. 🙁

  7. I don’t know about the ins and outs of Pav and why he’s not used. The people who defend Harry’s use of Pav might well be right. The question is what happens from now? i think Crouch has been average at best. I don’t like the ball lumped up to a bean pole who is BAD at heading. I hope Harry brings on Pav for the next game. I hope it’s not pride or obstinacy that have kept the manager from playing him. The Russian wants to prove a point and he seems to be doing it. Give him a chance.

  8. PARK LANE AND THE REST OF THE HARRY PROTECTORATE
    give it a rest Harry should get a roasting for not trying the boy out No matter how many laps Crouch does round the pitch he is not gonna be the player that Pav is …end of training isn’t everything I’ve got one thing to say about training JIMMY GREAVES

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