It has been a terrific day for Tottenham fans around the world and beyond, as the Spurs cemented, screwed, and reinforced (with metal girders) their place in the top four by dishing out a 9-1 shelling to Roberto Martinez's poor Wigan.
The Latics have much improved since the introduction of the former Swansea City manager, who had a six-year spell at Wigan as a notable player. Whilst Valencia and Palacios found bigger teams to go to, Egyptian hitman Amr Zaki (formerly loaned to Wigan) and Columbian forward Hugo Rodallega managed to compensate for some of the class lost from the squad.
Martinez has orchestrated a couple of notable victories in Wigan's league campaign already. Two examples are the away win against Aston Villa on the first week of the season and a memorable 3-1 win over Chelsea at the DW Stadium.
However, this has not been enough, for Wigan are still hovering dangerously close to the razor-sharp fan-blades of the relegation zone. Today's defeat has merely rubbed salt in the wounds for the Latics.
The first half was, in contrast to the second half, very cliched. An average half, both sides sizing each other up and maybe a goal here or there. Spurs had considerably more possession than Wigan and made use of the space available.
Aaron Lennon returned from injury at full-throttle. Possibly after ingesting a book about the greatness of Johan Cruijff's "Total Football" playing style, the favoured England winger covered pretty much every blade of grass on the pitch, dropping back to help the defence and then piling on the pressure in his natural position.
The little winger cut into the penalty box, as he so often does, and then fed a wonderful cross past Wigan's goalkeeper Chris Kirkland onto the head of Peter Crouch nine minutes in to give Spurs a deserved lead.
A short time later, there was a scramble to score the second goal in Wigan's net.
Jermain Defoe's attempt was cleared by Emmerson Boyce with Lennon in the right place to have a go himself. The shot was collected by Kirkland.
Wilson Palacios was looking to demonstrate what Wigan were missing from the midfield by trying a shot from 35 yards in the 20th minute. He was on target, but in cinematographic style, Kirkland (who was going to be enduring a blitzkrieg of shots here-on-in) made a wonderful save which was caught and not parried.
Spurs still looked weakened in defence though. Gomes threw the ball into nowhere (e.g., a Wigan player) so the attack on Spurs continued. Striker Jason Scotland managed to get a clear shot on goal from the error, but it was pushed away by Gomes, who it must be said, has been in remarkable form this season.
With a penalty save against Sunderland glued firmly into the back of his mind, he probably feels like there's nothing he can't do.
Defoe made another darting run in the 34th minute and was pretty much one-on-one with a helpless Chris Kirkland. A fireball of a shot hit the crossbar, but the Wigan keeper may have got a slight touch on the ball to ease it off target.
Toward the halfway mark, N'zogbia curled a free kick which was caught by Gomes. Defoe had one more shot which was kept away by Kirkland. Yes, Wigan's defence sound like they really weren't there. But things were about to get a lot worse.
Just six minutes into the second half of what we thought would be an average game, Jermain Defoe reminded us all why he deserves to start for the England Squad next year.
Lennon, who has sharpened his crossing skills, fed a pin-point pass into the path of Defoe, who beat his marker and lashed the ball into the roof of the net.
Only three more minutes had passed when Defoe scored an unassisted goal in the right side of the net. Then, four minutes after that , Defoe made a hat-trick out of another Lennon assist. Defoe volleyed a low cross again into the right hand side of the net.
Just before Defoe’s third goal, though, Paul Scharner scored a goal which gave Wigan some hope but gave Spurs a kick in the teeth. It was found that Scharner had replicated the new and improved "Henry Goal." He controlled the ball with part of his arm. The goal stood, much to the astonishment of everybody except Scharner, who was met with nothing but boos from Spurs fans for the remainder of the game.
Still, it became insignificant as time went on (even if the boos continued). The barrage of Spurs attacks continued, leaving Wigan (particularly Kirkland) with no room to breathe. On 64 minutes, Lennon’s consistent efforts were repaid handsomely with the fifth Spurs goal. The enjoyment factor for me was that it was 5-1 with about half an hour still to go.
The away section had cleared by this point, and for good reason.
Spurs still didn’t have to wait long for another goal, unless you call five minutes a long time. Assisted by Vedran Corluka this time, Defoe caught onto it and fired in goal No. 6. Spurs had to wait a whopping 20 minutes for the next goal. Defoe pushed his goal tally to five in the match with another solo goal resulting from a defensive error by Erik Edman.
Just to add to the misery, the goal itself has been considered as an own goal by him. Very strange considering that Bentley’s 45-yard goal against Arsenal in October 2008 bounced in off of Almunia’s hand.
You would think that it was over by now, the goals. Sorry Wigan fans, one more during injury time. Krancjar joined the goal party by knocking in the final goal of a highly entertaining match (well, for the Spurs fan base, anyway).
The goal gap between Spurs and archrivals Arsenal has now been reduced to seven. Also, Spurs won’t have anything to fear facing Aston Villa next Saturday because even if Spurs take a loss, goal difference will keep Villa just below Spurs, unless Villa manage to win 10-1 on their turf, which is unlikely.
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