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Premier League

  • 2 April 2011
  • • 15:00
  • • The DW Stadium, Wigan
  • Referee: A. Marriner
  • • Attendance: 18578

Wigan Athletic 0-0 Tottenham: Stalemate at the DW Stadium damages hosts' survival hopes & Spurs' top four chances

Wigan Athletic 0-0 Tottenham: Stalemate at the DW Stadium damages hosts' survival hopes & Spurs' top four chances

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Neither side impressed as both defences dominated in a clash that leaves the hosts at the foot of the Premier League table and Tottenham's top four hopes dashed.

Wigan Athletic secured a hard earned goalless draw at home to Tottenham at the DW Stadium, with neither side able to find a winner in a nervy clash in Lancashire.

The Latics proved the better side throughout but were unable to breach Heurelho Gomes's goal as Harry Redknapp's outfit warmed up for their clash against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night in unimpressive fashion.

The visitors went into the clash with something of an injury crisis, with only two recognisable central defenders in Michael Dawson and Sebastien Bassong fit to face Martinez's side. Aaron Lennon started on the bench and Gareth Bale, with Spurs' clash at the Bernabeu seemingly on the mind of Redknapp, didn't even travel.

For Wigan, the contrast could not have been greater, with the Spanish boss having a full squad to choose from ahead of the game.

It was a clash with a lot on the line for both sides and the tentative opening exchanges only added to what was a nervous atmosphere within the DW Stadium. With possession changing hands with a frequency befitting such a nailbiting occasion, neither side were able to create, opting to pump balls down the middle and hope for their counterpart to blink first.

Neither did, and it wasn't until the 22nd minute until either 'keeper was tested with any real danger. With the ball breaking down the left hand side to Pavlyuchenko, the Russian knocked a deflected ball into the centre and on the half volley, Sandro hit a goalward bound effort only to see it saved by Ali Al-Habsi. It was, in anything, a wake-up call for Roberto Martinez's side who had been seemingly happy to play the long ball game.

The Latics responded with gusto and may well have taken the lead but for a little more luck, with the ball falling to Victor Moses outside the box only for the youngster, who had been a thorn in the side of the Spurs defence for much of the opening quarter, to see his dipping shot fly harmlessly Gomes' bar.

A lack of communication was severely hampering Spurs and Redknapp, not one to keep his emotions in check, made his exasperation clear for all to see as Van der Vaart and Pavlyuchenko failed to link up just after the half hour mark. It was a failed move indicative of a poor opening third from both sides. 

The Tottenham manager's displeasure signalled an improvement from the visitors and it was their magician, Luka Modric, who was beginning to dictate the play. A neat one-two with Pavlyuchenko found its way to the feet of Van der Vaart, only for the Dutchman, frustrated by his own ineptitude more than anyone elses, to rush his effort and hit a limp strike into the arms of a very grateful Al-Habsi.

Spurs stalemate | Gary Caldwell frustrates Jermain Defoe as Tottenham draw a blank

Contoversy was to follow, as Rodallega went down just outside the Spurs box in a tangled heap with Sebastien Bassong on the stroke of half time but the free-kick was awarded to the Cameroonian, much to the disbelief of Roberto Martinez. Neither side were deserving of a goal-lead at half time but the Latics' sense of injustice was palpable as the whistle went.

The second half began with both sides offering far more attacking intent and it was the hosts who looked the more impressive with N'Zogbia, a man who has so often been linked to so-called greater things, that was delivering when his side needed him. The Frenchman, cutting inside Assou-Ekotto, hit a great effort only to see it saved by the sharp Gomes.

He wasn't finished there. Darting inside from the right, the former Newcastle man was dominating the gaps left behind by a Spurs side a little too focussed on their own endeavours. N'Zogbia slipped a magnificent ball through to the advancing Cleverley, only for the on-loan man to see his curled effort just dip beyond Gomes' upright.

Change was certainly required for Spurs and Jermain Defoe was hauled off, having failed to look like getting anywhere near his 100th Premier League goal. Peter Crouch was brought, and Aaron Lennon replaced Van der Vaart as Tottenham looked to find some width but Redknapp's tactics looked to have been failing him as Wigan congested the centre circle.

Tottenham were playing into Wigan's hands and Roberto Martinez's side continued to impress, playing with a confidence hardly befitting a side at the foot of the Premier League table. Pretty but a little ineffective, Wigan had the upper hand on the pitch, if not the scoreboard as the tie entered its final 10 minutes.

That so nearly changed as time ticked down, with the ball breaking to new boy Connor Sammon late on but Gomes spared Spurs' blushes once again, getting down quickly to save with his feet. It was a remarkable piece of goalkeeping to keep the teams on terms.

Wigan continued to press as the game neared its conclusion but a winner wasn't to come their way. Both sides may take the point but they both would have certainly preferred more.

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