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Premier League

  • 24 September 2011
  • • 15:00
  • • The DW Stadium, Wigan
  • Referee: J. Moss
  • • Attendance: 18788
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Wigan Athletic 1-2 Tottenham: Van der Vaart & Bale strike early as Spurs make it three wins in a row

Wigan Athletic 1-2 Tottenham: Van der Vaart & Bale strike early as Spurs make it three wins in a row

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A superb first-half performance from the visitors was enough to secure all three points as the Latics saw Steve Gohouri sent off for two bookable offences on the hour mark

Tottenham secured their third consecutive league win after beating Wigan Athletic 2-1 at the DW Stadium.

First-half goals from Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale served to highlight the visitors' dominance, as Roberto Martinez's men failed to match the movement of Spurs, whose confidence looked to be sky-high following their demolition of Liverpool last week.

The Latics returned from the break with a sense of endeavour absent from their showing in the opening 45 minutes and were justly rewarded, with Mohamed Diame getting a goal back. However, a Steve Gohouri red card for two bookable offences on Bale was to prove the hammer blow to the hosts' resurgence.

Martinez was forced to start without Hugo Rodallega, with the Colombia international still sidelined with the knee injury sustained at Goodison Park late on last week, but Shaun Maloney remained on the bench, still awaiting his first Premier League start since his deadline day switch from Celtic.

Spurs were also missing a striker in the shape of Jermain Defoe, with the England international having travelled to the north west only to return home with a throat infection. Van der Vaart was drafted in behind Emmanuel Adebayor as a result.

It was to pay dividends almost instantly as the visitors exploded out of the blocks, and it was Adebayor, a player in such blistering form since arriving at the end of the transfer window, who did the work to allow Van der Vaart to break the deadlock after only two minutes. Catching Maynor Figueroa in possession, the Togolese striker powered into the area past a helpless Gary Caldwell, squared a ball to the Dutchman who smashed it past Ali Al-Habsi.

Tottenham’s creativity was being matched, and bolstered, by the hosts’ wastefulness in possession and as Scott Parker sent Kyle Walker down the right, Adebayor should have made it two by latching on to the full-backs pin-point cross. He blazed over but with the 10-minute mark yet to have been reached, echoes of Spurs’ 9-1 hammering of Wigan two years ago were swirling around a quiet DW Stadium.

Van's the man | Van der Vaart opens the scoring for the visitors after only two minutes

Worse was to come not long after and it was terrible defending that was to prove the Latics’ downfall again, as Bale met Luka Modric’s corner unmarked to glance a header into Al-Habsi’s far post. Wigan, who had not been beaten at home since February, were in absolute disarray.

The home side, to their credit, rallied but looked blunt going forward and could have been behind by three after 30 minutes, when Bale headed over with an almost identical effort to his goal only minutes earlier.

Boos were to rightly greet Martinez's side as the half-time whistle went, with the Spaniard's side having looked entirely out of their depth against the buoyant visitors.

Wigan may have looked hopeless but they returned in the second half a different side, and less than five minutes after the break, they were somehow back in the game. Benoit Assou-Ekotto's poor clearance was pounced upon by Diame, and after holding up Younes Kaboul, the Senegalese midfielder, who had been a largely peripheral figure, dragged an effort past Friedel.

Martinez, fast becoming one of the Premier League's most respected managers, looked to have injected his side with some much-needed vigor during the break and was steadfastly sticking to his game plan, as Athletic looked to flood the midfield.

The lingering feeling that Spurs would punish their hosts on the break was to play out shortly after the hour mark however with disastrous consequences, as Gohouri, who had been booked in the first half for challenge on Bale, felled the Welshman again to pick up his second yellow. The task for Wigan had been made all the more difficult.

It was to prove a challenge too great for the home side, who laboured to no avail and were, in truth, fortunate not to concede a third after Kaboul hammered a late free-kick on to the crossbar.

Summer hangover well and truly behind them, Spurs' push for the top four is quickly gaining momentum. 

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