In true Tottenham style, Spurs drew at Wigan with a late equaliser having been gifted the perfect start by the..."/> In true Tottenham style, Spurs drew at Wigan with a late equaliser having been gifted the perfect start by the..."/> In true Tottenham style, Spurs drew at Wigan with a late equaliser having been gifted the perfect start by the..."/>

Late Drama And Disappointment As Tottenham Take Only A Point At Wigan

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In true Tottenham style, Spurs drew at Wigan with a late equaliser having been gifted the perfect start by the hosts. The point means that Tottenham have again relinquished control of their own destiny and are reliant once again on Arsenal and/or Chelsea dropping points if they are to secure Champions League football next season.

Wigan Athletic 2  Tottenham Hotspur 2

Scorers: Boyce, McManaman                        Bale, Boyce (o.g.)

Team: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Naughton (Assou-Ekotto); Dembele (Holtby), Huddlestone, Parker (Lennon); Dempsey, Defoe, Bale. Subs: (unused) Friedel, Caulker, Carroll, Sigurdsson

Gareth Bale and Tottenham had another frustrating afternoon against Wigan [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]Andre Villas-Boas rewarded Tom Huddlestone for his excellent cameo performance against Manchester City  last weekend with a place in the starting line-up. It is Huddlestone’s 100th Premier League start for Spurs but his first since the home win over West Ham in late November. Jermain Defoe also started but Emmanuel Adebayor missed out on a place among the substitutes through injury. Aaron Lennon returned to the bench following injury with Gylfi Sigurdsson dropping out as did Benoit Assou-Ekotto, being replaced by Kyle Naughton. Michael Dawson who captained the side was making his 200th Premier League appearance for Spurs.

Tottenham had the perfect start at the DW Stadium when Wigan presented them with the opening goal after 8 minutes. It came through a defensive blunder as Tottenham pressed the defenders forcing them to go back towards their own goal. When Gareth Bale blocked the goalkeeper’s clearance it rebounded off his outstretched foot and into the net.

Wigan responded immediately and were level within two minutes. They attacked down the right and won a corner. When the ball was played in, Boyce out-jumped Jan Vertonghen to place a powerful header beyond Hugo Lloris.

Huddlestone had already hit the post with an early free-kick before Spurs went ahead and while Tottenham had by far the greater amount of possession throughout the game, Wigan worked hard to deny them and looked to get forward quickly. In the first half Spurs played a controlled passing game as Wigan sat back but Huddlestone played deep and in the opening stages sprayed passes around trying to release Kyle Walker, Bale and Defoe behind the Wigan defence. Tottenham played some positive controlled passing with 60% possession but Wigan managed on each occasion to get a defender back and deny the Spurs player before he could get in a final, telling passing or shot.

After 20 minutes good inter-passing on the edge of the Wigan area provided Scott Parker with an opportunity to shoot but it went wide. Wigan were quick on the counter-attack but Kone shot over the bar. A ball from Vertonghen found Defoe but a defender cleared as he was about to shoot. Then Bale released Walker whose cross reached Defoe who set up Parker but his shot was again off target. Tottenham lost Mousa Dembele to injury six minutes before the interval with Lewis Holtby replacing him. Any chances which were coming were falling to Spurs but they failed to really test the goalkeeper who had been unsettled by the early mistake. In the last seconds of the half, the goalkeeper got a hand to the ball as Defoe tried to take it round him and when it fell to Parker with the Wigan defence in a tangle, he lost balance as he tried to shoot.

Wigan had been content to allow Spurs to have possession in the first half but after the interval they started in a more purposeful frame of mind and Lloris had to claw out a dangerous cross after two minutes. From the throw on the left, Wigan worked the ball across the edge of the Tottenahm area to McManaman who cut inside Naughton and fired a powerful shot past Lloris. Not the start Spurs had wanted and it now allowed Wigan to defend in depth in their own half and look to break quickly.

It was  a very effective tactic from Wigan and while stiffling Totenham’s play and denyimg Bale any possession, they broke with pace and troubled Spurs frequently. At this point Wigan looked the more likely to get another goal. Wigan’s revival had finally started against Spurs and their desire for the points was proving greater than Tottenham’s.

The packed defensive barrier hindered Tottenham who were unable to find a telling pass as Wigan worked tirelessly across the pitch. Spurs also struggled to cope with Wigan’s swift counter-attacks and Kone had a number of opportunities to increase their lead. Assou-Ekotto replaced Naughton and Lennon came on for Parker but the course of the game altered little. Spurs were getting frustrated and gave away a number of free-kicks which only played into Wigan’s hands as they slowed the game down and prevented Spurs getting any tempo into their game. Lennon and Bale rarely had the ball and had little influence on the match. With ten minutes to go Kone again spurned a great goal scoring opportunity when clean through on the goalkeeper but Lloris managed to get a block with his foot.

In the first half it had been Spurs who were gathering any loose ball but in the second it always fell to Wigan. In the 88th minute Spurs were awarded a free-kick on the right of the area in a similar position to where Huddlestone had hit the post in the opening minutes. This time Huddlestone again deceived everyone by hitting the ball low into the area. Bale had a swing at it but missed and when the ball bounced off Boyce, Spurs were level.

So followed a frantic seven minutes with both sides looking for the winner and with two minutes remaining, from a quick Spurs break Dempsey delivered a cross but it was just out of Bale’s reach. It looked like the last chance had gone but another opportunity presented itself to Spurs. Defoe broke towards the area but was brought down just outside the box. Could Bale find the touch from his free-kick? His shot was on target and was punched out by the goalkeeper, it fell to Huddlestone whose shot was blocked and then fell to Defoe and was again cleared as the referee blew the final whistle.

Tottenham have played at Wigan on four occasions in the month of April and every match has ended as a draw. Spurs did well to recover and snatch a late goal to rescue a point but in reality it’s not really enough. It was a disappointing performance from Spurs after such a promising start. Neither side benefited from the result but Wigan will probably be more content as it’s another point towards safety. For Tottenham, after the positivity engendered by last weekend’s win, they must now hope that Manchester United (twice) and Swansea can do them a favour. Tottenham remain in fifth, level on points with Chelsea and one behind Arsenal, when they had been hoping to have moved up to third, a point clear of their north London neighbours.