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Early goals key in third straight PL win

Posted on 24 September 2011  - 12:00

The team made it three Premier League wins out of three at the DW Stadium on Saturday as the two goals scored in a superb first half performance proved enough to see off the challenge of Wigan.

The team made it three Premier League wins out of three at the DW Stadium on Saturday as the two goals scored in a superb first half performance proved enough to see off the challenge of Wigan.

The home side cut the deficit in the second half and played a bigger part than in the first, but victory remained fully deserved.

There were two changes from the starting XI that began the 4-0 demolition of Liverpool last weekend, with Sandro drafted into midfield after his midweek Carling Cup excursion and Rafa van der Vaart returning in attack after Jermain Defoe was ruled out through illness.

Less than three minutes were on the clock when the lead was seized in emphatic fashion. Maynor Figueroa was caught in possession by Emmanuel Adebayor, who used his long stride to forced his way into the left side of the area. The Togo international retained possession before picking out the run of van der Vaart in the middle and the Dutchman dispatched a rising shot beyond Ali Al Habsi and high into the net.

It maybe should have been two when Scott Parker set Kyle Walker powering down the right flank, from where he squared into the path of Adebayor, who shot over on the run.

Wigan were uncertain playing out from the back and on several occasions Parker was quickly setting his teammates back on the front foot with his tenacity in winning back the ball. Walker was looking a big threat down the right, while Sandro and his central midfield sidekick Parker were the patrollers in the middle, snuffing out the early home threat.

The lead was deservedly doubled on 23 minutes when a Luka Modric corner was met by a glancing header from Bale into the corner of the goal. The trick was nearly repeated a few minutes later, but this time Bale headed over from the same position.

Bale then tested Al Habsi at his near post after a lung-busting burst down the left.

The game was not so much being taken to Wigan in the first half, more forced on them. It was probably as complete a first half display as you could hope to see.

Adebayor blasted goalwards five minutes before the break, with Al Habsi doing well to foil after the home side surrendered possession again.

Roberto Martinez most likely couldn't wait to get his players in at half-time and they were indeed much sharper in their work in the minutes after the re-start.

Not so sharp was Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who failed to clear the ball on 49 minutes, the start of a passage of play that resulted in Mohamed Diame firing low past Brad Friedel to reduce the deficit.

Adebayor was struggling after getting clattered by two chasers when on a charge through on goal and twice required attention.

Wigan were down to ten men just after the hour when the full-back Steve Gohouri chopped down Bale for the second time, with referee Mr Moss waving a second yellow then a red in his direction.

There was a chance to restore the two-goal margin when Bale played in Assou-Ekotto down the left, the full-back cutting in a low cross that was just too quick for the arriving Modric. Bale then zipped the ball low into the feet of van der Vaart, who shot wide under pressure and with a deflection. From the resulting corner Younes Kaboul headed narrowly over.

Giovani replaced van der Vaart for the final 13 minutes, the Mexican proving a tricky presence straight away by teeing Modric up for a shot on goal.

Kaboul rattled the crossbar via a small deflection from a free-kick 20-odd yards out after Giovani was stopped illegally in his tracks on a burst forward before the substitute James McArthur almost took advantage of Assou-Ekotto losing possession, the same player attempting an audacious volley when he spotted Friedel off his line.

Jake Livermore took over from Sandro as the game entered four minutes of added time that passed without too many alarms. It is now three in a row in the league and nine Premier League points safely banked.

Wigan (4-2-3-1): Al Habsi; Gohouri, G Caldwell, Figueroa, Van Aanholt; Watson (McArthur, 74), McCarthy; Moses, Gomez (Stam, 46), Diame; Di Santo (Sammon, 71). Unused subs: Kirkland, Maloney, Jones, Crusat.

Spurs (4-4-1-1): Friedel; Walker, Kaboul, King, Assou-Ekotto; Modric, Parker, Sandro (Livermore, 89), Bale; Van der Vaart (Giovani, 79); Adebayor. Unused subs: Cudicini, Bassong, Corluka, Carroll, Townsend.

Goals: Spurs – Van der Vaart (3) Bale (23) . Wigan – Diame (50).

Red card: Wigan – Gohouri (two bookable offences, 62).

Attendance: 18,788

Referee: Mr J Moss.