MATCH REPORT: SPURS 4, WIGAN 0
Jermaine Jenas marked a new arrival with a return to his goalscoring habit against Wigan Athletic on Sunday afternoon.
Jermaine Jenas marked a new arrival with a return to his goalscoring habit against Wigan Athletic on Sunday afternoon.The speedy midfielder netted two first half goals, added to by Aaron Lennon before the break and Darren Bent afterwards as three Premiership points were banked for the first time since the visit of Derby County to this arena back in August.
Lennon's curling shot after a Keane-Berbatov combination just failed to result in a shooting chance in the opening stages, before a period of slick interchange had the Wigan defence marking shadows and only a couple of fortunate deflections prevented likely profit.
It took until only the 13th minute for the deadlock to be broken and it was Keane who brilliantly skipped past Andreas Granqvist on the left before dispatching a low centre that evaded Chris Kirkland and was prodded home by Jenas. Cue the baby rocking celebration, since the goalscorer last week became father to a baby girl.
A long ball from Michael Dawson was then nodded into the path of Keane by Berbatov, but the leading scorer has not quite found his range at that point. Dawson was later not too far wide with a big flick on from a Jenas corner.
JJ doubled the advantage with the clock showing 25 minutes. Berbatov superb threaded throughball was left by the offside Keane and the midfielder sped onto the pass, rounded Kirkland and applied a finishing touch in front of goal. It was goal No.3 of the season for the athletic middleman. Fatherhood clearly suits.
Berbatov was the class act of the half and none more so then when he plucked Paul Robinson's long clearance out of the air in the Wigan area and calmly laid the ball back into the path of Lennon. Not known for trying his luck from distance, the winger took a touch before steering firmly past Kirkland from around 20 yards.
The spark was well and truly back in the side, they were hunting in packs, defending in numbers, while the football was slick and efficient. Wigan, by contrast, looked all at sea.
Just before the break Jenas should have completed his hat-trick. Brilliant approach play from Berbatov and Lennon set him off and running into the area before beating a couple of defenders and looking like the easy bit was to come. The net did rattle, but it was the side netting.
It remained one-way traffic at the beginning of the second half, one which saw an early entry for Teemu Tainio as a replacement for the injured Malbranque.
Wigan attempted to rally but were being consistently picked off by the poise of Berbatov, the pace of Lennon and the waspish attentions of Keane. To try and address the balance, caretaker boss Frank Barlow introduced the tenacious Michael Brown.
Jenas then thought he had his third with a superb lift over Kirkland from Keane's supply line, but was offside along with Berbatov. Shortly after the applause were huge when Keane made was for Darren Bent.
Lennon forced Kirkland into a stooping low save after a darting run, but we didn't have to wait too much longer for the score to be added to. Berbatov again was in creative mode, picking out the run of Jenas who, in turn, located Bent on the run. The sub took the ball to the right of the area before firing across Kirkland and in off the post. Bent later went for power and was too far adrift when Berbatov once more set up a chance.
It was that sort of afternoon, you even suspected Didier Zokora might just get in on the scoring act and he nearly did - his surging run and shot forcing a fine save out of Kirkland. Berbatov next hit the underside of the bar and Younes Kaboul did likewise with the follow-up in a game that saw confidence restored to the mindset of seemingly each and every player.