Gareth Bale of Spurs celebrates with Benoit Assou-Ekotto during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Wigan Athletic on January 31, 2012.
Tottenham Hotspur looked downright brilliant on Tuesday night against Wigan Athletic, who look very much like a relegation candidate. The final 15 minutes were a bit nervy as the team lost their concentration, partially due to some odd substitutions and partially due to their three goal lead. James McArthur's goal was a good one, but Spurs were the dominant side in the first 75 minutes and thoroughly deserved their 3-1 victory.
Gareth Bale and Luka Modric were brilliant on the night, while Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto also turned in excellent shifts. BAE was part of one unfortunate incident, however, and Spurs supporters will be hoping that he doesn't end up facing suspension for a bad tackle.
The first goal came in the 29th minute, and it felt like it had been coming for some time. Spurs were very much on the front foot and forced Ali Al-Habsi into two good saves early before they finally found the breakthrough. Modric set up the goal with a brilliant diagonal ball to Bale, who made a cut from the right wing into the box to get onto the pass. He controlled with his chest and poked the ball into the back of the net from 10 yards, giving Tottenham a 1-0 lead.
Modric found a goal of his own just five minutes later with a combination of luck and incredible skill. After the ball bounced off multiple Wigan defenders like it was in a pinball machine, it fell perfectly to Modric at the edge of the penalty area. He hit a vicious strike from 20 yards into the back of the net, doubling Spurs' lead.
Bale would complete a brace 64 minutes in with a great left-footed strike from 15 yards out, at a narrow angle from the left side of the penalty area. Though it didn't feature a spectacular run around the right back, the finish was reminiscent of his goals against Inter Milan.
McArthur pulled one back for Wigan in the 80th minute with a great chip over Brad Friedel from 12 yards, assisted by a fantastic Victor Moses pass, making the score 3-1 and setting up a frantic final 10 minutes. Incredibly, no goals would come out of the up-and-down scramble that was the end of the match, and McArthur's goal would be the last one of the match.
Going into the weekend, Spurs could be without four of the players who played in this match at worst and none of them at best. Rafael van der Vaart, Kyle Walker and Emmanuel Adebayor were all substituted due to injuries, though all left the pitch under their own power. Additionally, referee Lee Probert did not see a studs-up challenge by Assou-Ekotto on Franco di Santo, meaning he could face retrospective discipline.