Sunday, November 22, 2009

Spurs Send a Message to EPL 4th Place Challengers With 9-1 Humiliation of Wigan

It was a game that made many records. Spurs' highest win in the Premiership of all time, the first time Jermaine Defoe ever scored five goals in one game, the second-fastest hat-trick in EPL history, and, most notable of all, Spurs actually sent a message to their rivals for fourth...

Defoe scored five second-half goals as Tottenham humiliated Wigan 9-1 to record their highest top-flight win. Peter Crouch had headed Spurs into the lead before Defoe went to work with his amazing tally and Niko Kranjcar, Aaron Lennon and an unlucky Chris Kirkland own-goal completed the rout.
Paul Scharner's lonely strike was the best that Wigan could muster, as Spurs went on to record the highest Premiership win since 1995.
Spurs have struggled as of late. Since Lennon's injury and Defoe's suspension, Tottenham have found it difficult to break teams down. Add Luka Modric's broken leg into the mix and Spurs were without three of their most creative and penetrative players.
Today against Wigan, Tottenham really showed that there is a growing gulf between teams that operate in the top half of the league and those below them.
By the time the referee blew his final whistle, Wigan had already given up the ghost. The game was as good as over in the 54th minute when Spurs made it 3-0, and the vast majority of Roberto Martinez's men chose then to start wondering who they were going to vote for on tonight's episode of "X-Factor."
If Simon Cowell had been in attendance, he would have derided Roberto Martinez's team for imitating real footballers.
Not that Wigan's dismal display was the real reason for the cricket score result. Spurs contributed beautifully, too.
To score nine goals in one game is something that normally only good teams can achieve.
If it was not for a man-of-the-match style display from Chris Kirkland in the Wigan goal, Spurs would have hit double figures, as the ex-England international pulled off a whole string of world-class saves.
The desire to turn off at three or four nil is normally too great for most teams, but to keep going and doing the right things until the 90th minute sends a real message out to the rest of the league, or at least to three teams in particular.
This win keeps Spurs in fourth, five points ahead of fourth place favourites Liverpool, four ahead of Manchester City, and three ahead of Aston Villa, who they play next week.
After only 13 weeks of the season it looks as if the battle for fourth will be between those four sides.
Liverpool's title challenge has sunk without a trace, but they are still more than a match for most teams in the EPL.
Manchester City may have drawn their last five games, but should they get within touching distance of fourth come January they will be expected to add another couple of signings to their growing dressing room.
Martin O'Neill's Aston Villa were all but written off after an opening day defeat to the aforementioned Wigan, but brilliant work during the summer transfer window by O'Neill has strengthened them considerably.
Tottenham were expected to launch a challenge for the Europa League at the very least this year. Good signings by Redknapp during the summer has seen Tottenham's squad be hailed by many as one of the strongest in the league, even if their first-choice XI are far from being of title challenging quality.
Spurs and Aston Villa remain the long shots of the fourth-place challengers, and in truth they will need both Liverpool and Manchester City to continue their poor run of form if either are to capitalize and gain that elusive Champions League spot.
Liverpool have now only won just once in 10 games. But that drought still sees them only five points off fourth place with their best player still to return from injury.
Manchester City are pretty much a new team, hastily assembled over the last year by Mark Hughes. City have signed some of the best talent from outside the top four that the league has to offer.
They also have the ace-in-the-deck that if things are not going to plan, Hughes can just go out and sign some more players as money is not even an barrier.
Aston Villa have neither the money of their three rivals nor the squads to match. But they do have one of the best sports-psychologist-style managers in the game in O'Neill, and he alone can bring this team to heights otherwise unheard of.
For the moment, fourth is still Liverpool's and City's to battle over. But if they slip up, Spurs won't be far behind.

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