Tottenham revived their Premier League campaign with a comfortable victory at White Hart Lane, as Wigan remained rooted to the foot of the table.
The visitors had early moments of promise but Gareth Bale chested down Luka Modric's sublime crossfield pass to volley Spurs ahead from 10 yards.
The influential Modric made it two with a powerful 20-yard shot on the turn.
After a quiet spell in the second half, Bale found the bottom corner, before James McArthur chipped a consolation.
The closing minutes might have been less straightforward for Spurs had substitute Conor Sammon not failed to make contact with a Ronnie Stam cross from the right when in front of goal inside the six-yard box.
But although casual on occasions, the Lilywhites demonstrated more than enough quality to deserve their victory, ending a run of two league matches without a win and moving within five points of the leaders.
As expected, Spurs dominated possession from the outset, although in the opening half-hour their best chances were two Younes Kaboul headers from corners, one smartly pushed aside by Ali Al Habsi, the other cleared off the line by James McCarthy.
Unlike many visitors to N17 this season, Wigan were not simply content to defend their goal.
Gareth Bale credits Luka Modric influence
Franco Di Santo was a fraction away from making contact with a Stam cross that would surely have put his team ahead, while Victor Moses drifted through the heart of the Spurs defence and threaded a pass to Jordi Gomez in space, but he could not control the ball.
However with Tottenham's array of talent a goal for the home side was always likely.
Superb vision from Modric picked out Bale, who ghosted in from the right, controlled the pass and hooked a volley beyond Al Habsi for his 13th goal of the season.
Bale might have had a second before the break, collecting a delightful ball from Niko Kranjcar in his stride and forcing Al Habsi to push away his angled shot.
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Wigan have played in the Premier League since 2005
But Modric soon obliged, fortunate to collect a ricochet but clinical in dispatching into the bottom corner.
With Spurs in irresistible form going forward, more goals looked inevitable in the second half.
Emmanuel Adebayor headed over from Bale's cross soon after the resumption, but as their team frequently lapsed into lackadaisical mood the Spurs faithful were anxious for more of the first-half inventiveness to warm them up on a biting night in north London.
Sure enough it came from the cultured left boot of the effervescent Bale who, despite his path to goal being blocked by several defenders, sent an unstoppable shot from the edge of the area across Al Habsi and into the bottom corner.
Wigan's misfortune frustrates Martinez
As with Rafael Van der Vaart and Kyle Walker, Adebayor fell victim to injury, leaving the field with a sore hamstring, and with Jermain Defoe absent because of a similar problem, his departure handed 19-year-old London-born trainee Cameron Lancaster a debut.
There was an unsavoury note as Benoit Assou-Ekotto felled Di Santo with a wild challenge, the Tottenham full-back hugely fortunate to escape even a yellow card when his studs caught the striker high on the shin and forced him out of the match.
The visitors continued to press and, after being freed by Moses, McArthur clipped over Brad Friedel from just inside the area to give his team hope.
Stam was causing increasing problems for Spurs down the Wigan right but although they could not take advantage here, Latics boss Roberto Martinez will retain confidence that his team - who avoid the big clubs in their next six games - can yet fight their way out of the relegation zone.
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp:
"I've been sitting down all week. I kept dancing around like a two-year-old!
"It was nice to get on my feet again. The fans were great - I appreciated it.
"I am happy. We're back up there again. I keep looking at the gap behind us. We're 13 points ahead of Arsenal now - it's a nice lead.
"Bale was terrific tonight. He is an amazing talent. He's unstoppable when he's like that."
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez:
"In the second-half we created a lot of joy in the attacking third and with a bit of luck could have had more goals, but our first-half performance wasn't good enough.
"I think it was a definite red card and we are very fortunate he's [Di Santo] only got a minor injury. A red card would have given us more momentum.
"I do think we deserved a lot more but in the next 15 games we need to perform in the manner we did in the second-half."
Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.
90:00 +3:35 Booking
Booking The referee books Albert Crusat for unsporting behaviour.
Foul by Albert Crusat on Scott Parker, free kick awarded. Indirect free kick taken by Luka Modric.
The ball is crossed by Ronnie Stam, clearance made by Younes Kaboul.
Cameron Lancaster has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the goal.
Gareth Bale takes a shot. Save by Ali Al Habsi.
The ball is delivered by Jean Beausejour, clearance made by Scott Parker.
The ball is crossed by Albert Crusat, save by Brad Friedel.
Ronnie Stam crosses the ball, Strike from close range by James McArthur clears the bar.
Gareth Bale has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the target.
Conor Sammon sends in a cross, Raniere Sandro manages to make a clearance.
Ronnie Stam produces a cross, Brad Friedel makes a save.
Substitution Albert Crusat is brought on as a substitute for Ben Watson.
Effort from outside the penalty area by Scott Parker goes wide left of the goal.
Gareth Bale takes a shot. Ali Al Habsi makes a save.
Cameron Lancaster produces a cross, clearance by Maynor Figueroa.
Ronnie Stam produces a cross.
Assist on the goal came from Victor Moses. James McArthur concedes a free kick for a foul on Scott Parker. Free kick taken by Jake Livermore.
79:58 Goal scored
Goal! - James McArthur - Tottenham 3 - 1 Wigan James McArthur scores a goal from inside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Tottenham 3-1 Wigan.
Ronnie Stam sends in a cross.
Substitution Cameron Lancaster comes on in place of Emmanuel Adebayor.
Ben Watson takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
The ball is swung over by Jean Beausejour, Jake Livermore manages to make a clearance.
Conor Sammon fouled by Raniere Sandro, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Ben Watson.
Substitution Kyle Walker goes off and Raniere Sandro comes on.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Jean Beausejour on Scott Parker. Luka Modric takes the free kick.
Substitution Conor Sammon comes on in place of Franco Di Santo.
Maynor Figueroa sends in a cross, Benoit Assou-Ekotto manages to make a clearance.
Substitution James McArthur on for Jordi Gomez.
James McCarthy takes a shot. Ledley King gets a block in.
The assist for the goal came from Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
63:36 Goal scored
Goal! - Gareth Bale - Tottenham 3 - 0 Wigan Gareth Bale finds the back of the net with a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Tottenham 3-0 Wigan.
The ball is crossed by Victor Moses, Younes Kaboul makes a clearance.
Franco Di Santo challenges Niko Kranjcar unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Niko Kranjcar.
Maynor Figueroa challenges Niko Kranjcar unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Gareth Bale from right channel, Jean Beausejour manages to make a clearance.
Jordi Gomez takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
The assistant referee signals for offside against Emmanuel Adebayor. Gary Caldwell takes the indirect free kick.
Ronnie Stam takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
The ball is sent over by Ronnie Stam, Younes Kaboul makes a clearance.
The ball is sent over by Jean Beausejour, clearance made by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
Victor Moses takes a shot. Blocked by Scott Parker.
Centre by Victor Moses.
Shot from just outside the box by Victor Moses goes over the crossbar.
Ronnie Stam sends in a cross, clearance made by Kyle Walker.
Gareth Bale produces a cross, Gary Caldwell manages to make a clearance.
Ronnie Stam delivers the ball, clearance by Niko Kranjcar.
Centre by Gareth Bale, Emmanuel Adebayor produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.
James McCarthy concedes a free kick for a foul on Luka Modric. Luka Modric restarts play with the free kick.
The second half begins.
45:00 +2:08 Half time
Half Time The half-time whistle blows.
Jordi Gomez fouled by Jake Livermore, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Gary Caldwell.
Jake Livermore takes a shot. Save made by Ali Al Habsi.
Gareth Bale takes a shot. Blocked by Gary Caldwell.
Jordi Gomez fouled by Scott Parker, the ref awards a free kick. Ben Watson takes the direct free kick.
33:36 Goal scored
Goal! - Luka Modric - Tottenham 2 - 0 Wigan Goal scored by Luka Modric from the edge of the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Tottenham 2-0 Wigan.
Foul by Emmanuel Adebayor on Gary Caldwell, free kick awarded. Gary Caldwell restarts play with the free kick.
Gareth Bale takes a shot. Save made by Ali Al Habsi.
Luka Modric fouled by Ben Watson, the ref awards a free kick. Luka Modric takes the indirect free kick.
Substitution Rafael Van der Vaart goes off and Jake Livermore comes on.
James McCarthy produces a right-footed shot from long range which goes wide right of the target.
Assist by Luka Modric.
28:08 Goal scored
Goal! - Gareth Bale - Tottenham 1 - 0 Wigan Gareth Bale scores a goal from close range low into the middle of the goal. Tottenham 1-0 Wigan.
Centre by Gareth Bale, Ali Al Habsi makes a save.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto produces a cross, Emmerson Boyce manages to make a clearance.
The offside flag is raised against Victor Moses. Free kick taken by Younes Kaboul.
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Rafael Van der Vaart from the left by-line, Younes Kaboul takes a shot. James McCarthy gets a block in.
Niko Kranjcar takes a shot. Blocked by Emmerson Boyce.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto delivers the ball, clearance by Ronnie Stam.
Franco Di Santo has an effort at goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.
Niko Kranjcar takes a shot. Ali Al Habsi makes a save.
The official flags Emmanuel Adebayor offside. Emmerson Boyce takes the free kick.
The ball is sent over by Kyle Walker, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Emmanuel Adebayor misses to the right of the target.
Niko Kranjcar gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ronnie Stam. Indirect free kick taken by Emmerson Boyce.
Luka Modric produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.
Niko Kranjcar takes a shot. Blocked by Maynor Figueroa. Corner taken by Rafael Van der Vaart from the left by-line, Younes Kaboul produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand post.
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Luka Modric, Jean Beausejour makes a clearance.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto sends in a cross, Maynor Figueroa makes a clearance.
Centre by Ronnie Stam, save by Brad Friedel.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto challenges Franco Di Santo unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Gary Caldwell.
The ball is swung over by Gareth Bale, clearance made by Jean Beausejour.
Gareth Bale sends in a cross, Emmerson Boyce makes a clearance.
Unfair challenge on Jean Beausejour by Niko Kranjcar results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Maynor Figueroa.
Corner from the left by-line taken by Luka Modric, Younes Kaboul takes a shot. Save by Ali Al Habsi.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto crosses the ball, clearance made by Victor Moses. Inswinging corner taken by Rafael Van der Vaart from the right by-line.
The ball is crossed by Kyle Walker, Maynor Figueroa makes a clearance.
Gareth Bale delivers the ball, save by Ali Al Habsi.
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