Tottenham 3-1 Wigan

By Jamie LillywhiteBBC Sport
Gareth Bale scores Tottenham's first goal
Bale acrobatically opens the scoring at White Hart Lane

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.

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."

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