WIGAN ATHLETIC (0) v/s TOTTENHAM (3)
FORGOTTEN man Roman Pavlyuchenko reminded manager Harry Redknapp and suitors alike of his talent with a two-goal cameo that thrust Tottenham back in front in the scramble for fourth place. Jermain Defoe put the visitors ahead in controversial fashion but it was Pavlyuchenko, without a league start all season, who made the points safe after coming off the bench in the 73rd minute. First the Russian capitalised on a mazy run by Luka Modric to steer a low finish past Chris Kirkland before grabbing a second from a tight angle when the goalkeeper saved his header.
Pavlyuchenko has made no secret of his desire to leave White Hart Lane, with former club Spartak Moscow thought to be interested, having struggled to cement a starting role since his £14m switch in August 2008. A January move failed to materialise, but surely will in the summer after Redknapp appeared to question his attitude even as he praised his brace at the DW Stadium.
“They [the fans] love him,” Redknapp said. “He has got ability and, when he wants to play and wants to work, he’s great.”
It was only Tottenham’s second win of 2010 but enough to take advantage of the stalemate between rivals Liverpool and Manchester City and reclaim the coveted fourth place.
Wigan fans must detest the sight of Defoe: the England striker hit five as Spurs drubbed the Latics 9-1 earlier in the season and looked offside when he tapped in the opener from Gareth Bale’s cross in the 27th minute.
“It should have been disallowed,” said Wigan boss Roberto Martinez. “He’s one and half yards offside. The linesman has no one in his vision.”
Redknapp joked: “I won’t sleep tonight. Sometime you get them sometimes you don’t.”