Unlike Tottenham, Wigan need no motivation at DW Stadium
A FIXTURE against the team propping up the Premier League table is rarely considered to be a difficult encounter, but Tottenham’s recent run of form has seemingly made it so.
Having taken just two points from a possible nine against similarly lowly Blackpool, Wolves and West Ham, the prospect of going away from home and facing a Wigan team who are desperately fighting for their league survival will not fill the travelling fans with optimism.
This supposedly routine run of games was supposed to be Tottenham’s big opportunity to surge into the top four and build a lead over Manchester City, creating some breathing space before a set of season-defining matches.
It has certainly not worked out that way and Wigan will not be accommodating hosts either.
Despite their lowly league position, the Latics will carry an extra belief into the game, having earned a crucial home win over relegation rivals Birmingham in their last outing before the international break.
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However, Spurs will be heartened though by the fact that Wigan have conceded the most home goals in the Premier League this season, as well as scoring the second fewest.
If the basement boys are to avoid the drop, they will need to address their wildly inconsistent league form.
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The performances of their young midfield pairing, James McCarthy and Manchester United’s on-loan talent Tom Cleverley, will be key in that respect – and in orchestrating Wigan’s attractive brand of football.
Manager Roberto Martinez continues to insist upon a pleasing passing style, but that could also prove to be his side’s downfall, as they have struggled to grind out results when faced with teams who are willing to disrupt their play.
The verdict: With the Champions League quarter-final trip to Madrid following just three days later, Spurs’ players may struggle to motivate themselves for an unglamorous trip to a half-filled stadium that pales in comparison with the prospect of playing the Bernabeu. And, if they lose their focus, they will be punished again.
Prediction: Wigan 1 Tottenham 1