WIGAN, February 22 – Tottenham moved into fourth place in the Premier League as Roman Pavlyuchenko's double sealed a 3-0 win at Wigan on Sunday that proved the Russian forward is no joke.Pavlyuchenko had launched a scathing attack on Harry Redknapp in the Russian media this week which included the claims that he felt like the Spurs manager was always laughing at him and had gone back on his promise to play him more often.
But, with Tottenham clinging onto Jermain Defoe’s controversial first half goal at the DW Stadium, Redknapp showed he didn’t hold a grudge against Pavlyuchenko.
He sent on the Russian for the final 17 minutes and Pavlyuchenko took the opportunity to show Redknapp that he is worthy of more playing time with two late goals to complete a victory that lifted Spurs above Manchester City and Liverpool into the final Champions League spot.
While Pavlyuchenko savoured his moment of redemption, it was Defoe, who had scored five times when Tottenham thrashed Wigan 9-1 earlier this season, who set them on the way to their second win in seven league games.
Wigan plan to replace their pitch soon as it suffers from over-use by the football and rugby league teams and the boggy conditions were exacerbated by heavy snow.
The visitors initially found it hard to get used to get surface but they gradually found some rhythm and David Bentley’s powerful effort forced Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland into action for the first time.
Wigan’s first serious threat came in the 22nd minute when Heurelho Gomes did well to tip over a shot from Hugo Rodallega after he exchanged passes with Marcelo Moreno.
But Defoe seems to love facing Wigan and he gave the Latics another moment of anguish as he opened the scoring in the 27th minute.
Peter Crouch fed Niko Kranjcar and the Croatian released Gareth Bale down the left. Bale’s low cross reached Defoe at the far post and, although the England forward looked offside the flag stayed down, allowing him to tap in his 22nd goal of the season.
Tottenham captain Ledley King was forced to come off in the 52nd minute with a knee injury and Sebastien Bassong was drafted into the defence.
Wigan striker Victor Moses, on as a second half substitute, was quickly into the action and tested Gomes after being set up by Charles N’Zogbia.
But Redknapp’s side launched a swift counter attack and Defoe drove in a fierce effort that Kirkland saved well.
Pavlyuchenko came on for Defoe with 17 minutes to play and seized the opportunity to make his point.
Spurs had to survive a rare Wigan attack when substitute Scott Sinclair’s effort was fumbled by Gomes at the post, only for the goalkeeper to recover in the nick of time.
Then Pavlyuchenko extended Tottenham’s lead in the 85th minute with a cool finish from Luka Modric’s pass.
And the Russian added his second goal in stoppage time after Kirkland had initially blocked his shot.