Wigan 0-3 Tottenham
Unsettled striker Roman Pavlyuchenko gave Tottenham an unexpected boost with two goals in a 3-0 win at Wigan that lifted Spurs into fourth.
The Russian ace stepped off the bench at the DW Stadium on Sunday to score his first Premier League goals of the season late in the game.
He had seemed on his way home to Lokomotiv Moscow but the move failed to come to fruition.
It was just the result Tottenham were hoping for and Jermain Defoe, who scored five goals against Wigan earlier in the campaign was also on target.
Wigan’s notorious pitch is being ripped up and Tottenham were marginally the better side in the first half in difficult conditions after heavy overnight snow.
David Bentley tried his luck for the visiting side in the 15th minute from 25 yards but goalkeeper Chris Kirkland took his chip with ease.
Then Bentley surged forward, only to see his rasping effort gathered by the goalkeeper after taking a deflection.
Wigan almost took the lead in the 22nd minute when Heurelho Gomes did well to tip over a shot from Hugo Rodallega after he played a neat one-two with Marcelo Moreno.
Defoe made Wigan suffer again in the 27th minute when he made the breakthrough.
However there was a hint of controversy about his 22nd goal of the season as he appeared to be offside when he prodded home a cross from Gareth Bale at the back post.
Wigan had been caught cold after losing possession in the middle of the park. Peter Crouch picked up the loose ball ball before releasing Kranjcar.
It was just the start Harry Redknapp was looking for and Defoe was causing Wigan problems with a his pace and movement.
Kirkland was tested a minute into the second half when he collected Crouch’s header following a corner from Bentley.
Tottenham pushed forward three minutes later and Defoe made an unsuccessful appeal for a penalty, claiming he had been clipped by Gary Caldwell.
Ledley King had been troubled by a knee injury and was forced to come off in the 52nd minute with Sebastien Bassong drafted into Tottenham’s defence.
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez then decided to go for a bit more creativity and brought on recent signing Victor Moses for Hendry Thomas four minutes later.
Moses was quickly into the action and tested Gomes after being set up by Charles N’Zogbia.
Tottenham, however, launched a swift counter-attack and Defoe rattled in a shot after 61 minutes, only to see it beaten away by Kirkland.
Wigan responded and N’Zogbia sent his effort narrowly over the bar after he had been set up by Moreno.
Back came Tottenham and Defoe sent a shot in following good work from Modric, who had stepped off the bench.
Tottenham boss Redknapp brought off Defoe in the 73rd minute to introduce Pavlyuchenko into the action.
Four minutes later they almost got a second goal when Crouch sprung the offside trap but Kirkland parried the ball to safety.
Wigan hit back and substitute Scott Sinclair’s effort was fumbled by Gomes at the post only for the goalkeeper to recover in the nick of time.
Modric then hit the post before Pavlyuchenko extended their lead in the 85th minute with a cool finish after he had been released by Modric.
The Russian then completed his brace in stoppage time at the second attempt after Kirkland had initially blocked his shot.