Keepers on top as Tottenham fail to shine ahead of European adventure

Tottenham Hotspur slipped further back in their quest for a top-four finish with an uninspiring point against relegation-threatened Wigan. Harry Redknapp's team now trail Manchester City by three points.

With Gareth Bale resting his tight hamstring in a bid to make Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final trip to the Bernabéu, Tottenham's attacking threat was decidedly one-paced and their only opportunities in the opening period came from shots from range.

Jermaine Jenas's first-time effort from 20 yards out caused panic midway through the half as it momentarily squirmed out of Ali Al-Habsi's grasp, but the Wigan goalkeeper's handling was more secure in the 39th minute, when Rafael van der Vaart attempted to tease a shot into the net from the edge of the area.

There was a disturbing lethargy about the visitors ahead of their first leg against Real Madrid – their biggest match on the continent since their Uefa Cup final victory over Anderlecht 27 years ago – yet Wigan were not direct enough to expose it.

Camped inside Tottenham territory for the majority of the first dozen minutes, they failed to test Heurelho Gomes when sights of goal presented themselves. Victor Moses, who spent the week away with Nigeria, fizzed one drive narrowly over the crossbar, but lacked composure soon afterwards when Charles N'Zogbia teed up a chance on the half-hour.

Wigan, with two of their remaining seven matches scheduled at home, displayed greater urgency in the second half and the directness of N'Zogbia resulted in the Frenchman being thwarted by Gomes, low at his near post, less than a minute in.

An even better stop from Gomes, a full-length fling to his left, fingertipping the ball around the upright, prevented Tom Cleverley from curling in his second goal in two Premier League outings in the 55th minute. Half-a-dozen minutes earlier, Sébastien Bassong's outstanding block prevented Hugo Rodallega from converting from six yards out after Gomes had spilled Moses's low centre.

But the stalemate helps neither side in their bid for a happy conclusion to the season.

comments powered by Disqus