Five goals for Defoe as Spurs stun Wigan 9-1
Tottenham 9 Wigan 1
Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe scored five times to send his side back into the Champions League places as Harry Redknapp's men threatened to rack up double figures against Wigan at White Hart Lane.
Paul Scharner appeared to handle when he grabbed Wigan's goal but there was no handball controversy as Defoe was in such rampant form, with Aaron Lennon, Peter Crouch, David Bentley and Niko Kranjcar grabbing the other goals.
The clash was played on a Sunday following an agreement between the clubs so players could rest after the international break - and Defoe seemed the freshest of the players on display by grabbing his goals in the second half.
It takes his tally to 15 for Spurs and England this season and it means his club have scored more than five goals in five matches during the current campaign.
They were his first goals too since his needless dismissal against Portsmouth last month, which Spurs boss Redknapp criticised him for.
Redknapp will also be encouraged by his team looking more balanced following the return of England winger Lennon after missing three matches with an ankle injury.
Croatia midfielder Kranjcar was on the other flank, meaning Redknapp ditched his recent diamond formation and started with Robbie Keane on the bench following his World Cup efforts with Republic of Ireland last week.
Keane returned from international duty drained earlier in the season and after Thierry Henry's infamous handball for France earlier this week, Redknapp had been debating whether his skipper was mentally and physically ready to start.
Instead, he went with Crouch and Defoe in attack and it did not take long for them to get in their stride.
Wilson Palacios, making his first appearance against Wigan since leaving the club in January, started the move for the ninth-minute opener by feeding Lennon on the right, with the England winger sending over a gorgeous cross between goalkeeper Chris Kirkland and centre-back Titus Bramble. Crouch was at the back post to head home.
Lennon almost added a second immediately after creating the opener, forcing Kirkland to save his volley on the rebound after Emmerson Boyce cleared off the line to deny Defoe.
Kirkland also saved from Palacios at full stretch after a 25-yard drive, while Wigan's response was a volley from Mohamed Diame that flew wide.
Wigan had not won in London since 2006 when they defeated West Ham - and the threat Spurs posed meant it appeared unlikely they would break that run. Tom Huddlestone was the next to go close, with a drive that shaved Kirkland's post.
The visitors, however, kept looking for the counter-attack and Jason Scotland forced Heurelho Gomes to save at his near post after former Spurs full-back Erik Edman fed him the ball on the edge of the area. Charles N'Zogbia also went just over with a curling effort and got closer with a free-kick.
Defoe struck the bar before the break, then burst into a scoring frenzy after the restart.
The first came from another Lennon cross, with Defoe getting in front of Bramble and crashing his finish into the roof of the net. His second strike came after Palacios' ball forward was totally missed by Boyce, with Defoe keeping his cool to finish slot his finish into the far post.
Then came Scharner's moment of controversy. Hugo Rodallega crossed the ball from the left and the Austrian midfielder clearly used his hand to control before lashing past Gomes and into the roof of the net.
The Spurs bench were furious with referee Peter Walton for letting the goal stand - but Defoe restored the three-goal cushion with his hat-trick straight away.
Lennon crossed again and this time Defoe volleyed home at the near post, meaning he wrapped up his treble in just seven minutes - still short of Robbie Fowler's record when the Liverpool favourite struck in under five.
Lennon added the fifth himself after Crouch smuggled the ball out to his team-mate from a congested penalty area, with the winger angling his finish into the far post.
Defoe, in full flow now and demanding the ball, grabbed his fourth 21 minutes from the end by latching on to Vedran Corluka's ball and firing home off the post.
His fifth came after a mistake by Edman, with Defoe finishing through Kirkland's legs. Bentley's free-kick accounted for the eighth goal, his effort going in off the bar. Kranjcar's goal, the ninth, also went in off the woodwork.
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