The game got off to a scrappy and uneventful start as both sides failed to settle into their rhythm. After Sandro limped off with injury to be replaced by Gylfi Sigurdsson, which appeared as though it may have been a blessing in disguise, Spurs had their best chance of the half when a poor clearance from a corner fell to Jan Vertonghen on the edge of the area, whose dipping volley was kept out by Ali Al-Habsi. Soon after however, with Spurs' passing failing to click, a sloppy start gave way to an accomplished Wigan performance as the visitors created the best chances.
First a neat passing move put Arouna Kone through, but Brad Friedel stood his ground to make a fine save from the Ivorian. Shortly afterwards, another passing move left Shaun Maloney clean through, played onside by some shocking positioning from Kyle Walker, but once again Friedel came to Tottenham's rescue as the Scot fired straight at the American.
Tottenham were fortunate to go in with the scores level, and after half-time, still failing to get their rhythm going, they were duly punished, with Brad Friedel making a poor punch away of a Wigan corner, with the ball falling to the unmarked Ben Watson to fire home from close range.
Spurs improved around the 60-minute mark, and although a chorus of boos greeted Jermain Defoe's withdrawal for Emmanuel Adebayor, the England striker can have had no complaints, having had few touches and failed to register a shot of any description. A brief goalmouth scramble almost put Tottenham ahead after Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Jan Vertonghen all tried to find a breakthrough in the Wigan area, but the Latics defence just managed to hold firm.
Spurs continued to press, with Wigan defending increasingly deeply, and Gylfi Sigurdsson had one effort blocked, but the visitors still managed to present a threat on the counter-attack, Aroune Kone culpable for not releasing the run of James McCarthy, which could have finished the game on the 80 minute mark. Shortly afterwards, on another break, clumsy defending gave Wigan a free-kick outside the Tottenham area which Figueroa blazed just wide of the top corner.
Spurs became increasingly desperate for an equaliser, and a lack of composure and patience began to cost them, with Gareth Bale culpable of crossing far too early and hastily on several occasions, with Ali Al-Habsi putting in an accomplished performance to command his area. Wigan continued to enjoy counter-attacks, but Spurs were given a boost when the fourth official awarded 5 minutes of injury time.
Despite the opportunity, Wigan did not come under too much more pressure. Gareth Bale curling a free-kick wide was the biggest event of the rest of the game. The final whistle did not greet the expected chorus of boos - probably due to Tottenham's vastly improved performance in the final 30 minutes, tellingly since Adebayor's introduction - but André Villas-Boas is still working to convince the White Hart Lane crowd that his project is moving forward. His opposite number long ago convinced his supporters of that, and today's victory will be yet further confirmation.