Jermain DefoeIt takes a special type of player to score five in a game, and a special type of team to score nine—or at least, it takes some seriously disorganized opposition. Yesterday’s Premiership match between Tottenham Hotspur and Wigan Athletic ended up in a 9-1 trashing by the home side, with Jermain Defoe netting five, a result that places high amongst England’s Top-Flight records.

The Premiership has long been regarded as one of the toughest leagues in the world, and hat-tricks are rare—let alone four or five goals from one player. The last time anyone managed what Defoe did was over a decade ago, when Alan Shearer helped Newcastle to an 8-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday. It was also the first time a team has scored nine goals in one game since 1995, when Manchester United beat Ipswich 9-0, and the fastest hat-trick since Robbie Flower for Liverpool against Arsenal in 1994.

When things like this happen, the question most people ask is “Is it because they were too good, or the opposition too poor?” The answer usually lies somewhere in between, and so it does in this case. There is no denying Spurs are really giving it a go this season, but at the same time Wigan have been hammered quite decisively by a number of teams lately.

In any case, it is good news for England’s national team, as eight of the goals were scored by non-regular English players. It gives Fabio Capello food for thought, and lets him know he definitely has options for if/when England’s top stars break down at the World Cup.


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