Harry Kane at the double as Tottenham brush aside West Ham
Published 22/11/2015 | 18:01
Tottenham demonstrated their Champions League credentials with a convincing 4-1 Premier League home defeat of West Ham that exposed their London rivals as pretenders at that level.
They consistently outplayed their visitors as two goals from Harry Kane and one each from Toby Alderweireld and Kyle Walker took them within two points of joint-third-placed Arsenal and Manchester City and three ahead of sixth-placed West Ham, whose goal came from Manuel Lanzini.
Son Hueng-min returned to Tottenham's starting XI in the absence of the suspended Erik Lamela, while West Ham, for the coming three months without the injured and important Dmitri Payet, started with Andy Carroll, Victor Moses and Diafra Sakho.
Following his outstanding recent goal for England against France, much of the early attention inevitably centred on Dele Alli and the midfielder - curiously switching with Mousa Dembele from his usually-deeper position to No 10 - was central to Spurs' opening goal.
Receiving possession from Son in the 23rd minute, Alli found room to shoot from inside the area but watched as Winston Reid deflected the ball to Kane, who in one motion classily turned Carl Jenkinson before shooting with his left foot beyond goalkeeper Adrian into the roof of the net.
It could easily have already been more. With West Ham defending from a deep position amid Spurs' intensity, Christian Eriksen had previously tested Adrian with a powerful strike from midfield and the visitors' Cheikhou Kouyate, albeit from an offside position that went unnoticed, had hit the crossbar with a bicycle kick.
The momentum theirs, Spurs continued to threaten and within 10 minutes had doubled their lead. From a corner on the left, Eriksen delivered a typically-accurate, inswinging cross which Alderweireld read to routinely head in from close range.
Kane soon should have scored a third when one-on-one with Adrian after Alli's through-ball, but despite time and space the forward showed an uncharacteristic lack of composure to shoot with his weaker left foot and miss the target by considerable distance.
Had he done so, it would have been difficult to see any way West Ham could have recovered from such a half-time deficit. It said much about the inaccuracy of suggestions that they can compete with Spurs for a place in the top four when they were so visibly an inferior team.
The only chance they had came in scoring the second half's first goal, and ideally soon after the restart, but Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs are a more ruthless team than has been seen under his predecessors, and they instead swiftly sealed victory.
Maintaining their aggressive, high-paced football, they immediately attacked and then took advantage when James Tomkins thoughtlessly conceded possession with a misplaced pass to Eriksen. With West Ham's defence out of position, the midfielder played in Kane, and he atoned for his earlier error by shooting past the exposed Adrian into the bottom left corner to score his eighth goal in his past five Spurs games.
With West Ham unquestionably beaten, Walker's goal, from inside the area in the 83rd minute, resembled one more likely to be seen in training. Casually exchanging a one-two with Son that began outside the penalty box, the full-back masterfully bent the ball with the outside of his right foot into the bottom corner.
Equally casually, he then gave Lanzini possession four minutes later in defence, allowing the midfielder to run into the area and beat Hugo Lloris by finishing high inside the near left post.
Conceding will understandably have frustrated Pochettino, but while much has been said about his team's promise so far this season, on this evidence there remains more to come.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
Gary Lineker @GaryLineker
This is the most promising Spurs outfit for many a year. Pochettino has got them bang on!
Hugo Lloris: 6 (out of 10)
Kyle Walker: 7
Toby Alderweireld: 8
Jan Vertonghen: 7
Danny Rose: 7
Eric Dier: 7
Dele Alli: 6
Mousa Dembele: 8
Christian Eriksen: 7
Son Heung-min: 7
Harry Kane: 8
Ryan Mason (for Alli, 71): 6
Josh Onomah (for Son, 86): 5
Tom Carroll (for Kane, 91) 5
Carl Jenkinson: 4
Winston Reid: 5
James Tomkins: 4
Aaron Cresswell: 4
Mark Noble: 5
Cheikhou Kouyate: 6
Diafra Sakho: 5
Manuel Lanzini: 7
Victor Moses: 6
Andy Carroll: 6
Nikica Jelavic(for Moses, 63): 5
Mauro Zarate (for Carroll, 63): 6
Alex Song (for Noble, 80): 5
Harry Kane: His double means it is now eight goals in five games for the Tottenham striker, who could have had a hat-trick had he slotted a one-on-one in the first half. Undeterred, Kane managed another rousing display and looks firmly back to his best.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
La Marseillaise played out around White Hart Lane before kick-off in tribute to the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks and there was a moving show of support from the Spurs fans towards their goalkeeper and France captain Hugo Lloris. Lloris received a standing ovation from the home fans behind the goal and at full-time,expressed his gratitude by clapping all sides of the ground.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Mauricio Pochettino will be delighted with another confident display from his side and he was even afforded the luxury of resting Alli, Kane and Son in the second half, with a six-hour trip to Qarabag to come in the Europa League on Thursday. Slaven Bilic's men looked a pale shadow of the disciplined team that beat Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City earlier this season.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Dele Alli has enjoyed a brilliant start to the season but the 19-year-old was less influential playing further forward behind Kane. With Tottenham 3-0 up, he picked up a needless booking for an altercation with Mark Noble and will now miss Tottenham's game against Chelsea next Sunday.
WHO'S UP NEXT
Qarabag v Tottenham (Europa League, Thursday, 26 November)
West Ham v West Brom (Premier League, Sunday, 29 November)
Man of the match Kane said on Sky Sports: "I enjoy the atmosphere of these games, especially when we're at home. The crowd were incredible, they got right behind us, and we put in a good performance."
Tottenham have lost just once in this Premier League campaign, but Eric Dier tempered expectations.
"We're going game by game, we're not going to get excited," he said. "We're going to keep doing what we've been doing since the beginning of the season. If you ask any Spurs player, that's what they'd tell you. We'll keep on trying to perform as we've been doing, work hard, and we know that if we perform like we did today then we're going to get wins and push right at the top, so we just need to do that."
Pochettino, the Spurs boss, saluted his team's display.
"It was a high level of performance. It was fantastic, I'm very proud of the players," he said.
"The way we played today, we showed how we can play, and we need to perform like that all season.
"I never had a doubt about Harry Kane. It's difficult sometimes to score in every game but Harry is top. We have a very good squad, I'm very happy in the way we work every day."