Wednesday 20 September 2017

Kane extends hot streak to keep Spurs on Chelsea's tail

Tottenham 3-2 Everton

Deli Alli flicks the ball beyond Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles to score Tottenham's third goal at White Hart Lane Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Deli Alli flicks the ball beyond Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles to score Tottenham's third goal at White Hart Lane Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Jason Burt

It is a sign of Harry Kane's voracious hunger and desire that he could not help but express his disappointment that he did not collect another hat-trick.

"I wanted that third goal," he admitted following Tottenham's victory over Everton that reduced Chelsea's lead at the top of the Premier League to a still daunting seven points. "I should have scored," Kane added. "It would have been another match-ball."

Tottenham's Harry Kane in action with Everton's Morgan Schneiderlin Photo: Reuters / Paul Childs
Tottenham's Harry Kane in action with Everton's Morgan Schneiderlin Photo: Reuters / Paul Childs

It would have been Kane's fourth hat-trick in 10 games but, instead, he had to settle for just the two goals taking his tally to an extraordinary 14 in 12 matches in 2017 - although Spurs did need that third goal yesterday, with Dele Alli's deft injury-time strike actually proving to be decisive.

But make no mistake, Kane was the match-winner and his brilliance was summed up by his first goal. There was no real danger when he collected possession 30 yards from the Everton goal; except the danger was that he had the ball.

Half-hearted

Idrissa Gueye's challenge was half-hearted, as was Gareth Barry's attempts to block, and Kane thrashed a fierce shot that beat Joel Robles.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino gestures on the touchline during the match Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino gestures on the touchline during the match Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

It is what great players do. They score goals like that. They break the deadlock and undo even the most obdurate opposition; they seize the opportunity. And they light up the stadium.

It felt like more than just a goal. Kane did all that with his 20th-minute strike and once the ball beat Robles, and despite four other goals being scored, the result was never really in doubt.

It extended Spurs' run of successive home league wins to nine - a record in the Premier League for them - in their last season at White Hart Lane and ended Everton's sequence of nine league games without defeat.

With Chelsea facing West Ham away this evening, there is a glimmer in the title race should the league leaders suffer a surprise defeat.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said that his team are showing on the pitch that they believe they can still do it. Or at least that they can cement their place in the top four, confirm they are the best of the rest - and finally finish above Arsenal, who still have to visit here.

Much of the pre-match chat had centred on Kane, who is showing such belief and leadership that there is a growing sense he may be the next permanent England captain, and also on Romelu Lukaku, who is one is the most exciting and valuable young strikers in the Premier League.

Their worth to their respective teams is huge and although this was Kane's day, Lukaku also scored despite being superbly shackled by his Belgium team-mates Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.

This was a big test for Everton; a measure of the progress they are making and a sign of whether they can gate-crash the top six. Although manager Ronald Koeman said it was time to stay calm, he will have felt a crushing sense of disappointment at how comfortably they were quelled.

Victor Wanyama struck a post before Spurs scored their second in the 56th minute. It was a poor concession from Everton, with Robles rolling the ball out to Morgan Schneiderlin, whose short pass to Ashley Williams was sloppy, allowing Alli to steal possession and pick out Kane, who calmly slipped the ball under the keeper.

The exuberance of Pochettino's celebrations showed how much it meant and betrayed his anxiety that Spurs might let things slip.

And slip they then did, with Vertonghen, who had not put a foot wrong all afternoon, falling over with nine minutes to go to allow Lukaku a free run at goal; the Everton forward took full advantage to steer a low shot beyond the dive of Hugo Lloris.

Kane should have completed another hat-trick when he broke clear down the right. He attempted to dink the ball over the onrushing Robles but the keeper, again, did well to block.

Spurs did, finally, get that third goal in added time but just as the fans began to sing Alli's name, Everton struck back as Barkley's free-kick was turned home from close range by Enner Valencia.

Telegraph.co.uk

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