Friday 9 December 2016

Kane's brace keeps Spurs juggernaut bounding towards top of table

Tottenham 4-1 West Ham

Jason Burt

Published 23/11/2015 | 02:30

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane (right) shoots wide of the mark, under pressure from West Ham United's Aaron Cresswell (left) during the Barclays Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 22, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Tottenham. Photo credit should read: Nigel French/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or
Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane (right) shoots wide of the mark, under pressure from West Ham United's Aaron Cresswell (left) during the Barclays Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 22, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Tottenham. Photo credit should read: Nigel French/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Football - Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United - Barclays Premier League - White Hart Lane - 22/11/15 West Ham's Diafra Sakho in action with Tottenham's Kyle Walker Reuters / Toby Melville Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Football - Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United - Barclays Premier League - White Hart Lane - 22/11/15 West Ham manager Slaven Bilic Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Football - Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United - Barclays Premier League - White Hart Lane - 22/11/15 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Maybe Harry Kane really is a 'one-season wonder' - one who will leave us wondering from one season to the next just how far he can go. "He's one of our own," is the Tottenham Hotspur song and how Kane loves a London derby.

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The statistics impress: 12 goals in 14 derby games; eight goals in his past five Spurs matches; no player has more Premier League goals (24) in 2015. So much for struggling to score.

Kane has, undoubtedly, played even better this campaign than the last, when he made that extraordinary breakthrough and claimed 31 goals. This time last season he had 11. Now he has 12 goals for club and country. It is 44 in 95 games for Spurs overall.

Kane, 22, scored two and could - should - have claimed a hat-trick. But, more than the goals, he played like a man possessed.

Possessed, along with his Spurs team-mates, by a belief. A belief in what they are doing, how they are playing; a belief in each other and their equally impressive young manager Mauricio Pochettino.

The Hammers have won at Arsenal, at Manchester City, at Liverpool and have been fantastic under new manager Slaven Bilic. This felt like a blip and their game-plan unravelled here.

They missed the injured Dimitri Payet. But Spurs were also simply irrepressible. The only blemish for them was a booking for Dele Alli, who was substituted by Pochettino after a clash with Mark Noble.

Alli will now miss next Sunday's league encounter with Chelsea through suspension having accrued a fifth caution. It is now 12 league matches unbeaten for Spurs and they are now just two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal. They are formidable contenders to qualify for the Champions League. Maybe even to achieve more. Two points off Arsenal but, also, just four points behind Leicester City, who sit on top of the league.

They are vibrant, they are brimming with belief, charged with energy. They are young. Kane, Alli, Eric Dier. All were outstanding again. Kyle Walker scored. Danny Rose played well. Even the previously ostracised Andros Townsend, punished for clashing with the fitness coach, was rehabilitated with a place among the substitutes. Most impressive of all was, probably, the revitalised Mousa Dembele, who ran the midfield from a deeper position with Alli pushed further forward.

There is, in short, so much to praise in this Tottenham team whose biggest challenge is, again, to also deal with the demands of the Europa League.

They are now off to Azerbaijan - a round trip of 5,000 miles - before they face Chelsea. Spurs scored twice in the first half, in a devastating 10-minute spell - but also struck the crossbar with a header from Alli. Kane, frankly, missed a sitter as he was sent clear only to drag a shot wide.

But he scored. It came as Heung-Min Son pushed the ball inside to Alli, whose shot was blocked, but it ricocheted to Kane who rolled Carl Jenkinson, easily, to then fire high into the roof of the net.

West Ham struck the bar themselves, with an acrobatic effort from Cheikhou Kouyate. But then Spurs struck again.

A corner from Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld all too easily ran free to glance a close-range header in.

That was a defensive error. And then there was another. A loose pass by James Tomkins was intercepted by Eriksen, who strode forward and slipped the ball to Kane, who was able to shoot from the area's edge. It appeared Adrian had it covered, but the ball ran underneath him.

Spurs poured forward again, Son breaking, with Eriksen teed up. His first-time half-volley was powerful - but Adrian managed to thwart it before the goalkeeper was again beaten with Kyle Walker striding forward, playing the ball into Son who teed it up. Walker's shot, with the outside of his boot, arced around Adrian.

Finally there was a flicker of resistance. Manuel Lanzini's step-over beat Walker and his powerful shot from the tightest of angles flew past Hugo Lloris. It was the pick of the goals. But that was no consolation for West Ham.

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