Harry Kane and Dele Alli both scored twice as Tottenham thrashed Stoke City 4-0 at the Britannia Stadium to cut the gap on Premier League leaders Leicester City to five points.
Claudio Ranieri’s men had to settle for a 2-2 draw with West Ham on Sunday and Spurs capitalised to cut the deficit with four games remaining.
Kane’s sublime strike settled any early nerves in the ninth minute and Alli made it two midway through the second half.
The former MK Dons midfielder then missed an open goal, but was relieved to see Kane put the result beyond doubt soon after, while Alli made amends with a well-struck volley eight minutes from time.
The rout leaves Spurs as the highest scoring team in the top flight and they also boast the best defence, while Stoke’s top-six hopes now look to have been dashed after a third home game in a row without a win.
Mauricio Pochettino did not make any changes to the Spurs team that beat Manchester United so comfortably last time out, while home boss Mark Hughes gave Shay Given the nod ahead of Jakob Haugaard and dropped Peter Crouch in favour of the returning Marko Arnautovic.
Kane should have opened the scoring early on after a sublime throughball from Erik Lamela, but the England international’s first touch let him down and Given eventually denied the striker.
There was no stopping Kane just before the 10-minute mark, though. Mousa Dembele set up the Spurs striker on the edge of the area down the left and he cut inside before beating Given with a curled shot into the far corner.
Stoke slowly grew into the game following a difficult start, with Arnautovic testing Hugo Lloris after dancing past Toby Alderweireld, while Bojan Krkic fired over the crossbar from a dangerous position.
Spurs continued to threaten on the counter-attack, though, and Dembele came close to doubling his side’s lead with a powerful long-range strike that only just missed the top corner.
Christian Eriksen was unfortunate not to make it two for the visitors shortly before the break, his effort after a brilliant flick from Alli hitting the crossbar before being cleared to safety.
Geoff Cameron did well to muscle Danny Rose off the ball when he attempted to round the Given early in the second half, effectively preventing another Spurs goal.
The visitors kept on pushing hard to extend their lead and Lamela should have made it two after some good work from Kyle Walker down the right, only for Given to show his class with a fine near-post save.
Spurs eventually got their second goal courtesy Alli in the 67th minute. Eriksen set up the young midfielder with a sublime pass and he coolly lifted the ball over Given to double the London club’s lead.
Alli appeared to be on his way to his second goal of the evening just minutes later, only to strike the post with the goal gaping.
Kane had an even simpler chance in the 71st minute and his finishing was not found wanting as he netted his 24th top-flight goal of the season with a tap-in after being set up by Lamela.
A second brace of the night was confirmed in the closing stages as Alli confidently steered home Eriksen’s cross to underline a strong message of intent from a Spurs side still very much in the title race.
Key Opta Stats:
– Tottenham have lost just one of their last 16 Premier League away matches (W9 D6 L1).
– Mauricio Pochettino’s side have conceded just nine goals in their last 13 Premier League matches on the road.
– Tottenham scored four or more goals in a Premier League away game for only the 14th time in the competition’s history.
– Harry Kane (24) has scored more Premier League goals than Aston Villa this season.
– Stoke lost a Premier League home game by four goals for only the second time (0-4 versus Chelsea in January 2013).