Tottenham Hotspur got a brace from Harry Kane and an insurance goal from Christian Eriksen and dominated Bournemouth from the opening kick, winning 3-0 at White Hart Lane and holding serve in the EPL title race. It was one of Spurs' best matches in league competition and keeps them five points behind Leicester City.
After the Dortmund Debacle™, Spurs started their best starting 11 against the Cherries, with Danny Rose and Kyle Walker rotating in at the fullback positions, Dele Alli and Mousa Dembele in the pivot, and Erik Lamela, Dele Alli, and Christian Eriksen behind Harry Kane.
The match started about as brightly as possible for Tottenham. Just 45 seconds into the match, Kyle Walker put in a pinpoint cross right to Kane's feet from the right side of the pitch. Kane one-touched it past Cherries keeper Artur Boruc and Spurs had the early lead. The goal put Kane atop the Premier League's season scoring list, and he wasn't done.
The match didn't get any better for Bournemouth. Buoyed by the early goal, Spurs kept piling on the pressure. 15 minutes after scoring the first, Kane added another to his tally. Dele Alli saw a streaking Kane and put a gorgeously weighted central through ball into the box. Kane was clinical with his shot, and Spurs lead 2-0.
Erik Lamela had a chance to make it three after Kane chipped a ball right to him in the box, but the Argentine wasn't able to get a boot to the ball and the Cherries cleared.
As good as Spurs were going forward, they were equally composed in the back. Bournemouth didn't have many chances to score, but the few counters and long-balls they attempted were easily taken care of by Toby Alderwiereld and Kevin Wimmer. Max Gradel and Steve Cook combined for a half chance that Cook headed over the bar, and Hugo had one punch off a Gradel free kick, but Spurs' defense was not tested much during the first half.
Bournemouth might have had a penalty late in the half after Dele Alli petulantly shoved Simon Francis in the box, but match official Neil Swarbrick waved play on.
Overall, it was one of the best halves of football Spurs have played all season, and they took a dominating 2-0 lead into halftime.
The second half was more of the same for Spurs: domination in possession, imperious in defense. Just five minutes into the second half, Christian Eriksen added another goal for Spurs after Kane fired a 25 yard blast that was spilled by Boruc. Eriksen was in the right place at the right time to tap in the rebound.
After the third goal, Spurs more or less took their foot off the gas. Tom Carroll came in for Christian Eriksen midway through the half, and Ryan Mason replaced Dele Alli, and Nacer Chadli (eventually) came on for Eric Dier, who avoided picking up his tenth yellow of the season (and subsequent two game suspension). Bournemouth never really threatened at any point in the second half, and Tottenham closed out the match with an easy 3-0 win, keeping them five points behind Leicester City in the race for the Premier League title.
- This just might be the best match Spurs have played all season. It was a complete performance, evident by the thumping they gave to what is a very decent Bournemouth team.
- As sexy as Alli's through-ball to Kane was for his second, take a minute and give credit to Kevin Wimmer for the hockey assist. That was a great team goal.
- It's hard to put into words how dominant this performance was. Bournemouth is not a bad team, but Spurs made them look like relegation candidates in this match.
- Nobody played poorly today. It was a great overall team performance, and I'm hard pressed to find any negatives from this win. Standout performers: Harry Kane, Kyle Walker, Dele Alli.
- Max Gradel and Adam Smith were, I think, the stand-out performers for the Cherries. I wish we hadn't sold Smith -- he's pretty good.
- Harry Kane is now the Premier League's leading goal scorer. Suck it, Vardy.
- Some tough matches coming up including at Anfield and at Stamford Bridge, but after today's match I feel super confident about Spurs' title chances. Now if we can just get the horseshoe out of Leicester's butts...