With the pressure on and a tough environment awaiting, many expected Tottenham Hotspur to struggle on Monday. Instead, they absolutely steamrolled Stoke City. Their 4-0 win hardly tells the story -- they created twice as many big chances and were hardly bothered at the other end. The atmosphere wasn't a problem either -- Spurs' 3,000 away fans outsang the Brittania Stadium faithful all game long too.
Harry Kane got Spurs on the board in the 9th minute on an absolute wonderstrike. Mousa Dembele set up the goal with a run through midfield that beat a couple of Potters defenders before laying off to Kane, who curled a brilliant, unstoppable shot around a sea of Stoke players and Shea Given as well.
Stoke's first real threatening move came in the 27th minute when Marko Arnautovic got a clean shot off at the top of the box, but it wasn't in the corner, and Hugo Lloris looked comfortable in making a solid save.
Spurs should have extended their lead before the break, but hit the crossbar. Dele Alli set up Christian Eriksen with a gorgeous backheel, but Eriksen hit the crossbar when it looked easier to score.
Xherdan Shaqiri came off for Joselu at halftime, and for the first couple minutes of the second half, it looked like Stoke might have something to offer. But Spurs nearly scored in the 48th minute when Danny Rose ran in behind the defense, but slipped at the crucial moment. From then on, the visitors were well on top.
Alli blasted over from 15 yards in the 54th minute and Lamela had a shot saved just three minutes after that. Mauricio Pochettino got animated on the sidelines as he sensed his team needed to kill the game off, and his players finally put his mind at rest in the 67th minute.
Eriksen set up the goal, playing a pinpoint perfect ball over the top to Alli, who had found a seam in the defense. His first touch was a bit unorthodox -- off his knee -- but it fell perfectly. Alli steadied himself and placed a finish past Given, doubling Tottenham's lead. From there, the Potters seemed to give up entirely.
Alli had a horrible miss three minutes later, hitting the post after he rounded Given to reveal an open goal, but him and his teammates more than made up for it. Kane added his second just a minute later on a gorgeous direct counter-attack, started by Eriksen and set up by Lamela, who tallied the assist. Just 11 minutes after that, Alli got his second, volleying in a cross by Eriksen with perfect technique from 15 yards.
The gap between Spurs and Leicester City is now five points with four games left to play for both teams. And not only are Spurs playing their best football of the season, but Jamie Vardy's just been handed an FA charge for misconduct. The tide has turned in Tottenham's favor, and they look very capable of taking advantage.