How Harry Kane and Dele Alli beat Stoke City
Tottenham produced an outstanding display to thrash Stoke and move five points behind leaders Leicester with four games of the season remaining.
Harry Kane’s sublime curling finish, his 23rd Premier League goal of the season, set them on their way before Christian Eriksen hit the crossbar.
Dele Alli doubled the lead before he hit a post when it was easier to score.
Kane rolled in the third before Alli’s right-foot volley wrapped up Spurs’ ninth away league win of the season.
The result lifted Mauricio Pochettino’s side to 68 points from 34 matches, with Leicester on 73 from the same number of games.
Relive the action from the Britannia Stadium
Listen to BBC Radio 5 live commentary of the goals
Football Daily podcast: ‘Imperious’ Spurs will hunt Leicester down
Spurs can win Premier League title – Harry Kane ‘Leicester City – we’re coming for you’
Tottenham’s travelling fans at the Britannia Stadium chanted “Leicester City – we’re coming for you” after Alli’s chip made it 2-0.
Had Spurs lost, Leicester could have been champions next Monday, but the visitors were in control from start to finish as they turned on the style on what could be a pivotal day in the race for the title.
After the Foxes’ leading scorer Jamie Vardy was left
facing the possibility of an increased ban after being charged with improper conduct by the Football Association, Stoke were blown away by a dynamic and aggressive display as their north London opponents showed no signs of pressure.
Eriksen was involved in three of the four goals, Kane has now scored more Premier League goals than relegated Aston Villa this season, and Alli is in double figures.
Leicester’s final four matches are against Swansea (home), Manchester United (away), Everton (home) and Chelsea (away). Tottenham, meanwhile, face West Brom (home), Chelsea (away), Southampton (home) and Newcastle (away).
Tottenham have the best attack (64 goals) and the best defence (25 conceded) in the Premier League this season and there is a feeling their title charge is gathering momentum at the right time.
Here are the title permutations:
Leicester need a maximum of eight points from their remaining four games to win the title.
The earliest Leicester could conceivably win the title is at Old Trafford when they face Manchester United on 1 May – but only if results go their way next weekend.
Kane and Alli on the prowl… again
Leicester dropped points against West Ham on Sunday, Kane used Instagram to post a picture of prowling lions waiting to pounce.
It ought to have sent an ominous warning to Stoke’s defenders, who simply could not handle the England striker and Alli.
Kane set Spurs on their way from the edge of the area after Mousa Dembele breezed past several challenges, before Alli’s chip doubled the lead following Eriksen’s delicious pass.
Kane made it 24 top-flight goals this season by connecting with Erik Lamela’s cross before Alli put the gloss on a rampaging performance with a sweetly struck volley from Eriksen’s cross.
Dele Alli and Harry Kane (above left) had 13 shots against Stoke, including four goals. In contrast, Stoke’s attacking trio of Bojan, Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri managed four. Ball = goal, green = on target, red = off target, yellow = blocked
But it was not all plain sailing for the 20-year-old England midfielder.
At 2-0 he produced an astonishing miss after rounding Shay Given, who was making his Premier League debut for Stoke two days short of his 40th birthday.
From almost point-blank range he rolled the ball against the post instead of into the net – and Pochettino fell to the ground in disbelief before twice punching the surface with his fist.
Yet the evening was to end in smiles for the Argentine after a stellar performance by his team, with the manager later admitting he was a “little embarrassed” by his reaction to Alli’s miss.
Learning from the weekend’s controversies?
One surprising aspect from this game was the lack of contact as players lined up for corners.
On Sunday, Leicester’s 2-2 draw with West Ham featured a contentious decision by referee Jon Moss, who penalised Foxes centre-back Wes Morgan for grappling with Winston Reid.
That prompted widespread debate about players tussling at set-pieces, and it was noticeable this game was an hour old before there was any kind of contact between opposing players inside the box.
It came when Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross appeared to drag down Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld – but, unlike in Sunday’s game, no penalty was given.
Harry Kane applauds Tottenham’s travelling fans at the end of his side’s 4-0 win at Stoke Man of the match – Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)
Harry Kane and Dele Alli got the goals but Christian Eriksen was everywhere for Tottenham as he set up the second and fourth goals, hit the woodwork at 1-0, and was also involved in the build-up to the third goal What they said
Stoke City 0-4 Tottenham Hotspur: Potters were poor – Mark Hughes
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes, whose side stay ninth:
“Don’t underestimate the quality of Spurs but we were poor. We didn’t do the things we talked about before the game.
“We had a go in the second half but that played into their hands and they picked us off. We didn’t deal with them at all. We couldn’t get close to them.”
Stoke City 0-4 Tottenham Hotspur: We showed we believe – Mauricio Pochettino
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino:
“Stoke wanted to win the game and we showed personality and character.
“Maybe today is one of the performances that you feel most proud of because of the character to cope with the pressure.
“We showed hunger and passion. I have a squad of players who feel passion about the game. They deserve praise and credit for their season.”
The stats you need to know
Tottenham have lost just one of their past 16 Premier League away matches (W9 D6 L1).
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have conceded just nine goals in their past 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 has 45 Premier League goals since the start of last season, only Sergio Aguero (47) has more.
Eight of Dele Alli’s 10 Premier League goals have come away from home.
Stoke lost a Premier League home game by four goals for only the second time (0-4 v Chelsea in January 2013).
Only Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil (18) has assisted more Premier League goals than Christian Eriksen this season.
Eriksen has created 58 goalscoring chances in the Premier League in 2016, more than any other player.
Tottenham have a week to prepare before their penultimate home game of the season against West Brom on Monday, 25 April (20:00 BST).
Stoke do not have as long to wait as they travel to Manchester City on Saturday (12:45 BST).