Kane and Alli both strike twice as Spurs thump Stoke to close in on Leicester
Harry Kane and Dele Alli both struck twice as Tottenham thumped Stoke City 4-0 at the Britannia Stadium to move within five points of leaders Leicester City in the Premier League title race.
Kane gave Spurs the perfect start, curling the ball home from 20 yards inside the opening 10 minutes, and the Lilywhites duo both scored in a four-minute spell in the second half before Alli struck again eight minutes from time.
As well as closing the gap at the top of the table, second-placed Tottenham are now eight points ahead of both Manchester City and arch-rivals Arsenal, albeit having played an extra game than the two sides immediately behind them.
Kane’s double means he has re-established his lead at the head of the Premier League goalscoring chart, with his 23rd and 24th top-flight goals taking him two clear of Leicester’s Jamie Vardy, who is facing a ban after being sent off and then reacting aggressively in the Foxes’ 2-2 draw against West Ham on Sunday. Meanwhile, Alli’s brace took his tally to 10 goals for Spurs in his first season at the club.
Mauricio Pochettino picked the same side that had beaten Manchester United 3-0 in Spurs’ previous outing, and the visitors started brightly.
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Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela combined to free Kane and, although the striker initially got the ball stuck under his feet, he managed to get a low shot off – only to see it saved by Shay Given.
The Tottenham marksman found the net soon afterwards, however, exchanging passes with Mousa Dembele and cutting in from the left side of the box before whipping a 20-yard finish around Given and inside the far post.
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Alli had an effort blocked as Tottenham tried to ram home their early advantage, but Stoke gradually got a foothold in the game and began to create opportunities of their own.
The tricky Marko Arnautovic, who had caused Spurs problems in previous meetings, turned in the box and saw a shot deflected behind, and Lilywhites centre-back Toby Alderweireld then had to make an important intervention, getting his head to the ball to stop Geoff Cameron’s cross from reaching Bojan Krkic at the back post.
Hugo Lloris was forced into action to stop Arnautovic’s drive from the edge of the box before the Austrian headed wide, and Bojan volleyed over from just inside the box.
But Tottenham were also threatening to extend their lead. Kane put in a low cross which was just too far in front of Lamela and, in the following seconds, Kyle Walker’s shot was blocked and Dembele sent a rising 20-yard drive over the bar.
They carved Stoke open shortly before the break, with Alli backheeling Lamela’s pass into the path of Eriksen, sending the Dane clean through on goal – but he fired his shot against the crossbar.
Spurs also went close on three occasions in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Danny Rose stumbled as he tried to go around Given, having been freed by a pass from Kane, and Alli shot wastefully over inside the box before Lamela saw a powerful drive saved by Given at the near post.
The tension rose as the killer second goal failed to materialise and the Tottenham fans fretted that they would ultimately be punished for their profligacy – but Spurs then ended the contest with a quickfire double in the 67th and 71st minutes.
First Eriksen’s superb ball over the top freed Alli, who coolly lifted the ball over Given. And, although the 20-year-old endured a horrible moment moments later as he rounded Given but missed the open goal, hitting the post, it mattered not as Tottenham immediately struck again.
Eriksen led a break away from Spurs’ penalty box and Alli freed Lamela, who unselfishly squared the ball and allowed Kane to double his tally for the night.
There was still one more goal to come, eight minutes from time, as Eriksen weaved his way into the box on the left-hand side and chipped the ball into the middle to Alli, who directed a low volley into the bottom right corner.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Dier, Dembele (Mason 87), Lamela (Son 90), Alli (Chadli 84), Eriksen, Kane
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs