On-Son Tottenham cut gap at top
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Tottenham 4 Watford 0
Tottenham cut the gap on Premier League leaders Chelsea to four points, for a few hours at least, with another stunning display at fortress White Hart Lane.
Three goals in 11 minutes, from Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Heung-Min Son, towards the end of the first half put them on top against a Watford side who had started brightly in the spring sunshine.
And Son struck again in the second period to make it 14 home wins in a row in Premier League and FA Cup matches for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, ahead of Chelsea’s 5.30pm kick-off at Bournemouth.
After wins at Burnley and Swansea, Spurs returned to their home turf and had Harry Kane on the bench following his recovery from an ankle injury, but Victor Wanyama had to pull out after picking up an injury during the warm-up, meaning Joshua Onomah was called into the squad.
Jose Holebas forced well-again Hugo Lloris into early action to save a free-kick in the fourth minute, following a bright attacking move by the visitors.
But Son saw his left-wing cross deflected against the outside of the near post soon after, before Vincent Janssen’s shot on the turn forced a good save with his legs by Heurelho Gomes.
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Watford’s Craig Cathcart pulled a far-post effort into the side netting from an inviting free-kick and M’Baye Niang sent a 20-yard effort into the stomach of Lloris on 12 minutes.
And Spurs should have taken the lead seven minutes later when a diagonal ball from Dier found Kieran Trippier and his volleyed cross clipped a Watford defender and hit an unsuspecting Janssen on the thigh at close range and came back off the crossbar.
It was a similar story moments later as Tripper slid a low ball across the face of goal but beyond the reach of a hesitant Janssen.
Well-organised Watford kept Spurs at arms length for the next dozen minutes or so, before Alli’s moment of inspiration broke the deadlock.
Mousa Dembele produced a run through midfield and moved the ball on, despite being man-handled by Abdoulaye Doucoure, and Alli shifted inside on to his right foot and bent a superb shot around Gomes and inside the far post for his 16th league goal of the campaign.
And it was 2-0 in the 39th minute as Son probed on the left and saw his cross deflect to Dier, who drilled home his second goal in a week after making the breakthrough at Turf Moor.
Son, who had also scored at Burnley and in the stunning late comeback at Swansea in midweek, put the result beyond doubt 90 seconds before the interval as he received a pass from Christian Eriksen, turned on to his left foot, and drove a low shot beyond the right hand of Gomes, who was left fuming at his defence for backing off.
And for a brief moment at the start of the second half it looked like centre-back Jan Vertonghen was going to get in on the act when he raced on to Eriksen’s pass as Spurs countered from a Watford corner.
But the Belgian lost his footing at the end of a 50-yard dash and the home faithful had to wait a few more minutes before Son swept home Trippier’s deep cross at the far post for the fourth.
Pochettino sent Kane on for Janssen with an hour gone, to help the England striker gain some match fitness after four weeks on the sidelines, with the big FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea only a fortnight away.
And Kane got a sight of goal on 70 minutes following another fine pass from Trippier, shuffling around Gomes inside the box but seeing his effort cleared by a recovering defender.
Dembele made way for Moussa Sissoko for the final quarter of an hour, with the susbtitute’s driving run setting up a chance for Trippier to whip a delightful cross just beyond the forehead of Kane at close range.
And it should have been 5-0 on 81 minutes when Kane unselfishly teed up Son just inside the box, but his hopes of a hat-trick were dashed as his sidefooted effort went wide of the post.
Son got another sighter four minutes later as Trippier played a clever ball into the box from the right touchline, only to see his half-volley glance off the face of the crossbar and away.
And he was replaced by Onomah with two minutes remaining, getting a hug and quiet word from Pochettino, no doubt along the lines of “Well done, my Son.”
There was still time for Kane to rattle the crossbar with a 30-yard free-kick from the last action of the match as Spurs were left smiling in the north London sunshine.
Spurs: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele (Sissoko 75), Son (Onomah 88), Alli, Eriksen, Janssen (Kane 60). Unused subs: Walker, Nkoudou, Wimmer, Lopez.