Harry Kane struck twice while Heung-Min Son and Christian Eriksen were also on target as Tottenham thumped Everton 4-0 at Wembley and closed in on a top-four spot. Here are five talking points:
- Kane becomes Tottenham’s all-time leading Premier League goalscorer
The Spurs striker had scored twice in his two previous matches against Everton, and he kept the pattern going with another brace this evening.
Having tapped home from Son’s cross in the 47th minute, he went on to repeat the feat in the 59th minute, this time prodding in from Eric Dier’s delivery.
AS IT HAPPENED: Tottenham v Everton
Kane’s latest strikes secured another piece of history – he is now Spurs’ all-time leading goalscorer in the Premier League era, with his haul of 98 goals eclipsing Teddy Sheringham’s total of 97.
The 24-year-old continues to reach personal landmarks at an unrelenting pace and, if he remains at Tottenham and avoids serious injuries, he looks certain to challenge Jimmy Greaves’ record of 266 goals in all competitions for the club.
In the meantime, Kane is also on course to win his third consecutive Premier League golden boot, with this double taking him to 20 top-flight goals for the season – three ahead of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
2. Son makes it five in a row at Wembley
Spurs have potent threats throughout their in-form front four at the moment, and it was Son who netted the opener in the 26th minute, finishing off Serge Aurier’s low cross-shot at close range.
The South Korean has now scored in each of the last five Premier League home games, becoming the first Spurs player to do so since Jermain Defoe in 2004.
Son was clearly aware of his achievement and he held up five digits as he wheeled away in celebration.
This was also his seventh goal since the start of December and his 11th of the campaign overall – and he did not stop there against Everton.
The 25-year-old went on to set up Kane’s first goal and then play a key part in Christian Eriksen’s strike, which made it 4-0, while also hitting the post and going close on a couple of other occasions.
This was a sublime performance and, at times, Son looked virtually unplayable as he tore at the Everton back line time and again in the second half.
Meanwhile, Aurier justified his status as Pochettino’s first-choice right-back with his latest assist. The Ivorian took a few months to find his feet in north London but now looks the part and is also providing a consistent threat in the final third.
3. Eric Dier is selected ahead of Victor Wanyama
Harry Winks may have been out of action but Mauricio Pochettino still faced something of a selection dilemma in central midfield, with Mousa Dembele, Dier, Wanyama and Moussa Sissoko to choose from.
The big question was whether Wanyama would start his first league game since August and, if so, whether his selection would come at Dier’s expense.
Both players were key men last season – Wanyama started 35 of the 38 top-flight fixtures, while Pochettino rarely omitted Dier in the second half of the campaign, finding a role for him either in midfield or as a third centre-back.
Pochettino had the option of pairing them together in midfield today, or switching from a 4-2-3-1 system to a 5-3-2 formation, moving Dier back into the rearguard.
But both strategies would have looked rather reserved and defensive against an Everton side who were expected to sit back, challenging Spurs to break them down.
The smart move seemed to be to pick Dembele, due to his ability to beat opponents in tight areas and create space, while choosing either Dier and Wanyama alongside him – which is precisely what Pochettino did.
He chose Dier, leaving Wanyama in the unusual position of being on the bench for a league fixture despite being fully fit.
If Pochettino continues to feel – probably rightly – that there is only room for one of the two players in his side then it could be an interesting battle in the short-term, and an area where Spurs’ manager can rotate with real confidence when the schedule gets busier again.
4. Dembele provides a reminder of his value
The Belgian has been below par for much of this season, with his various foot, hip and groin injuries seemingly taking their toll.
There has been an increasing concern that he may never recover his best form and, if an offer in excess of £10million had arrived in the opening fortnight of this January transfer window, a number of fans would probably have recommended that it was accepted, reluctantly saying goodbye.
They may well have changed their minds today, however. Dembele showed that Pochettino was absolutely right to pick him and that, when he is fit, he can be a real asset.
The 30-year-old can be a little ponderous in possession at times but he was positive from the start here, running at Everton to commit visiting players while also passing the ball between the lines astutely, finding Kane and Dele Alli around the edge of the box.
He showed off his strength too, beating Cenk Tosun in the first half despite seemingly being trapped against the touchline and being fouled. Then, early in the second half, he hared back behind his defenders to shrug the Turkish forward off the ball.
On this evidence, Dembele has plenty more to offer.
5. Spurs capitalise on Chelsea’s disappointment and move level with Liverpool
This was a valuable victory for the Lilywhites, who will survey the league table tonight with increasing positivity.
Tottenham started the day three points behind fourth-placed Liverpool in the battle for Champions League qualification, but they are now level with the Reds on both points and goal difference.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have a game in hand, but that comes against runaway leaders Manchester City on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Chelsea were held to a goalless draw by Leicester on Saturday afternoon so Spurs are now just three points behind the third-placed Blues.
Fourth place need not be the extent of their ambitions in the league.
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