Tottenham ease past Bournemouth
What more does a team have to deliver in the chase to win the Premier League title?
Another coruscating victory yesterday made it 12 successive home league wins for the first time ever in the proud and prestigious 135-year history of Tottenham.
This triumph, garlanded by goals from Mousa Dembele, Heung-Min Son Harry Kane and Vincent Janssen also made it victory in seven consecutive league matches, a feat they last achieved 50 seasons ago.
Mauricio Pochettino’s majestic side have conceded the fewest goals of any team in the Premier League in the current campaign.
They are also the highest scorers in the division with 68, equal at the top with Liverpool, even though they squandered enough chances yesterday to win several matches.
Despite all this, the gap to table-toppers Chelsea is still four points, and for the moment all Spurs can do is to exert whatever psychological pressure they can.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min both on target in Bournemouth win
Next weekend Spurs and Chelsea meet in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, recalling memories of the 1967 Final won by Tottenham. It should be a titanic and captivating showdown with The Double still at stake in both camps.
There was no doubting Pochettino’s team would win this contest yesterday, not from the moment they took the lead in the 16th minute with a well-worked corner routine.
Christian Eriksen’s cross was flicked on at the near post by Toby Alderweireld and the sloppy Bournemouth defence allowed Dembele an ocean of space in the penalty box to score with a low shot.
Three minutes later they doubled the lead. Eric Dier blocked a lazy clearance from Jack Wilshere and the ball span kindly to Kane, whose instant flick allowed Son to skip into box and score easily.
Wilshere was the butt of jeering from the home fans because of his Arsenal connections, and the England midfielder was guilty of that old sporting sin of trying too hard.
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The more he endeavoured to impress, the more errors he made. Eventually, he limped off early in the second half with an ankle injury.
Tottenham player ratings against Bournemouth Sat, April 15, 2017
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Hugo Lloris – 7
Some of Tottenham’s football was so incisive and attractive that even manager Pochettino clapping his hands in applause on the touchline — and he is a hard man to please.
The only question was how many goals Spurs could score.
Kane made it 3-0 just after the break with a lovely strike, turning a bewildered Simon Francis inside the box and scoring with a left-foot shot.
It was his 20th Premier League goal of the season, and fitting reward for a superb performance in his first start since returning from an ankle injury.
His hold-up play was excellent and his eye for the right pass or flick unerring. One dink for Eriksen on the run was simply sublime as Spurs launched wave after wave of lightning attacks.
White Hart Lane rose for a standing ovation when Kane was replaced towards the end. It was no less than he deserved.
The roar was almost as loud for the final goal in stoppage time, rammed home at the second attempt by substitute Vincent Janssen from close range.
So, it finished 4-0, but it could conceivably have been 14-0 such was the dominance of Tottenham and their cascade of opportunities created and spurned.
They had 24 shots on goal yesterday, with 14 of them on target. And that didn’t count efforts blocked at source on the edge of the area. It was a torment all game for Bournemouth.
Visiting keeper Artur Boruc made a catalogue of saves, three in quick succession to deny Kane alone.
Dembele and Eriksen, both in the peak of form right now, had stinging efforts denied as well amid the barrage. At times this was the glory game so beloved of White Hart Lane legend Danny Blanchflower.
They are leaving this old stadium in scintillating fashion.
As for Bournemouth? Well, Eddie Howe’s team will prefer to forget this mauling. They are still a few points away from reaching safety from relegation, and on this evidence the final weeks of the season could still be a nervous experience for their noisy supporters.