Goals from key duo Son Heung-min and James Maddison sent Tottenham back to the Premier League summit with a professional 2-0 win over Fulham.
Spurs had claimed top spot before the international break, but watched rivals Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool all leapfrog them across the weekend to raise the stakes of Monday’s London derby.
Fulham proved no match for Ange Postecoglou’s resurgent team and after Son grabbed his seventh goal of an impressive season in the 36th minute, he turned provider after half-time with an assist for partner in crime Maddison.
It was the latest example of the pair combining and a further nod to the present with Son’s once-famed partnership with Harry Kane, now of Bayern Munich, fast becoming a distant memory.
Next up for Postecoglou’s pace-setters is a trip to Crystal Palace on Friday where they could extend their lead at the top to five points with another win.
This was Spurs’ first home match since the Israel-Hamas conflict started and a moment’s silence occurred before kick-off for the innocent civilians killed, during which several Israeli flags were held up by supporters in different areas of the stadium.
Tottenham were without the suspended Yves Bissouma, which meant Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg earned his second start of the season.
Hojbjerg’s other start was the Carabao Cup shoot-out defeat to Fulham in August, but the hosts quickly set about correcting the only blot on Postecoglou’s near-perfect copybook in N17.
Visiting goalkeeper Bernd Leno was alert in the second minute to deny Son after a trademark Maddison through ball before Micky van de Ven hooked over from a free-kick soon after.
While Spurs’ ascent to first had seen them score 18 times in eight matches, they had also tightened up defensively and summer recruit Guglielmo Vicario demonstrated his class with a crucial stop in the 11th minute.
A corner from Andreas Pereira picked out Joao Palhinha, but his towering header was brilliantly tipped away by Vicario’s left glove.
One-time Tottenham loanee Carlos Vinicius sent a header wide not long after before Postecoglou’s men started to turn the screw.
Richarlison curled wide from 20 yards following a lightning-quick counter-attack, but the breakthrough did arrive in the 36th minute through Son’s seventh goal of the season.
Van de Ven was first to the loose ball after a poor Calvin Bassey pass and touched into Richarlison, who recycled into Son’s path and Spurs’ number seven turned away from Tim Ream before he produced a sumptuous finish into the top corner.
It was a deserved opener and it could have been 2-0 moments later with Bassey first heading away with Son ready to pounce before the Tottenham captain back-heeled to Destiny Udogie, but his shot was blocked.
There was still time for another opening when Cristian Romero played in Dejan Kulusevski, although the Swedish attacker tried to tee up Richarlison when the goal was at his mercy and Fulham survived.
Fulham boss Marco Silva made a double substitution at the break with Raul Jimenez and Alex Iwobi introduced, but the second for Spurs arrived in the 54th minute.
It was a carbon copy of the opener with Bassey’s pass out from the back intercepted by the excellent Hojbjerg and Son played through to Maddison, who coolly angled beyond Leno for his third goal of the term.
With the result almost already assured, Udogie and Pape Sarr did limp off in a concern for Postecoglou before Maddison almost made it 3-0.
Maddison led the press brilliantly and forced another error from Bassey by winning back possession, but Ream came across to block his effort.
And another strong stop by Vicario from Jimenez late on secured a fourth clean sheet this season for the early leaders.