Harry Kane grabbed a brace to move top of the Barclays Premier League scoring charts and help Tottenham keep the pressure on Leicester with a 3-0 win over Bournemouth.
Kane needed only 44 seconds to find the net at White Hart Lane and the striker was on target again 15 minutes later to take his league tally to 21 for the season, before Christian Eriksen added a third in the second half.
The victory reduces the gap between Spurs and league leaders Leicester back to five points while Bournemouth remain 13th, 12 points above the relegation zone.
Kane bagged a hat-trick in Tottenham’s 5-1 win over the Cherries in October and given that treble heralded the end of a difficult start to the season for the forward, who had then scored only once in 13 previous appearances, there is some symmetry that five months on, against the same opposition, he has established himself as the league’s most lethal predator.
Kane’s 21 goals in the league means he now has two more than Jamie Vardy and is three up on Romelu Lukaku, while he also becomes only the fifth Englishman to hit 20 or more in consecutive Premier League campaigns, joining the esteemed company of Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler and Alan Shearer.
Leicester’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday meant the onus was on Mauricio Pochettino’s men to keep pace in the title race and this was an important three points given they now face Liverpool, Manchester United and Stoke in their next three games.
Bournemouth arrived on the back of three successive victories themselves but they got off to a nightmare start as Kane’s deft touch 44 seconds in sent Kyle Walker’s bending cross into the far corner of the net.
Tottenham were rampant early on and before Bournemouth could find their bearings it was two, Dele Alli picking out Kane’s forward run and the striker slotting home left-footed after 16 minutes to put his side in cruise control.
The hosts began to strut and swagger as Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld sprayed passes from one side of the pitch to the other and then Eriksen set Alli scampering with a silky flick behind his legs.
Bournemouth’s Steve Cook headed a free-kick over the bar but Tottenham were barely breaking sweat and Alli thought he had a third before half-time only for Kane, who had helped on Eriksen’s cross, to be flagged offside.
Eddie Howe made two changes at the interval, bringing on Lewis Grabban and Eunan O’Kane, but Spurs began where they had left off, Kane turning provider this time with a fizzing shot from range that Artur Boruc could only parry into the path of Eriksen, who slammed in the rebound.
Buoyant, the Spurs faithful began taunting their title rivals with chants of ‘Leicester City, we’re coming for you’ only for Bournemouth fans to respond with, ‘Leicester City, they’re top of the league’.
Alli and Eriksen could both have made the scoreline more emphatic in the latter stages but it was no matter for the home fans. Tottenham’s title challenge remains on track.