Harry Kane struck a hat-trick as Tottenham moved second in the Premier League table with a display of total dominance against West Brom at White Hart Lane.
Spurs equalled their club record of six straight Premier League wins with ease as they set about dismantling their visitors, amassing 10 shots and 78% possession by half-time.
Kane smartly lifted Christian Eriksen’s neat through ball in off the upright, before Eriksen’s own effort went in via Gareth McAuley.
England striker Kane – who became a father this week – was a continued threat and he turned in Kyle Walker’s low cross, before completing his treble with a low finish across Ben Foster.
There was one black mark for Spurs in the form of an injury to Jan Vertonghen, which boss Mauricio Pochettino said “looks bad”.
But his side are now showing real momentum and they simply outclassed Tony Pulis’ Baggies, who stay eighth.
Mauricio Pochettino’s nine changes from the FA Cup win at Aston Villa returned Spurs to the line-up that beat league leaders Chelsea just under two weeks ago.
Understandable, then, that his side bristled with energy and confidence. Eriksen and Dele Alli bounced around in midfield; Kyle Walker and Danny Rose constantly stayed advanced from full-back.
The high positions Walker and Rose took up saw West Brom’s wide men Nacer Chadli and Matt Phillips pinned back, ensuring the away side could not escape in the early exchanges.
It broke the Baggies, who should have been more than two down at the break with Kane only finding the net once from seven first-half shots. The England striker was brilliantly denied on three occasions by Foster – who made eight saves in all.
Even against a side set up to frustrate them, Pochettino’s men never looked like they would be short of answers as they scored four goals for the third time in four league games.
There will be concern, however, over the injury to Vertonghen. He looked distraught after rolling his ankle in the second half and would appear a major doubt to face Manchester City next week.
Daddy Kane’s perfect week
“The week has been a whirlwind having a little daughter – to finish it off like this is the best way possible,” said Kane afterwards.
The 23-year-old called Tottenham’s collective display “outstanding”, and his own efforts were just that.
But Kane’s life is certainly made easier by the creative work on the flanks of Walker and Rose, and the guile and endless support running from Alli and Eriksen.
Eriksen’s impact can tend to be slightly overlooked, given the the focus on England internationals Kane and Alli, but the Dane has now created 59 chances this season – 29 more than his next most prolific team-mate.
Kane was clearly in the mood to make use of this impressive support, and might easily have scored more than three – he ended the day with 11 shots.
But there is no doubting that his ability to make space in the box offers those around him a perfect target, and he now has 62 Premier League goals – reaching 60 faster than any Spurs player has done before.
Pulis admitted his side simply “weren’t on it” at White Hart Lane and referenced the gap in class and points between seventh place in the Premier League and the top six.
The harsh truth is Kane alone bettered the entire West Brom team for touches in the opposition area.
“We need to improve and we are trying very, very hard behind the scenes to do that,” said Pulis afterwards.
January signings seem inevitable then, not that there is need for panic with such a solid top-half position.
Pulis stressed that striker Saido Berahino – linked with Stoke – does not need to be sold in order for him to recruit. But expect the Baggies to make signings, with left-back perhaps one area of concern as once again Chris Brunt was forced to fill in at White Hart Lane.
Man of the match – Harry Kane
Penalty-box Harry – The stats you need
- Kane has now scored 94% of his Premier League goals for Tottenham inside the box (58 of 62).
- The defeat for West Brom marks their joint-heaviest Premier League defeat under Tony Pulis (along with 4-0 v Manchester City in October 2016).
- The Baggies conceded more than twice in a Premier League away game for the first time since 16 January last year – 364 days ago (3-0 v Southampton).
- The past 10 Premier League goals scored by Tottenham players have been netted by Harry Kane or Dele Alli (five each).
- No player has scored more Premier League hat-tricks for Tottenham than Harry Kane (three, level with Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe).
- Only Kevin de Bruyne (nine) has provided more assists than Christian Eriksen in the Premier League this season.
‘The biggest gap to seventh’ – What the managers said
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino: “It was a great performance. We are showing a good maturity. The team learned a lot from last season and we [have] very good momentum. If you want to fight and challenge for big things we need to follow performances like Chelsea with this one.”
West Brom manager Tony Pulis: “We just weren’t on it. Spurs were very good. You have to be on it against these teams. We were miles off it and it’s disappointing. They have real quality. The top six in the Premier League this year, it could be the biggest gap ever to seventh, that’s how far ahead of the rest of us they are.”
Tottenham travel to Manchester City in a key game at the top of the table for the day’s late kick-off on Saturday. West Brom host Sunderland at 15:00 GMT.