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Goals from Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Son Heung-min (2) gave Mauricio Pochettino’s side all three points
Tottenham reduced Chelsea’s lead at the top to just four points with a stunning first-half blitz to see off Watford.
Dele Alli curled in an outstanding goal from 25 yards on 33 minutes to open the scoring. Eric Dier smashed in a second, six minutes later, from the edge of the box.
Son Heung-min added a third, a minute before the break before sliding in a fourth, nine minutes after half-time. Chelsea go to Bournemouth later this afternoon.
The goal spree came with Harry Kane on the bench. The England striker, who damaged ankle ligaments in Tottenham’s FA Cup quarter-final win over Millwall on March 12, made his shock return from injury on the hour.
Kane’s best chance came in injury time when his powerful free-kick rattled the crossbar.
1. Title race going down to the wire
So now it is down to just four points. The pressure is now on Chelsea to go and beat a Bournemouth side undefeated their last five. That sequence for the Cherries includes draws at Manchester United and Liverpool. Victory at the Vitality this evening is by no means a foregone conclusion for Antonio Conte and his men, especially with the stakes so high as we enter Squeaky Bum Time. It is to Tottenham’s immense credit that they have turned what looked set to become a procession into a potentially fascinating title climax. Here they were outstanding to put the game out of sight by half time with three goals in 45 minutes.
2. Spurs prove they’ve got strength in depth
High praise indeed from Mauricio Pochettino, likening leaving out Harry Kane to Barca leaving out Lionel Messi. The trouble is, the Spurs players that have done the business without him are simply on fire. Dele Alli curled in a worldie, Eric Dier smashed in the second and Son Heung-min sent a sumptuous third into the bottom corner. And all that came after Vincent Janssen had missed a couple of sitters. With that home win over Southampton, that brilliant victory at Burnley and Wednesday night’s dramatic win at Swansea, the north Londoners proved conclusively that the charge of a one-man team can no longer be levelled at them. He will of course get back in once he is fit, but Spurs have players to step into the breach without him.
3. Janssen fires a blank again
How do you solve a problem like poor Vincent? Tottenham seem to have a knack of finding strikers around Europe who are prolific for their former clubs but toothless within sight of the north circular. Janssen works incredibly hard and has so much love from the Spurs family. But if he didn’t have bad luck he’d have no luck whatsoever. Twenty minutes in Kieran Trippier crossed superbly from the right and the Dutchman simply had to make the right contact to open the scoring. Instead he blew it, the ball hit the crossbar and nobody inside White Hart Lane could believe it. A few minutes later Trippier crossed again, this time low into the six-yard box. Again, Janssen’s goal poaching instincts failed him. He works hard and will never give up but you have to wonder whether – having had their fingers burned with Soldado – Spurs will persevere with Janssen for as long or cut their losses.
4. Watford fought hard… maybe too hard
Walter Mazzarri’s side were hunting three wins in a row for the first time in a couple of years. Trouble was, they’d won just one of their previous ten on the road. In addition, Spurs had had a proud record of remaining unbeaten at home in the League all season. Watford, to be fair, fought hard. Sometimes too hard. By the 63rd minute Dele Alli had had enough of the niggly fouls and rejected the offer of a handshake from that particular perpetrator, Isaac Success. Earlier Abdoulaye Doucoure was rightly booked for a foul on Mousa Dembele and the Hornets’ rough-house tactics had come to nothing anyway. Spurs were simply too good.
5. Mazzarri mad to bench Deeney
So what on earth was Mazzarri doing dropping Troy Deeney to the bench. The word at White Hart Lane was that the 28-year-old marksman was none-too-pleased at being left out. Quite right too. Deeney had scored six goals in his previous nine games, including the second in the midweek win over West Brom. The decision to omit him smacked of Mazzarri trying to be a bit too clever. The Italian paid the price.