Five things we learned as Tottenham maintain the pressure on Chelsea with routine win against Bournemouth

Harry Kane raises Tottenham's game to another level, Mauricio Pochettino was right to lavish Christian Eriksen in praise and why next weekend's FA Cup semi promises to be a classic

Luke Brown
Saturday 15 April 2017 12:48
Comments
Kane and Son were both outstanding in the 4-0 win
Kane and Son were both outstanding in the 4-0 win

Tottenham recorded a routine home win over Bournemouth to cut the gap on Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table to just four points, ahead of the league leaders trip to Old Trafford on Sunday.

It took Mousa Dembele just 16 minutes to open the scoring for Spurs, when he powerfully finished from Christian Eriksen's corner.

Three minutes later and Heung Min Son doubled Tottenham's advantage, firing past Artur Boruc to continue his fine goal-scoring run.

Bournemouth, who remain 15th in the table, were never in serious contention and conceded a third early on in the second-half, Harry Kane muscling past Simon Francis and shooting low into the bottom corner to cap his first Premier League start since injuring his ankle ligaments with a goal.

Vincent Janssen then added a fourth in injury-time.

Here are five things we learned from Tottenham's win...

Kane raises Tottenham's game to another level

Kane finally returned to Tottenham's starting line-up

It would hardly be correct to say Tottenham were crying out for the return of Harry Kane: since the striker last started a league match they have played four and won four, scoring 10 goals and conceding just two.

And yet there is no doubt that just the mere presence of Kane elevates Tottenham’s game to a whole new level. His offensive partnership with Dele Alli is staggering considering the pair have only spent a season and a half playing alongside one another, while his return in the main target-man role allowed Heung Min-Son to start in a wide-left role, where he flourishes.

Kane and Alli possess a superb offensive partnership

Then there is his prowess in front of goal. The fact that he would eventually score seemed an inevitability, if anything the only surprise was that it took him 48 minutes to do so. He could have had even more, with four of his shots well saved by Artur Boruc. Don't be surprised if the Englishman eventually overhauls Romelu Lukaku at summit of the Premier League's top scorers list.

Wilshere should take heart from his performance

Wilshere was in the thick of the action against Spurs

A rather cruel stat began doing the rounds on Twitter in the hours ahead of this match: Dele Alli has been involved in the same amount of goals this campaign as Jack Wilshere has over the past eight seasons.

While harsh on Wilshere – who has been plagued with far more injuries than Alli and tends to operate in a more withdrawn midfield position, too – there is now no doubting that Alli has completely usurped the Arsenal man as England’s most exciting creative talent.

No Bournemouth player made more tackles than the loanee

And yet Wilshere, vociferously booed by the Spurs support whenever he touched the ball, was one of Bournemouth’s better players in this match, making more tackles than all but one of his team-mates and spraying the ball around with confidence. He may never quite reach the heights that were once expected of him, but on his day he remains a fine player and it was a shame to once again see him withdrawn early though injury.

Few can rival Tottenham's strength in depth

Son celebrates scoring Tottenham's second of the afternoon

At the start of the season, the common consensus seemed to be that, despite boasting one of the strongest starting elevens in the country, Tottenham lacked sufficient strength in depth to once again challenge for the title. Without the sort of transfer kitty enjoyed by the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City, many thought injuries could take their toll on Tottenham’s squad.

Well Spurs have suffered their fair share of injuries since September (Christian Eriksen is their only outfield player to start as many as 30 league games ) and they are still enjoying their finest season of the Premier League era.

Pochettino has a number of options available to him

Their strength in depth was evidenced further by squad player Son coolly slotting past Boruc’s for Tottenham’s second, and the South Korean’s 12th league goal of the season. How many other sides have a back-up striker that has netted so many goals? Factor in the seamless manner in which Ben Davies, Kieran Trippier and Harry Winks have slotted into the team in recent weeks and Spurs begin to look like possessing one of the strongest squads – as well as one of the strongest teams – in the country.

Pochettino was right to lavish Eriksen with praise

Eriksen was a goal threat throughout

Mauricio Pochettino waxed lyrical about Christian Eriksen in his pre-match press conference this week. “He is so special and we always call him Golazo, because he is capable of scoring unbelievable goals,” the Argentinian said. “The recognition from us is massive. He is so quiet, so calm. He is a very relaxed person but he loves football.”

While undoubtedly a player of formidable talent, Eriksen has been prone to go missing for periods of games over the last four seasons, a sensational string of matches followed by a month of subdued performances. But this season he has been far more consistent, particularly when it comes to chance creation.

Pochettino revealed Eriksen is nicknamed “Golazo”

His assist for Dembeme’s opening goal was his 12th of the season, taking him above Manchester City’s £55m man Kevin de Bruyne at the top of the leading assist-maker chart, while he came close to scoring himself with a long-range drive which a leaping Boruc did well to push away. Eriksen might not be as celebrated as the likes of Kane, Alli or even Son – but he is a crucial cog in this team.

Next weekend's FA Cup semi-final will be a classic

Spurs have reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time since 2012

Next weekend’s FA Cup showdown between Spurs and league leaders Chelsea – which will be only the second time since the World War II that the teams occupying first and second place have played one another in the semi-finals of the competition – already promises to be a classic.

Chelsea, sitting pretty at the top of the league, will of course start as the marginal favourites, having lost only five matches all season.

Spurs beat Chelsea the last time the two teams met

But Tottenham will be confident of springing a surprise and have arguably playing some of the best football of the Pochettino era over the last few weeks. After their last match against Chelsea, which they won2-0 to deny their rivals a historic 14th successive league victory, Pochettino will know this season’s competition provides him with a superb chance of winning his first piece of silverware at the club.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in