Tottenham Hotspur flaunted their Premier League title credentials following a 5-0 victory against Bournemouth on Boxing Day.
Having given Everton a nightmare before Christmas in a 6-2 victory at Goodison Park on Sunday, three first-half goals laid the foundations for another convincing triumph.
Kyle Walker-Peters seemingly still had some presents to hand out as he provided the assists for Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura to find the net before the break.
Harry Kane and Son then made it five after the break for a victory that lifts Spurs a point clear of floundering City.
Spurs looked lively in the opening stages, but it was Bournemouth who had the first clear-cut opportunities to break the deadlock.
Junior Stanislas got in the way of Ryan Fraser as he attempted to head a right-wing cross goalwards, before David Brooks failed to lift the ball over Hugo Lloris after being played in by a perfectly weighted Jefferson Lerma chip.
Lerma was involved when the breakthrough came at the other end in the 16th minute, Eriksen’s shot from 20 yards taking a wicked deflection off the Colombian’s leg to leave Asmir Begovic beaten.
Spurs’ second followed seven minutes later when Charlie Daniels failed to clear his lines and allowed Walker-Peters to snatch possession, passing inside to Son, who picked his spot and fired low into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
The match looked beyond Bournemouth by the 35th minute, with Lucas sweeping home a Walker-Peters cutback for Spurs’ third.
Bournemouth’s problems got worse before half time, with captain Simon Francis stretchered from the field with a serious-looking injury after a challenge on Son, while a Daniels header was kept out by Lloris on the whistle.
Spurs were lucky not to concede a penalty when Juan Foyth barged Callum Wilson over in the box early in the second period, before Stanislas was correctly flagged offside, having found the net.
The result was put beyond all doubt in the 61st minute, though, when Kane met a delightful Eriksen chip with a hooked volley to beat Begovic, and Son added further gloss after Bournemouth somehow failed to get rid of the ball amid a goalmouth scramble.
What does it mean? Spurs firmly in the title race
Spurs’ purple patch has coincided with a downturn in form for defending champions Manchester City, who suffered a third defeat in four matches at Leicester on Wednesday.
And this latest victory sees Mauricio Pochettino’s men edge ahead of Pep Guardiola’s side, although they remain six adrift of leaders Liverpool.
Walker-Peters takes his chance
Fullback Walker-Peters had to settle for only 12 minutes of Premier League action this season prior to this game, but he was given his opportunity from the start on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old certainly staked his claim for more first-team football with his standout first-half display, setting up all three goals before the interval.
Spurs old boy Daniels has rotten return
Daniels came through the Spurs youth system, but his dithering ahead of the hosts’ second goal proved costly.
His attempted headed clearance from a long ball went straight up into the Wembley air and he wrongly opted against a no-nonsense boot upfield upon its return to earth, giving Walker-Peters the chance to pounce and set up Son.
Tottenham host Wolves at Wembley on Saturday, while Bournemouth close out the year a day later with another tricky away day – against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Photo: Premier League website
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