Kane brace sets Spurs on Arsenal’s tail
LONDON: Harry Kane scored his seventh and eighth goals in five matches as Tottenham Hotspur dispatched West Ham United 4-1 yesterday to close on the Premier League’s top four. Defenders Toby Alderweireld and Kyle Walker also found the net at a chilly White Hart Lane as Mauricio Pochettino’s side equalled the club record of 12 successive Premier League games without defeat. Spurs now trail fourth-place Arsenal by just two points and leaders Leicester City by four, leaving them ideally placed for an assault on the Champions League berths ahead of next weekend’s home game with spluttering champions Chelsea, who will not relish the trip to north London.
Kane, who has scored 12 goals in 14 London derbies, branded the display Spurs’ best of the season and Pochettino said: “It was a high-level performance. It was fantastic and we feel very proud. “It was a brilliant effort. We showed how we can play and we need to keep the whole season the performance that we showed.” The only disappointment for the Spurs manager was the booking collected by rising star Dele Alli following a shoving match with Mark Noble, which rules the England newcomer out of the Chelsea game.
It was only a second defeat in 10 league games for Slaven Bilic’s West Ham, who replied late on through Manuel Lanzini, and left them three points adrift of Spurs in sixth place. “The performance matches the result, to be fair,” Bilic told BBC Sport. “They were better than us.”
The visitors badly missed injured playmaker Dimitri Payet, whose place was taken by Diafra Sakho in West Ham’s only change. Bilic strung his midfielders across the pitch in a 4-1-4-1 system, with Sakho wide on the right, in an attempt to stop Spurs’ centre-backs sliding passes into the feet of Alli, Christian Eriksen and fitagain Son Heung-Min, who replaced the suspended Erik Lamela.
Victor Moses gave Spurs early concern by skipping past Mousa Dembele and crossing from the left, but Spurs were in control and after Eriksen had warmed Adrian’s palms from range, they took a 23rd-minute lead.
Alli’s shot from the edge of the box was partially blocked and fell to Kane, who easily rolled Carl Jenkinson before rifling a left-foot shot into the roof of the net for his seventh goal of the league campaign. West Ham threatened to reply immediately when Cheikhou Kouyate volleyed acrobatically against the crossbar after Noble’s blocked shot ballooned into the air.
But in the 33rd minute the hosts added a second, Alderweireld outjumping Andy Carroll at the near post and nodding in Eriksen’s corner. Spurs should have put the game out of sight before half-time. Alli headed against the bar after Adrian had thwarted Son and moments later Kane was sent clean through, only to saw his first-timer from eight yards out glance off the top of the crossbar.
Babacar made way for Giuseppe Rossi moments later but the American-born striker was eclipsed as Kalinic, and then Matias Vecino, came closest to securing all three points. — AFP miscue horribly and bobble a left-foot shot well wide.
It did not take long for him to atone, however, as an ill-advised attempt to play the ball out from the back by West Ham gifted Spurs their third goal five minutes after the change of ends.
The reluctant recipient of a throw from Adrian, Tomkins passed the ball straight to Eriksen, who moved it on to Kane, and the England striker drove a low strike through Adrian from outside the box.
Adrian should have done better than allow the ball to slip beneath him, but he provided a firmer barrier shortly after, blocking from Son at his near post and then parrying Eriksen’s volleyed follow-up.
Walker was booked after a needless face-off with Sakho, but the right-back made amends in the 83rd minute by using the outside of his right foot to curl Son’s lay-off around Adrian’s forlorn dive and into the net.
Lanzini denied Hugo Lloris a clean sheet by flummoxing Walker with a step-over and slamming home left-footed, but Spurs finished strongly, with substitute Ryan Mason hitting the post. — AFP
LONDON: West Ham United’s English striker Andy Carroll (R) jumps to win a header during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at White Hart Lane in north London yesterday. — AFP
VERONA: Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain, left, and Hellas Verona defender Evangelos Moras vie for the ball during a Serie A soccer match at Bentegodi stadium in Verona, yesterday. — AP
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