We’re com­ing for you

Kane’s dou­ble keeps Spurs in touch with lead­ers Le­ices­ter

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeremy Wil­son at White Hart Lane

From Alli to Harry. It is a com­bi­na­tion that has pro­duced more Premier League goals this sea­son than any other; the part­ner­ship that will surely form the ba­sis of Eng­land’s Euro 2016 chal­lenge and the mar­riage which sealed this match.

Dele Alli and Harry Kane are also the two play­ers upon which Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur’s grow­ing hopes of a first league ti­tle since 1961 most ob­vi­ously rest. Only 16 min­utes had elapsed when Alli’s clin­i­cal pass re­leased Kane to end this game as a mean­ing­ful con­test but their un­der­stand­ing will surely guar­an­tee that Tot­ten­ham’s ti­tle chal­lenge is rather more last­ing.

“Le­ices­ter City, we’re com­ing for you,” sung the Tot­ten­ham fans and, while the gap be­tween the top two clubs re­mains un­changed, this was a far more con­vinc­ing per­for­mance than Le­ices­ter had pro­duced 24 hours ear­lier at Crys­tal Palace.

Bournemouth, re­mem­ber, had come into the game fol­low­ing three straight wins and with the best Premier League record since De­cem­ber of any club bar Le­ices­ter and Spurs. Yet they were sim­ply over­whelmed by a Tot­ten­ham team that were ut­terly in­spired by Kane. His 20th and 21st league goals make him only the fifth English­man of the Premier League era to score more than 20 in con­sec­u­tive sea­sons and, ahead of Satur­day’s match against world cham­pi­ons Ger­many, must un­der­line his sta­tus above Wayne Rooney as Roy Hodg­son’s first-choice striker.

Alli’s place in the start­ing Eng­land team should be sim­i­larly se­cure, with him per­son­ally re­spon­si­ble now for cre­at­ing seven of Kane’s league goals.

Af­ter such an em­phatic per­for­mance, there was also a bullish tone to Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino’s post-match as­sess­ment. Not only did he de- scribe Kane as the best striker in the league and the team per­for­mance as ar­guably the most com­plete of the sea­son but noted how, with the club out of ev­ery other com­pe­ti­tion, he can now trans­form their prepa­ra­tion. Reg­u­lar dou­ble train­ing ses­sions are back.

“We go into a dif­fer­ent pe­riod now,” said Po­chet­tino. “We’ll play one game ev­ery week, and we’ll have time to pre­pare games dif­fer­ently, to train, to im­prove and do a lot of things that were im­pos­si­ble be­fore. It should al­low us to do dou­ble ses­sions once or twice a week. We are in a mo­ment where we need to see our fu­ture in a very good way.”

Kane, who is now the Premier League’s lead­ing goalscorer, is also cer­tain that Spurs can over­haul Le­ices­ter. “Of course,” he said. “Why not? We’re very con­fi­dent. There is no panic, no rush.”

Hav­ing par­tially sac­ri­ficed the Europa League with his team se­lec­tion against Borus­sia Dort­mund, Po­chet­tino had brought back four fully rested play­ers here in Kane, Chris­tian Erik­sen, Mousa Dem­bele and Kyle Walker. The injection of en­ergy was im­me­di­ately ev­i­dent when, hav­ing ran onto a Hugo Lloris clear­ance, Walker surged for­ward from his full-back po­si­tion. His cross was then per­fectly aimed along the six-yard box, with Kane again un­der­lin­ing his im­proved pace by sprint­ing in front of Si­mon Fran­cis to deftly guide his fin­ish across Ar­tur Boruc and into the goal.

Spurs were play­ing at a tempo that was sim­ply suf­fo­cat­ing their op­po­nents, with the work-rate and press­ing of Kane, Alli, Erik­sen and Erik Lamela mak­ing it al­most im­pos­si­ble for Bournemouth to dis­turb mid­field­ers Eric Dier or Dem­bele, let alone a back four that has con­ceded fewer Premier League goals than any other.

It still took a mo­ment of high qual­ity, how­ever, to cre­ate the se­cond. Bournemouth had been waste­ful in pos­ses­sion and al­lowed Alli suf­fi­cient space to roll a per­fectly weighted pass for Kane, who once again demon­strated his speed and sharp­ness by dart­ing be­yond Fran­cis, be­fore fin­ish­ing em­phat­i­cally past Boruc with his left foot. Bournemouth’s first-half chances had been scarce, with Ed­die Howe re­spond­ing by bring­ing on Lewis Grab­ban and Eu­nan O’Kane for Benik Afobe and Harry Arter. His team did then have greater en­ergy and played more of the se­cond half in Tot­ten­ham ter­ri­tory al­beit with­out se­ri­ously threat­en­ing Lloris’s goal.

Spurs, by con­trast, were a dan­ger just about ev­ery time they broke for­ward, es­pe­cially when­ever Kane was in pos­ses­sion. His pow­er­ful shot from out­side the penalty area then could not be held by Boruc, with Erik­sen fol­low­ing in to put an added – and de­served – gloss on the re­sult. Spurs now have both the best at­tack­ing and de­fen­sive records in the Premier League but the statis­tic that counts above all else is that the deficit to Le­ices­ter still stands at five points with only seven matches re­main­ing.

The fox hunt is on.

Slide rule: Harry Kane stretches to score the first of his two goals dur­ing a Tot­ten­ham win that sees them stay hot on the heels of Le­ices­ter City

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