Tottenham Hotspur ended their rut away from home and climbed up to fifth in the Premier League with a dominant 3-0 win against Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday evening.
An early Harry Kane penalty set the tone of the match, as he followed that up with two more to secure his 13th, 14th and 15th goals of the season in a match where the hosts offered nothing of great essence.
Sean Dyche has been rightly hesitant to make changes this season, and he followed the pattern tonight with his only change being an enforced one, with Kevin Long replacing James Tarkowski at the heart of the defence due to the latter’s ban for violent conduct.
Mauricio Pochettino wouldn’t have hesitated to switch his Tottenham Hotspur team up after their 4-1 humbling defeat at the hands of Manchester City last time out and that’s exactly what he did.
The visitors made four changes, three of which came in the defence; Davidson Sánchez returned following a three-match suspension alongside Serge Aurier, Ben Davies and Moussa Sissoko – Harry Winks was omitted from the squad with an ankle problem.
Alli in the thick of things
There was a scrappy start to proceedings in midfield with Dele Alli looking the liveliest of the lot, however, the England international may have been lucky to stay on the pitch in just the 5th minute, overrunning the ball and carelessly flying into Charlie Taylor with his studs up.
He received a yellow card from Michael Oliver who, along with Alli, were in the thick of things again just moments later as the Spurs midfielder was tumbled over in the Burnley area by Kevin Long and subsequently earnt a penalty.
You don’t get many better penalty-takers in the Premier League than Harry Kane, and he confidently stroked the ball to Nick Pope’s left to give the visitors an early lead on seven minutes – the home faithful were furious, but the travelling away fans were jubilant.
Burnley were trying to respond immediately afterwards and applied a good spell of pressure with attempted balls over the top, but that left plenty of space for Spurs to counter and Kane nearly made it two 10 minutes after his opening goal, and 13th in the league this term.
Dele Alli, who wasn’t very popular with the Turf Moor crowd after his early antics, fizzed a deflected low effort from the edge of the box which trickled into the path of Kane, but his finish from a very tight angle didn’t hit the target, but instead the side netting.
Tottenham really should’ve been two ahead after 23 minutes, firing up a deadly break as Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min combined near the half-way line to release the unconfident-looking Moussa Sissoko through one-on-one.
But a tremendous double save by the in-form Nick Pope, first with his leg before pouncing quickly to block Sissoko’s rebound, denied the Frenchman. Well, you could say tremendous goalkeeping, but it was a dire showing of composure from the Spurs man.
The away side continued to look dangerous, and Kane had another chance to double his tally as the half-hour mark approached. Pope fluffed a clearance which fell for Eriksen, he threaded a ball through the frontman who fired a lazy effort high and wide from 20 yards.
Burnley suffered a 35th-minute blow in their search for an equaliser when Chris Wood overstretched when trying to get on the end of a hopeful cross, and couldn’t run it off, so Adam Barnes, the late hero in the last game here against Stoke City, took his place.
Both teams exited the field as the half-time whistle blew to a wild chorus of boos – more likely because of the refereeing decisions against the home side instead of the actual team performance – Burnley were very much in this one.
Clinical Kane at his best after the break
Tottenham got right back into their stride immediately after the break as Eriksen easily beat Charlie Taylor down the right to get to the byline and whipped in a venomous cross to the near post. Nick Pope blocked the delivery right into the path of Kane, but the striker couldn’t connect as the ball bounced off his mid-drift and wide of the post.
Pope was proving to be a solid shot-stopper throughout the whole of proceedings, but his distribution on the night was so very poor. His attempted clearance five minutes into the second half went straight to Kane, who flicked it through to Son, the Korean found Eriksen in the box, but his effort didn’t have enough sting on it whatsoever.
Son was the next Tottenham Hotspur player to miss a glorious opportunity. The marauding Serge Aurier beat the Burnley defensive line before threading a clever ball into Son, who was only 10 yards out as he struck his first-time effort way over the crossbar.
With an hour gone, Spurs way ripping the hosts to shreds on the attack. So many openings for so many dangerous players. Harry Kane charged down the centre of the pitch with Son to his left and Eriksen to his right, he opted for the Dane, but his over-hit pass was nothing short of comical. Another chance gone astray.
The Londoners in the away end thought their no. 10 had extended their lead again from the following attack as Kane cut inside and tried to curl a shot around Ben Mee, the Clarets’ captain managed to get a big enough touch on it to divert it wide of the post though.
The home side were hanging on to the game by a thread, but they thought they should’ve had a penalty on 66 minutes when Adam Barnes looked to be brought down in the area by Ben Davies from a Taylor cross – the flag was raised and it looked like the striker was off by just a couple of yards.
Spurs’ waves of vigorous attacks made it seem imminent their opponents were to be punished before the end, and they finally did get a deserved second with 20 minutes to spare through Harry Kane.
Moussa Sissoko dinked a delightful through ball over the Burnley defence for his teammate to run onto, and Kane made no mistake from seven yards out, as he very rarely does from those positions, to keep his cool and poke the ball under Nick Pope. Game over.
Sean Dyche acted instantly to going 2-0 down, bringing striker Sam Vokes on for the ineffective Jeff Hendrick. And the big man got right stuck right into the action, turning Davidson Sánchez with a cheeky touch but Hugo Lloris was quickly off his line to clear the danger.
It seemed like Mauricio Pochettino wasn’t interested in running riot as he brought on Moussa Dembélé for Son Heung-min, but a minute later Harry Kane struck again to complete his seventh Premier League hatrick.
His hard work off the ball truly paid off, losing it to Steven Defour before chasing it down and robbing the Belgian of possession, Eriksen flicked the loose ball to Alli who easily found the onrushing Kane before he clinically finished past Pope – he didn’t stand a chance.
That finish equalled Alan Shearer’s 22-year-old record of 39 Premier League goals netted in a calendar year - a joy to watch Harry Kane when he’s in this sort of mood.
Burnley thought they’d scored a consolation goal on 81 minutes through Sam Vokes, who beat Hugo Lloris in the air and nodded his header home from a looping cross. Michael Oliver, much to the anger of the Lancashire crowd, stepped in a blew for a foul on the French goalkeeper though.
Burnley woes against Spurs continue
The end of the game was subtle, Spurs were happy to retain possession and the home side had simply run out of gas. Dele Alli came off for Fernando Llorente with three minutes left on the clock, unsurprisingly to a barrage of jeers and abuse from the opposition support.
The result extended Burnley's winless run against Tottenham to eight matches in all competitions, while the latter secured their first consecutive win at Turf Moor for the first time in 92 years, since December 1925.
Harry Kane's tally of 19 away goals in 2017 matches the record in a single calendar year, set by Robin van Persie in 2011.
Things won't get an easier for Burnley before the new year, as they have a Boxing Day trip to Old Trafford to look forward to, where Manchester United have won all but one of their games this season under José Mourinho.
Tottenham Hotspur, meanwhile, host Southampton at Wembley Stadium where they'll be hoping to kick on from their brilliant showing here.