Watford 1-4 Tottenham Hotspur
Match Reports, Updated:
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Harry Kane and Dele Alli grabbed a brace apiece as Tottenham thrashed an out-of-sorts Watford 4-1 at Vicarage Road.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side ended 2016 on a high with a 4-1 win at Southampton on Wednesday and started the New Year with another emphatic win on their travels at Vicarage Road.
Kane grabbed two goals in the space of six first-half minutes before Alli virtually sealed the game just before half-time.
It was Alli's second in the first minute of the second half which put the icing on the cake as Spurs moved ahead of rivals Arsenal and Manchester City into third place on 39 points.
Watford, who were shambolic defensively and fortunate not to have been on the end of a heavier defeat, grabbed a late consolation through Younes Kaboul but still drop to 13th in the league.
Heung-Min Son tried his luck from 25 yards on seven minutes after being given time and space but his low strike was well held by Heurelho Gomes who got down to his right.
Spurs had a shout for a penalty in the 11th minute when Christian Eriksen’s effort inside the area clearly struck the arm of Etienne Capoue when deflecting wide, but referee Michael Oliver gave the former Spurs man the benefit of the doubt.
More good build up play by Spurs on 23 minutes resulted in Danny Rose getting a sight of goal just inside the area, but with Watford players moving to close him down, he rushed his right-foot strike and blazed it over the crossbar.
Two minutes later Eriksen hit a rising left-foot strike which sailed just over Gomes’ goal as the visitors continued to enjoy the upper hand.
Alli went even closer for Spurs when he rattled the crossbar with a lovely strike from outside the area, but Kane did put the ball in the net a matter of seconds later.
Kieran Trippier slipped in Kane down the right of the area with a clever pass and the big striker did the rest as he put the ball past Gomes from an acute angle at his near post.
The same combination helped Spurs double their lead on 33 minutes when Trippier floated in a wonderful cross from the right and Kane got between two defenders and stabbed the ball past Gomes form close range.
Kane then helped out his defence on 36 minutes when a poor headed clearance attempt from Toby Alderweireld almost played in Troy Deeney but the two-goal hero prevented the Hornets skipper from pulling one back with a vital intervention.
The action moved back to the opposite end with Son inches away from making it 3-0 on 39 minutes as he got on the end of Eriksen’s free kick into the area and poked it just wide.
Spurs did get a third two minutes later when Kaboul’s attempt to cut out Kane's ball into the area resulted in him slicing it straight to Alli who coolly finished past an exposed Gomes.
The nightmare continued for Watford in the first minute of the second half when Kane’s ball from the right was allowed to run through to Alli down the left and he slipped his effort inside Gomes’ near post from close range for his second of the game.
Kane, also on a hat-trick, almost grabbed it on 56 minutes with a free-kick from just outside the area which he curled past the wall, but Gomes managed to push it wide of the bottom corner.
Both Alli and Kane were withdrawn later in the second half with one eye on Wednesday's huge clash against London rivals Chelsea as Spurs appeared happy to settle for their four-goal haul.
But there was a sting in the tail from the Hornets as a free-kick from the left dropped to Kaboul at the back post and he scrambled the ball into the net at the second attempt.