Tottenham kept up the pressure on leaders Chelsea with an impressive home victory over Watford, their sixth consecutive Premier League win.
Watford had started brightly, but Dele Alli’s sumptuous strike – curled into the top corner after Son Heung-min’s pass – signalled their quick decline.
Within just 11 more minutes they were three behind as Eric Dier smashed in from Son’s deflected cross, before the South Korea forward added a third just before the break, firing in a rasping drive following Christian Eriksen’s pass.
After half-time it was much the same story, with Watford only threatening in isolated moments, and Son further confirmed Spurs’ dominance by meeting Kieran Trippier’s perfect cross with a lovely half-volley at the far post.
Harry Kane, returning as a second-half substitute, struck the bar with an injury-time free-kick – the last kick of the game – and Son might have sealed his hat-trick from his earlier pass.
Mauricio Pocehttino’s side are now four points behind Chelsea, who play at Bournemouth later on Saturday.
And they are also 14 points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, who have two games in hand and play at Crystal Palace on Monday.
It was Vincent Janssen who led the line in Kane’s absence from the starting line-up – and the Netherlands international missed another easy chance for the game’s opening goal.
Trippier – one of the standout performers, his delivery was brilliant throughout – crossed low from the right flank, taking out goalkeeper and defence, but Janssen could only awkwardly divert the ball onto the bar via the top of his thigh with the goal at his mercy.
His only goal in 23 Premier League games, since a £17m summer arrival from AZ Alkmaar, remains a penalty against Leicester in October – and he was once again overshadowed by the dynamic and far more clinical Son.
Son’s second goal was particularly admirable, diverting another superb Trippier ball into the back of the net with a deftly controlled finish.
But the pick of the bunch was undoubtedly Alli’s. The England midfielder’s excellent season continued with a 13th goal from his last 15 league games. You will struggle to see a better one this weekend.
Hornets have an off day
Watford beat Arsenal 2-1 away in late January, but this performance was a world away.
They might claim mitigating circumstances – it was something of a makeshift defence with Miguel Britos suspended and Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Prodl both injured – but once their positive start had faded, Spurs picked them off with ease.
Walter Mazzarri’s side had moved up to 10th in the league with two wins in a row, easing pressure on their manager, but the Italian will still be concerned by the possibility of a slide down the table in their remaining seven games.
Mazzarri has said he wants to stay, but the fate of Quique Sanchez Flores, who was fired at the end of last season with the club in 13th, will surely be at the forefront of his mind.