Festive joy was all around at White Hart Lane on Saturday afternoon as we produced a professional Boxing Day performance to overcome Norwich City.
Two first half goals from Harry Kane and a superb first-ever Premier League strike for Tom Carroll late in the game saw us ease to a comfortable victory and maintain fourth place in the table.
Kane struck a 26th minute penalty to open the scoring and added a second just before the interval – his 12th and 13th goals of this season taking him to 49 overall in our colours – while Carroll followed up his first goal for us against Monaco recently with his first at domestic level.
Apart from a late double save from birthday boy Hugo Lloris, we were never really threatened and made it back-to-back wins and clean sheets in the Premier League.
Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino selected the same team which beat Southampton 2-0 last weekend and it was a relatively low-key opening to the contest with the visitors creating the first opportunity on five minutes. Nathan Redmond hit a cross-field pass to Robbie Brady who laid it in to Vadis Odjidja and he let fly from 20 yards, Lloris diving full-length to palm it away for a corner.
We were a little bit off the pace early on, not quite playing at our usual high tempo and City tried to take advantage. They went close again on 16 minutes when Brady fizzed in an effort from 25 yards, Lloris pushed it away again for a corner and Cameron Jerome headed the set-piece over from a good position.
The tide started to turn midway through the half, though, and we began to take control. On 23 minutes, Christian Eriksen picked up the ball and looked to find Kane, he slightly over-hit the pass but it ran kindly for Dele Alli bursting forwards down the right. The England midfielder hit a shot straight at Declan Rudd, the rebound came to Kane, but he could only drag his effort wide of the far post.
We weren’t to be denied two minutes later, however. Alli slipped a delightful ball in to Kane, he poked the ball past Rudd who sent him tumbling and referee Mike Jones pointed immediately to the spot. Kane stepped and drove his penalty straight down the middle.
Set-pieces have been good to us this season and we so nearly doubled our lead from another 10 minutes before the break. Eriksen’s corner was perfectly floated in for Toby Alderweireld to step ahead of his marker and head goalwards but Rudd was there to palm the ball up. Alli then nodded the loose ball goalwards but the City keeper pushed that effort over the bar. From the next corner, the same pair combined again, Eriksen’s cross met by Alderweireld but he somehow headed wide when completely unmarked.
However, we were able to take a two-goal lead into the interval with a second goal on 42 minutes thanks to an excellent breakaway. Erik Lamela led the charge forwards with a three-against-three attack, he played it inside to Alli who in turn found Kane in the right channel. The striker was confronted by former Spur Sebastien Bassong but he shifted the ball to the right and drilled low into the bottom corner.
It was a much more controlled start to the second period and we almost grabbed a third 10 minutes in. Lamela found Alli down the left channel of the area and, with just Rudd to beat, he tried to slide it between the keeper's legs but Rudd saved. The rebound came to Eriksen who cut back to Lamela, but the Canaries stopper was there again to keep out his side-footed effort.
Brady smashed a 25-yard drive high and wide as Norwich looked to get a foothold in the game, while we went close again on 62 minutes when Lamela attempted another ‘Rabona’ style shot which Rudd had to push over the bar. Norwich then claimed for a penalty when Jerome looked to get on the end of Brady’s through ball, Lloris punching clear and then colliding with the City frontman - but the referee waved play on.
We made a couple of changes with Tom Carroll and Heung-Min Son replacing Eriksen and Alli and six minutes after coming on in the 72nd minute, Carroll had found the back of the net! Ben Davies played a one-two with Son midway inside the Norwich half, then popped the ball off to Carroll, who was allowed to turn and advance forwards before hitting a superb low left-foot shot which curled inside the far post. That was his first Premier League goal and what a strike it was.
There was a bizarre moment shortly after when we broke away again and had four players attacking against a solitary Norwich defender in Russell Martin, but Lamela delayed the pass, Kane couldn’t get a shot away and the visitors cleared.
At the other end, we were indebted to Lloris who had been almost a spectator in the second period but produced two superb saves to preserve our clean sheet. First he kept out substitute Dieumerci Mbokani’s acrobatic effort and was quickly up again to prevent Jerome heading in the rebound inside the six yard box. That was the last action of the game - and earned Lloris a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ from the Spurs faithful!
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris, Walker, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Davies, Dier, Dembele (Chadli 86), Lamela, Alli (Son 78), Eriksen (Carroll 72), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Rose, Trippier, Bentaleb.
Norwich (4-4-1-1): Rudd, Martin, Bassong, Bennett, Olsson, Redmond, Tettey, Mulumbu (Howson 73), Brady (Mbokani 78), Odjidja-Ofoe (Dorrans 73), Jerome. Substitutes (not used): Ruddy, Whittaker, Hoolahan, Lafferty.
Goals: Spurs - Kane 26 (pen), 42, Carroll 80.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Dier; Norwich – Tettey, Howson.
Referee: Mike Jones.