A magnificent performance capped by another stunning Christian Eriksen free-kick and a Harry Kane double saw us register a comprehensive 3-0 win at The Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon.
We were in front within six minutes through Eriksen’s 25-yard set-piece, added a second courtesy of a fine Kane finish 11 minutes later and, having dominated for long periods, wrapped up the points when the in-form striker converted a penalty on 63 minutes.
In this fixture last year, we trailed 3-0 before coming back to draw 3-3 but it was a very different story this time, as we surged into a commanding lead and never looked like letting it slip.
Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino recalled Paulinho to the team, his first start in the Premier League this season, while Nacer Chadli was back in the matchday squad and on the bench following his recent absence for personal reasons.
The game was actually very low-key in the early exchanges, neither side really getting close to goal until Mousa Dembele was fouled by Claudio Yacob as he shot goalwards on six minutes, 25 yards out just left of centre. Eriksen stepped up and, just as he did three days ago at Bramall Lane, hit a right-foot free-kick over the wall, which Ben Foster got a hand to but couldn’t keep it out.
That goal gave the team a real lift and we were playing with such composure, keeping the ball well and frustrating the home team and their fans. And that frustration grew on 15 minutes when we doubled our lead following a patient build-up.
After a spell of tidy possession, Erik Lamela picked up the ball, came inside off the left flank and found Dembele, he burst forwards and slid a pass in to Kane who cut inside Andre Wisdom and smashed home past Foster.
Eventually Albion worked their way into the game and fired their first effort on our goal on 25 minutes, Chris Brunt trying his luck from 30 yards but it was comfortable for Hugo Lloris.
To be fair to the home side, they created a few chances in the second half of the first period and we needed Lloris at his best to preserve our two-goal advantage.
On 27 minutes, Albion broke forwards with Victor Anichebe, he found James Morrison on the edge of the area and his left footed curler was heading for the top corner only for Lloris’ out-stretched fingers to tip it over. From the corner, Joleon Lescott headed over.
A well worked free-kick routine from the Baggies on the half hour saw Saido Berahino played in down the left side of the area, his cut back found Yacob whose deflected shot from eight yards was saved low down by Lloris. Berahino then got a lucky break down the right and sent over a low cross for Anichebe but his near post effort was blocked by Federico Fazio for a corner.
Albion were stepping up the pressure and went close again on 37 minutes, Morrison floating in a free-kick on the right, Craig Dawson got up well only to see his header hit the crossbar and we cleared the danger.
Berahino and Kane both had wayward efforts on goal in the closing minutes of the half and we went into the interval in control.
And the opening minutes of the second half very much mirrored the first as we completely dominated possession and almost added to our tally. Walker, Lamela and Paulinho worked the ball down the right, it came to Eriksen who let fly from 20 yards out but this time his drive was just inches past Foster’s post.
Just after the hour we introduced Nacer Chadli for Dembele and on 63 minutes made it 3-0 from the spot. Eriksen won possession on halfway and drove forwards, Walker made a superb 40 yard run to support him down the right and when the full-back fired over a low cross, the ball hit Lescott’s hand as he slid in to block. Referee Kevin Friend awarded the penalty, Kane stepped up and tucked the spot-kick into the bottom left corner, registering his 20th goal of the season in the process.
In response at the other end, Yacob hit a 20-yard drive which deflected off Kane for a corner, from the set-piece Anichebe headed wide and moments later Berahino was a whisker away from pulling a goal back, his shot from the right angle going just wide.
Lamela was inches away from getting a touch on Paulinho’s drilled cross on 70 minutes while Jan Vertonghen’s header was over the bar from Eriksen’s clipped cross and Lamela scuffed a shot wide from the edge of the area as we went on the offensive again.
And when Paulinho was fouled 25 yards out, Kane this time took the free-kick and hit a fierce drive which literally wobbled its way through the air and needed Foster’s tip over to deny him a hat-trick.
There were flurries of goalmouth action at both ends in the final few minutes, but neither goalkeeper was seriously tested and the final whistle was greeted by a loud cheer from our superb fans in the away end, who were non-stop in their support on what was a great day all round.
Spurs: Lloris, Walker, Vertonghen, Fazio, Rose, Mason (Stambouli 73), Paulinho, Lamela, Dembele (Chadli 62), Eriksen, Kane (Soldado 88). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Davies, Dier, Townsend.
Albion: Foster, Wisdom (Gardner 60), McAuley, Dawson, Lescott, McManaman (Ideye 60), Yacob, Morrison (Dorrans 88), Brunt, Anichebe, Berahino. Substitutes (not used): Rose, Baird, Pocognoli, Sessegnon.
Goals: Spurs – Eriksen 6, Kane 15, 63 pen.
Yellow cards: Albion – Berahino, Yacob; Spurs - Lamela.
Referee: Kevin Friend.