Tottenham cut Leicester’s lead at the top of the Premier League to five points as Harry Kane inspired Spurs to a routine win over Bournemouth.
Kane turned in Kyle Walker’s cross after 43 seconds and then latched onto Dele Alli’s pass to finish left-footed past Artur Boruc to double the lead.
The England striker is now the Premier League’s top scorer with 21 goals.
Christian Eriksen tapped in Tottenham’s third from close range after Boruc had pushed out Kane’s shot from 25 yards.
Mid-table Bournemouth, who had won three successive league games before their trip to White Hart Lane, rarely threatened.
First to 20 league goals
Kane’s hat-trick at Bournemouth in October ended a poor run of goalscoring form for the 22-year-old.
He has been in supreme nick for his club since then, with his brace against the Cherries taking his tally to 23 goals in his past 30 appearances for Spurs.
His early opener made him the first player to reach 20 Premier League goals this season, and he becomes the fifth Englishman to pass that milestone in two consecutive Premier League seasons – joining Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler and Alan Shearer.
Not content with scoring twice and creating the third when Boruc spilled his long-range shot, Kane later made a last-ditch challenge inside his own six-yard box to deny Bournemouth striker Josh King.
Spurs full-backs blunt Bournemouth
One of the most eye-catching features of Tottenham’s play this season has been the willingness of their full-backs to push forward at every opportunity, while still maintaining a solid defensive base thanks to their two holding midfielders.
Walker and Danny Rose were always available outlets in the first period, when Spurs were at their most dangerous, Walker creating Kane’s first goal with a wonderful whipped cross.
Both have been named in Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the friendly matches against Germany (26 March) and Netherlands (29 March).
Man of the match: Harry Kane (Tottenham)
The stats you need to know
- Kane has equalled his Premier League goal tally from 2014-15.
- Alli has assisted Kane for seven Premier League goals this season, the most assists from one player to another in 2015-16.
- Two of the three fastest goals scored in the Premier League this season have been in the Spurs/Bournemouth fixture (Ritchie 49 seconds, Kane 43 seconds).
What they said
Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino: “I’m very happy with the collective performance, I thought we were fantastic today.
“It was important to score early, and then we showed a strong mentality in the way we managed the game. We played well against a very good team – we showed a mature performance.
“It’s important to get some time to analyse – 90% of the squad will be with their national teams and I think it’s a good moment to analyse during this period.”
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe: “It was a really bad day for us. We had the worst possible start, we were slow out of the traps and we weren’t ourselves at all in the first half. It was a poor display.
“I was hugely frustrated because, even when we don’t play well, you see a clear philosophy and a way of playing. I honestly couldn’t tell what we were trying to do in the first half. It was disjointed and we had no rhythm.
“When you come here and you don’t bring your best game, it’s going to be very difficult.”
Following the international break, Tottenham have two games which could go a long way to deciding the destination of the Premier League title – Liverpool at Anfield (2 April) followed by Manchester United at home (10 April).
Bournemouth, who remain 13th and are 12 points above the relegation zone after Newcastle’s draw with Sunderland earlier on Sunday, host Manchester City on 2 April.