Striker Harry Kane marked his 300th Premier League appearance with a brace of goals to hand Tottenham Hotspur an emphatic 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace in its London derby at Selhurst Park on Wednesday.
Defender Matt Doherty and Son Heung-min netted further goals for the visitors as Palace capitulated in the second half having been the better side in the opening period when the teams went to the break at 0-0.
The win moves Tottenham to 33 points from their 18 matches and to within two points of fourth-placed Manchester United, though they have played a game more. Palace are in 12th position with 22 points from 17 games.
After a quiet first half, Kane rose highest at the back post to head in Ivan Perisic’s cross on 48 minutes, and shortly afterwards added a second as he collected a pass from Bryan Gil, took a touch and arrowed his shot into the bottom corner to take his career Premier League goals tally to 198.
“It was a really important win. We have not come back (from Qatar) and got the best results. It was nice to put that performance in,” Kane told SkySports after Tottenham chalked up their first win since action in the Premier League resumed following the six-week break for the World Cup.
“It was about moving the ball quick, getting runs in behind and then quality in the final third. It was great to keep a clean sheet.”
The win eases the pressure on Tottenham manager Antonio Conte after his Spurs side had lost four of its previous seven topflight matches, including a demoralising 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday that saw them booed off the pitch by their own supporters.
An Eberechi Eze-inspired Palace looked the more dangerous in the first half as Jordan Ayew forced a good low save from Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and defender Joachim Andersen flashed a 25-yard shot narrowly wide of goal.
Chances were few and far between for Tottenham, but Kane sent a header well wide of the goal from their best moment.
They started much the brighter in the second half to change the momentum in the game and Kane’s quickfire brace was a blow from which Palace never recovered.
Doherty, always looking to get forward from his wingback position, side-footed in a third to make the points safe, before Son drilled home the final goal, a relief to him after some poor form in recent games.
“We scored at an important time in the game,” Kane said. “We have done well this season in terms of when we get one goal, a second is not too far behind. It is a really good win.”
Both sides now switch focus to FA Cup third round ties as Tottenham host third-tier Portsmouth and Palace welcome Premier League rivals Southampton. Both games will be played on Saturday.