Stoke City 1 Tottenham 2: Eriksen double seals victory on Kane's return

Tottenham moved level on points with Liverpool thanks to a 2-1 win at Stoke City - Christian Eriksen scoring twice at the bet365 Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen   -  Getty Images

Christian Eriksen stole the headlines off Harry Kane on his return to Tottenham's starting XI with both goals as Spurs beat struggling Stoke City 2-1.

Mauricio Pochettino's men were far from their best, but they did just enough as Eriksen netted a brace to move Spurs level on to 67 points with third-placed Liverpool, who were held by Everton earlier in the day.

Aside from an early Stoke chance, Spurs were on top for most of the first period, though clear-cut opportunities were by no means a regular occurrence.

Son Heung-min wasted their most presentable first-half chance when through on goal – otherwise Stoke's compact defence limited their openings.

Spurs' persistence eventually paid off just after the interval, as they sliced through Stoke and Eriksen got the goal, but their lead lasted just five minutes – Mame Biram Diouf punishing a Hugo Lloris error.

The away side ultimately took all three points, however, with a 63rd-minute Eriksen free-kick going all the way in despite Kane – back in the starting XI for the first time since March 11 due to an ankle injury – trying to claim the goal, and Spurs held firm in the face of Stoke's late onslaught.

Despite Kane's return to the starting XI, Spurs were guilty of making a laboured start and they were nearly punished in the 12th minute, when Erik Pieters found Diouf with a low cross, only for the Senegalese forward to guide his effort over while stretching.

That seemed to jolt Spurs into life, as they soon became the dominant force and should have taken the lead 10 minutes later – Son shooting straight at Jack Butland when played through on goal.

Bruno Martins Indi then had to be alert just after the half-hour mark, with the Dutchman making a vital block to deny Serge Aurier after good play by Dele Alli.

Spurs struggled to craft further chances for the remainder of the half, however, as they failed to click in the final third.

But Spurs finally carved the hosts open in the 52nd minute.

Alli latched on to a pass played over the Stoke defence, patiently waited for support in the penalty area and picked out Eriksen with a well-placed cut-back, the Denmark international stroking the ball into the bottom-left corner.

Stoke levelled soon after, however, as Lloris smashed a clearance against Diouf and the striker tapped into the empty goal.

Spurs' lead was restored just after the hour as Eriksen doubled his tally, the playmaker awarded the goal despite Kane claiming to have got the slightest of touches to his free-kick.

Xherdan Shaqiri almost secured Stoke a share of the spoils 10 minutes from time, but his free-kick came back off the crossbar and Spurs held on to the victory which leaves them only behind third-placed Liverpool on goal difference.


Key Opta Facts:

- Mauricio Pochettino took charge of his 200th Premier League game (W103 D53 L44); the first non-European manager to reach the landmark in the competition.
- Spurs have won more Premier League away games at the bet365 Stadium than any other team (7).
- Stoke have conceded 63 Premier League goals this season, the most they've shipped in a single league campaign since 2005-06 (63).
- Spurs are on the longest current unbeaten run in the Premier League (14 – W11 D3), and are the only side yet to lose in 2018.
- Christian Eriksen scored a brace vs Stoke, taking his tally to 10 Premier League goals this season – his joint-best return in a single campaign (also 10 in 2014-15).
- Mame Biram Diouf has scored as many Premier League goals in 2017-18 (6) as he did in his previous two campaigns combined.
- Dele Alli has provided more league assists this season than in any other campaign (10).