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2017/2018 English Premier League
  • Dele Alli (16')
  • Harry Kane (48')

Harry Kane and Tottenham hold off Watford to pad top-four lead

Harry Kane did his talking on the pitch as Tottenham reasserted themselves in the race for the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Watford.

Kane was mocked by the FA Cup's official Twitter feed last week following Manchester United's semi-final win, something boss Mauricio Pochettino called "embarrassing,'' and the England striker responded the only way he knows how by firing in his 27th league goal of the season.

Kane scored three minutes after the break, following Dele Alli's first-half opener, to give on-looking England boss Gareth Southgate plenty to smile about and also strengthen his side's top-four aspirations.

Fifth-placed Chelsea had whittled down a 10-point deficit to just two before kick-off but Spurs took that back to five with three games remaining and are in a good position to secure a third successive season of playing elite European football.

For Watford, the end of the season cannot come quickly enough as they are now winless in seven and still not mathematically safe, sitting six points clear of the drop zone.

Any nerves Spurs might have had were settled when they took a 16th-minute lead, though they had Watford goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis to thank for the opener.

The Greece international inexplicably dropped a routine cross from Kieran Trippier, allowing Christian Eriksen to tee up Alli, who made no mistake from eight yards.

It was his fifth goal in the last eight games as he continues to respond well to being overlooked by Southgate during the last international break.

That should have been the platform for the hosts to kick on and take the game by the scruff of the neck, but they were reliant on goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to keep their lead in tact.

The Frenchman first got down well to deny Andre Gray after sloppy play by Eric Dier and then superbly kept out Richarlison's low shot after the Brazilian had been sent racing clear.

Half-time proved the tonic Tottenham needed and they assumed a tighter grip on the game just three minutes after the restart.

Kane was primed to tap in Son Heung-min's cross but lost his footing at the vital moment, only to get back on his feet and turn home Trippier's centre from the other side.

The goal took him to within four of Golden Boot frontrunner Mohamed Salah and that should have gone to three midway through the second half but only he will know how he did not convert into an empty net from a yard out after Jan Vertonghen's header hit the post.

The Hornets have not scored an away goal under Javi Gracia and their fans might be wondering if they ever will again after Richarlison shockingly blasted over from close range.

Kane did find the back of the net again, though he had strayed offside, while Moussa Sissoko missed a golden chance at the death when he fired over, but Spurs' work had been done by then.

English Premier League Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 Liverpool 12 +18 34
2 Leicester City 12 +21 26
3 Chelsea 12 +10 26
4 Manchester City 12 +22 25
5 Sheffield United 12 +4 17
6 Arsenal 12 -1 17
7 Manchester United 12 +4 16
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 12 +1 16
9 AFC Bournemouth 12 0 16
10 Burnley 12 -1 15
11 Brighton & Hove Albion 12 -2 15
12 Crystal Palace 12 -6 15
13 Newcastle United 12 -7 15
14 Tottenham Hotspur 12 +1 14
15 Everton 12 -5 14
16 West Ham United 12 -6 13
17 Aston Villa 12 -3 11
18 Watford 12 -15 8
19 Southampton 12 -18 8
20 Norwich City 12 -17 7