Tottenham Hotspur moved back to within five points of Premier League leaders Leicester City as they beat Bournemouth 3-0 at White Hart Lane.
Spurs dominated from the off in north London, taking the lead in the opening minute, and ruthlessly punished the Cherries before easing off with the game won and their opponents’ spirit barely intact.
Harry Kane struck twice in the first period and Christian Eriksen got the third as Mauricio Pochettino’s men outclassed Eddie Howe’s charges, who are all-but safe from the threat of relegation.
It didn’t take long for Spurs to claim the lead on home soil – 44 seconds to be precise – as Kyle Walker’s tantalising cross was nudged into the back of the net by Kane, for his 20th Premier Leaguegoal of the campaign.
Excellent midfield play from Eriksen and Dele Alli saw Tottenham surging forward but a tightly packed Cherries defence did well to stifle them and halt their progress early on.
Bournemouth looked solid out of possession but with the ball they struggled to find their way into the final third as Spurs pressed them and forced errors.
And with 16 minutes gone Kane grabbed his second of the match as he latched onto a fine Alli pass and slid a left foot shot inside the far post.
Two minutes later Danish international Eriksen nearly made it 3-0 but lashed a volley on the turn over the bar as he looked for his first goal since netting the winner against Manchester City on Valentine’s Day.
Danny Rose has been named in Roy Hodgson’s England squad to face Germany and the Netherlands in their upcoming friendly clashes and his pace is more than deserved. His smart defensive work stopped Josh King and set up a Spurs counter which saw Erik Lamela’s effort on goal blocked.
Eight minutes before the break Alli thought he’d given Tottenham a third when he crashed in a flicked on Eric Dier cross but, after a stunning move covering most of the White Hart Lane pitch, his team-mate Kane was ruled offside as the ball was played in.
A Steve Cook header with 41 minutes gone represented Bournemouth’s first real chance on goal but Alli’s snapshot moments later suggested the centre-back’s effort was to be one of few for the visitors across the 90 minutes.
At the break, Howe attempted to change the match by bring on striker Lewis Grabban for Benik Afobe and midfielder Eunan O’Kane on for Harry Arter.
The changes appeared to give the Cherries a boost as they had an early free-kick and corner but soon Kane was causing them all sorts of problems again as he outmuscled his marker and fed Walker, who slid a strike wide of the far post.
And seven minutes after the restart Spurs finally got their third. Kane’s snapshot from range was parried by Artur Boruc and Eriksen followed up the strike, tapping home with ease past the stranded Pole.
Kane was a menace throughout and his lively movement nearly saw him connect with an Eric Dier through ball and even weighed in defensively, making one tackle in his own box to stop King before robbing his opponents of possession in his own half.
Tom Carroll entered the fray for Spurs in place of Erik Lamela as Pochettino looked to tighten things up, although they still poured forward when the chances arose.
Bournemouth could have had a few more attempts on goal but crossing from the likes of ex-Tottenham youngster Adam Smith lacked quality and often flew aimlessly out of bounds.
With their foot well and truly off the gas, Spurs simply took hold of the ball and passed their opponents into submission with Alli almost adding a fourth after a stunning turn and pass from Eriksen.
It was to be the English starlet’s last moment on the pitch as Ryan Mason replaced him and quickly marked his entrance by lashing a strike on goal and forcing Boruc into fine stop.
Mason and Eriksen were again denied in the closing stages as Tottenham showed no mercy but Bournemouth were able to hold off their opponents until the final whistle.