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Tottenham Hotspur cut the gap on Leicester City at the top of the Premier League to seven points as they overpowered Manchester United 3-0 at White Hart Lane.
Three goals in six second half minutes won the game for Mauricio Pochettino’s side as they finally made their dominance apparent on the scoreboard.
Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld and Man-of-the-Match Erik Lamela got the goals to ensure Leicester, who went 10 points clear after winning 2-0 at Sunderland in the earlier kick-off, still have plenty to do to win their first-ever top flight crown.
The match was delayed by 30 minutes as Louis Van Gaal’s side arrived late due to traffic problems but it didn’t show as they started the game sharper than their opponents.
However, as with much of this campaign, Utd failed to create many openings and aside from a blistering Anthony Martial run and shot after the break, they showed precious little in the final third.
The performance and the result is another knock to those who would believe that Van Gaal should be allowed stay beyond the end of this season; under this manager this side is desperately mediocre and flaky at times.
Spurs won’t care though as they re-asserted their title credentials and showed they continue to believe they can clinch a first league trophy since 1961.
United started much the brighter, pressing Spurs high up the pitch and not letting them develop any kind of rhythm.
However, the couple of occasions when they closed down on Hugo Lloris’ goal, the Spurs defenders managed to block or crowd out the opposition attackers.
The hosts began to impose themselves on the contest and started to put some pressure on the Utd defence.
On 25 minutes a quick Spurs move led to Alli and Lamela combining to feed Christian Eriksen and the Dane curled a 20-yard effort just past David de Gea’s far post.
Two minutes later they should have taken the lead, de Gea juggling a cross in front of Harry Kane, the forward controlling it but was denied by a superb saving tackle from the impressive Timothy Fosu-Mensah. The ball was then worked to Eriksen who floated the ball to the back post to Lamela who somehow headed wide from four yards out.
Utd began to creak and with the next attack Kyle Walker stripped Marcos Rojo, surging into the penalty area but his effort was blocked by another last-ditch tackle.
Spurs continued to dominate after the break with Eriksen and Kane both testing de Gea from range.
Out of nowhere Utd nearly had the lead, Martial did brilliantly to cut inside and skip past three Spurs defenders before taking aim from 10 yards; however, his effort was far too close to Lloris who easily palmed the ball away.
The deadlock was final broken in the 70th minute when Kane freed Eriksen in space down the right and the playmaker’s first time ball was perfect for the onrushing Alli who buried the chance from close range.
The lead was doubled when Lamela’s free-kick was met by Alderweireld – outjumping the sluggish Rojo – who powered home a header in off the far post.
Spurs grabbed their third goal in six minutes when Danny Rose, in acres of space down the left, sent over a low cross which Lamela knocked past the helpless de Gea.
Alli almost had a fourth late on but he hit the outside of the post on the stretch, although the referee may have blown for offside had it gone in.
It mattered little though as Spurs showed they’re not ready to give up the title without a fight while Utd demonstrated how far they are away from a challenge of their own under the current manager.
Divock Origi came off the bench to grab a brace as Liverpool hammered Stoke 4-1 at Anfield to climb above their opponents into eighth place in the Premier League.
A thunderbolt from Alberto Moreno put the Merseysiders ahead early on before typical defensive uncertainty allowed Bojan to head in Stoke's equaliser minutes later.
Daniel Sturridge nodded home from close range after some great work from Sheyi Ojo to regain the lead before Origi headed home on 50 minutes to put clear distance between the sides.
The Belgian got his second 15 minutes later when his attempted cross drifted all the way into the back of the net past Jakob Haugaard.