Dele Alli’s double spared Harry Kane’s blushes as the midfielder helped Tottenham to an emphatic 4-1 win against 10-man Southampton.
Kane scored one but missed a penalty at St Mary’s as two goals from Alli and another from substitute Son Heung-min sealed an impressive victory for Spurs.
Virgil van Dijk had earlier put Saints ahead within 73 seconds but Tottenham came back to lead after two headers from Kane and Alli.
Nathan Redmond was then sent off just before the hour by referee Mike Dean for denying Alli a goalscoring opportunity only for Kane to blaze the spot-kick over the bar.
The miss proved inconsequential, however, as substitute Son and then Alli sealed the win, which sends Tottenham back to within a point of Arsenal in fourth.
John Cross rates the players’ performances…
Rooted to the spot on Alli’s equaliser and badly beaten on Kane’s header.
Stuck to his task at right back, tenacious in defence and good going forward.
Southampton poor in defence but he made two outstanding blocks.
Van Dijk 6
Started well with a towering header but Southampton defended poorly overall.
His raiding runs forward were a good outlet. Had to work hard defensively.
Lovely whipped free kick for Van Dijk’s opener. Busy midfield display.
Does a disciplined job protecting the defence. Powerful and strong.
Busy, always looking to keep the ball moving and get Saints going.
Lively start, his pace caused problems but was sent off for pulling back Alli.
Showing more confidence an caused Tottenham’s defence problems early on.
Some classy touches, looks a quality player but clearly still adapting.
Yoshida, Long, Tadic, Martina, Reed, Højbjerg, Taylor
Left helpless on Southampton’s opener. Relatively quiet night otherwise.
Supported well in attack as his overlapping runs really pinned Southampton back.
Has not been so impressive this season, Spurs miss him in midfield.
Good solid display in defence but he really misses his partner Alderweireld.
Drives forward brilliantly from left back. Has enjoyed superb 2016.
Booked. Shown yellow after a foul on Redmond. Looked a harsh decision.
Dreadful start on return to St Mary’s, conceded free kick which led to opener.
Much better display, power and energy. His cross led to equaliser.
Alli 8 (MotM)
Brilliant header to bring Tottenham level. His runs and energy a class apart.
Lively but some of his long range shooting was wayward. Caused problems.
Headed brilliant goal but then skied a penalty over the crossbar.
Son Heung-min, Janssen, Vorm, Nkoudou, Wimmer, Winks, Davies.