Ten-man Tottenham withstood a determined late come-back from West Ham as Harry Kane’s first-half double proved enough to secure all three points in a heated derby clash at the London Stadium.
It looked like it would be a routine afternoon for Mauricio Pochettino’s men on Saturday when the England striker’s quick double gave the visitors a commanding lead to take into half-time.
Christian Eriksen’s fine effort low into the corner seemed to secure the points on the hour-mark, before Javier Hernandez gave the Hammers a glimmer of hope with a typical header from two-yards.
The game quickly turned on its head though, with summer signing Serge Aurier being shown a red card on his full Premier League debut, and Cheikhou Kouyate’s late effort set up a frantic final few minutes.
Tottenham managed to hold out though for a critical three points – their third consecutive away win of the season – which saw them keep the pace with early leaders Manchester United and Manchester City.
21 – Kane thrives on derby pressure
If there’s ever a man that loves nothing more than rising to the big occasion of a London derby then that man is Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who continued his exceptional recent record on Saturday.
The 24-year-old was at his clinical best once again at the London Stadium, blowing the hosts away with a two-goal blitz in the space of just 221 seconds that ultimately earnt his side all three points.
And in scoring his quick-fire double – his 6th and 7th goals against West Ham – it took his overall tally in London derbies to a mightily impressive 21 goals in 29 games, averaging a goal every 113 minutes.
It currently leaves Kane with the best goals-per-minute ratio of anybody to ever score more than ten goals in a London derby, and he could be sitting on an even smaller average had he not agonisingly struck the woodwork twice after the break – including a sublime, dipping free-kick beyond Joe Hart.
All of the talk of his August drought seems to be well and truly diminished now, and as has so often been the case over the past few seasons Tottenham are indebted to another superb display from Kane.
65 – England link-up suits Spurs
If Tottenham are indebted to Kane for his contribution in front of goal at the London Stadium then they also need to be grateful for Dele Alli’s role in the two openers, with the youngster crafting both himself.
Alli has come in for a bit of criticism so far this season after a number of underwhelming individual performances, and although that first goal remains elusive he was far more influential at West Ham.
He timed his run expertly for Tottenham’s first, finding himself in space down the right before picking out the run of Kane with a pinpoint ball that curled out of the reach of the Hammers’ goalkeeper.
His second assist was more fortunate but in falling to Kane it means that 65% of Alli’s assists in the Premier League (11) have been for his England team-mate, continuing their neat on-field chemistry.
83 – Aurier sees red on full Premier League debut
As the 3-2 score-line suggests, Tottenham didn’t quite have it all their own way in east London and one player who left a lasting impression for all the wrong reasons was their summer signing Serge Aurier.
Making his full Premier League debut after coming off the bench against Swansea last week, the former PSG man put in an erratic display that lived up to his reputation from his tenure in the French capital.
There were moments of defensive weakness, moments of attacking brilliance and moments of odd decision-making but his first London derby will be remembered for him earning a needless dismissal.
Whilst it didn’t prove costly in the end – just about – it would have reminded manager Mauricio Pochettino of just how much work needs to be done to make him an all-round better defender.
It also ended an impressive 868-day streak since Tottenham were last shown a red card in the Premier League, dating back to Vlad Chiriches’ sending-off in May 2015 – 83 top-flight games ago.
1 – Hernandez scores as West Ham fall short
Whilst the fact of the matter is that it was another Premier League defeat for West Ham this campaign, manager Slaven Bilic can take a lot of heart from his side’s second-half performance.
They could have easily capitulated once Christian Eriksen slotted home a fourth after 60 minutes but the Hammers rallied and got themselves back into the game – even before Aurier’s sending-off.
And it was perhaps little surprise that the man who hauled his side back into contention was star striker Javier Hernandez, popping up in the six-yard box to register his third goal in six league games.
It was a typical strike from the Mexican, peeling off his marker and firing home at the back-post, meaning that all 40 of Hernandez’s Premier League goals have come from inside the 18-yard area.