Harry Kane stands out in Tottenham's team victory over Bournemouth
Tottenham's Europa League exit against Borussia Dortmund may have been disappointing, but the star men who were rested for Thursday's second leg seemed to benefit from the break, producing key performances in Sunday's comfortable home win over Bournemouth. Harry Kane stole the show, following last weekend's brace against Aston Villa with another double, putting Spurs 2-0 up after just 16 minutes.
The 22-year-old has now scored 21 times in the Premier League this season and has moved clear at the top of the goal-scorers' chart. He has already matched his tally of top-flight goals from last season, which looked a tough challenge in itself at the start of the 2015-16 campaign.
Kyle Walker, Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele also returned to the starting lineup and made important contributions. Walker set up Kane's opener 44 seconds after kickoff and Eriksen struck the third goal, while Dembele brought his customary poise and power to the midfield.
Tougher challenges lie ahead -- Spurs face Liverpool and Manchester United in their next two games -- but another hurdle has been comfortably cleared and Mauricio Pochettino's side are five points off the top again. In doing so, they have also extended their lead over fifth-placed West Ham to 11 points and are looking increasingly assured of Champions League qualification.
Player ratings (1-10; 10= best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Hugo Lloris, 6 -- Rarely tested and was mostly a spectator but commanded his area well as usual.
DF Kyle Walker, 8 -- Set up the opening goal with a fine, low cross and continued to provide width, stretching Bournemouth. He was also involved in a second-half break and shot across goal.
DF Toby Alderweireld, 7 -- Defended calmly on the few occasions when the Cherries threatened and looked to free his attacking teammates with a number of balls over the top.
DF Kevin Wimmer, 8 -- Hit a number of crossfield balls to find Walker in space and played a well-disguised, incisive pass between the lines to Dele Alli to help create the second goal. There was some concern when the Austrian went down with an ankle injury in the second half, but luckily, he was able to shake it off.
DF Danny Rose, 7 -- Gave the visitors plenty to think about with his enterprising runs down the left flank and fired into the side netting from Eriksen's cross. The left-back has fully earned his England call-up, and he merits an overdue international debut in the next fortnight.
DF Eric Dier, 7 -- Played sensibly and crucially avoided a booking that would have ruled him out of the next two games against Liverpool and Man United. A number of Spurs fans would have winced as he raced back and slid in from behind to challenge Lewis Grabban in the second half, but the Sporting Lisbon academy product timed the tackle perfectly. It was a little surprising that Pochettino waited until the 90th minute to take the 22-year-old out of the fray.
DF Mousa Dembele, 7 -- Gave Spurs a solid base in midfield once again, protecting the defence and winning possession on a number of occasions while probing for openings in front of him. The Belgian helped to control the game and ensure Bournemouth never got a look in.
MF Erik Lamela, 6 -- While he played his part in Spurs' build-up play and a dominant victory, the Argentine was relatively quiet in the final third and was withdrawn after the hour mark, having also played 75 minutes on Thursday.
MF Dele Alli, 8 -- Having set up both of Kane's goals against Villa, the 19-year-old assisted the striker's second goal on Sunday with a neat through ball. He nearly got on the score sheet himself but saw a goal disallowed in the first half before unfortunately fluffing his lines when Eriksen teed him up eight yards out in the final 10 minutes.
MF Christian Eriksen, 8 -- Lively throughout, linking the play nicely and demonstrating his vision and class with clever touches and passes. The Dane created chances for Rose and Alli in each half and was in the right place at the right time to score a deserved goal.
FW Harry Kane, 9 -- Maintained his fine form with two clinical finishes while setting up a number of chances for his teammates and helping out in his own penalty box, notably jumping in to make a strong tackle on Joshua King as the Bournemouth man wriggled free and prepared to shoot. A superb all-round performance.
MF Tom Carroll, 7 -- Replaced Lamela in the 66th minute and passed the ball around neatly to help maintain Tottenham's dominance.
MF Ryan Mason, NR -- Came on in place of Alli with eight minutes left and nearly made an immediate impact, running in behind and drawing a low save from Artur Boruc.
MF Nacer Chadli, NR -- Got a brief run-out for the final moments after replacing Dier.
Ben covers Spurs for Ham & High, the local weekly newspaper for Hampstead and Highgate, and the Hackney Gazette. Twitter: @BenPearceSpurs.