Tottenham's Harry Kane celebrates his hat-trick against Stoke during an EPL tie in London yesterday. Pic/AFP
London: Harry Kane scored a first-half hat-trick as Tottenham battered Stoke 4-0 and climbed up to second in the Premier League table.
Spurs were at their swaggering best at White Hart Lane but Stoke contributed to their own demise with an abject display of defending, with Kane more than happy to cash in, before Dele Alli added a fourth on the stroke of half time.
Kane's strikes in the 14th, 32nd and 37th minutes mean the striker has now scored two hat-tricks in a week and three in nine appearances, coming on the heels of trebles against West Brom in the league and Fulham in the FA Cup last weekend.
Victory also sees Tottenham leapfrog Manchester City, reducing the gap behind leaders Chelsea back to 10 points while pulling four clear of Liverpool in fifth. Meanwhile Stoke stay 10th.
Harry, a valuable asset
For all Mauricio Pochettino's flourishing young talents, this was a clear reminder that Kane remains Spurs' most valuable asset. The 23-year-old's first goal was his 100th at club level and meant he has now hit the 20-goal mark for the third season in a row.
Alli's goal also gave the midfielder a semblance of redemption after his midweek sending off against Gent as Spurs exited the Europa League.
Kane grabbed his second as Eriksen's chipped corner found him free on the edge of the box and the striker sent a fine left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
The England striker then completed his hat-trick five minutes later, albeit this time with a heavy dose of fortune. Eriksen shaped to shoot from a free-kick but instead rolled it right to Kane, whose stinging drive clipped Crouch's foot in the wall and deflected past Lee Grant.
Charlie Adam — still vilified in these parts for his unseemly tackle inflicted on Gareth Bale five years ago — was booked to rapturous cheers and if it felt like Tottenham's perfect half could not get any better, they added a fourth.
Stoke's brutal Kane-ning
Bruno Martins Indi was the latest perpetrator of some inept Stoke defending, allowing Kane to spin in behind down the right and tee up Alli at the back post to slam home. It was not until after half-time that Pochettino had cause for concern as Toby Alderweireld hobbled off with what looked like an injury to his upper left leg to be replaced by Kevin Wimmer. Kane was approaching five consecutive 90 minutes in 15 days, a mark of his own importance but he eventually came off to a standing ovation in the 85th minute.
3 Number of hat-tricks scored by Tottenham's Harry Kane in all competitions this year