Son Heung-min’s double gave Tottenham a huge victory in the Champions League qualifying race as they beat West Ham 3-1.
The South Korean scored twice after also being involved in Kurt Zouma’s own goal as Spurs recorded four of five Premier League wins to close the gap on fourth-placed Arsenal.
They are now three points behind the Gunners, who have a game in hand but are yet to visit their north London rivals in a clash that has yet to be postponed.
Antonio Conte’s men, who also climbed above the Hammers, will believe they have the momentum in the battle for the Top 4 as they sign up for the international style break.
This was a devastating defeat for West Ham, who scored through Said Benrahma in their own quest for the top four as they are six points behind the Gunners, who have played two games more and winning the Europa League is now theirs most realistic way to get Champions League football next season.
The Hammers’ effort against Sevilla on Thursday night must have played a role as Tottenham made an impressive start and took the lead in the ninth minute, becoming the beneficiaries of another own goal.
Matt Doherty won the ball high up the field with good pressing, Harry Kane found Son and the final touch came from Kurt Zouma – the sixth time an opposing player broke his own net against Spurs this season.
West Ham should have equalized almost immediately when Eric Dier was deflected off the ball by Michail Antonio but he drilled inches wide.
Just inches, Spurs also denied a second shortly after when a forge run from Dejan Kulusevski followed by a one-two with Kane saw him break into the pits and his retreat was turned onto a post by Son.
The South Korean finally scored as Spurs doubled their lead in the 24th minute when he paired again with Kane.
Kane’s pass, which split the defense, sent him clear and he whipped the ball past Lukasz Fabianski with the help of a deflector.
Spurs were in total control but they let West Ham back into the game 10 minutes before the break as they were penalized for a poor defense.
Doherty conceded an unnecessary corner that was allowed to go to the far post where Benrahma was waiting to be converted after losing his marker.
The second half was on the razor’s edge as both sides had chances in the first 15 minutes.
Kane missed a huge chance to make it 3-1 when Fabianski came out after a strong first touch from Son’s through ball and blocked a save while Antonio fired well over the far post from Aaron Creswell’s cross.
Spurs were starting to find space on the counterattack and Sergio Reguilon had every confidence in the box, he might have been able to extend the lead, but after two Kane passes got him wide, he initially chose to look down for the penalty and then shot directly at Fabianski.
The England captain was then guilty of missing a golden opportunity to end the game with ten minutes left.
A clever pass from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg got him on target but Kane missed his attempt as he tried to swipe the ball over Fabianski.
Spurs finally made sure it wasn’t going to be a jittery ending as Son ended the game in the 88th minute, latching on to Kane’s header and converting with ease for the pair’s 39th Premier League goal combination.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/premier-league/son-bags-brace-as-spurs-close-in-on-top-four-with-win-over-west-ham-41468489.html Son braces as Spurs finish in the top four with a win over West Ham