Christian Eriksen’s double helped earn Tottenham Hotspur a comfortable 4-1 win over Sunderland to reignite their Premier League title challenge and plunge their visitors into deeper trouble at the other end of the table.
Eriksen struck either side of halftime and even though there was a touch of fortune to both goals, the Danish international’s uncanny habit of scoring against Sunderland made for a second miserable trip to north London in a week for Sam Allardyce’s men.
Just as in the 3-1 FA Cup loss at Arsenal, Sunderland took a first-half lead against the run of play, this time from Patrick van Aanholt, only to end up suffering a comprehensive defeat, with Mousa Dembele and Harry Kane, who notched his 15th goal of the season from the penalty spot, also on target.
After Van Aanholt had scored five minutes before halftime, Spurs responded within a minute and a half when Eriksen’s shot found the net with the help of Lee Cattermole’s knee as he attempted to clear off the line.
Having lost two of their last three top-flight matches at White Hart Lane, Spurs needed to raise their game after the break and were helped when Allardyce, in a bid to shore up Sunderland’s defence, brought on his new signing Jan Kirchhoff.
Yet the German suffered a miserable Premier League debut as, within minutes, Spurs struck twice, first through Dembele’s left-foot strike and then as Eriksen’s shot took a deflection off Kirchhoff, who had made a feeble attempt to block.
The hapless Kirchhoff then brought down Danny Rose, allowing Kane to make it four 11 minutes from the end, a fate that Sunderland’s rookie goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, certainly did not deserve after a fine performance.