TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR maintained their charge towards the Barclays Premier League crown as they inflicted a crushing 4-0 defeat upon Mark Hughes’ men at the Britannia Stadium.
Braces from Harry Kane and Dele Alli deservedly claimed maximum spoils for the North Londoners and more importantly closed the gap on Barclays Premier League leaders Leicester City to just five points.
The Potters went into the game on the back of a disappointing defeat at Liverpool eight days earlier and appeared to be suffering the after-effects of that defeat in front of the live television cameras on Monday evening.
It took England international Kane just nine minutes to exquisitely curl home his 23rd goal of the season to put the visitors into the ascendency - a lead they never looked like relinquishing.
Their confidence was flowing and with each surge forward they looked likely to add to their evening tally with the likes of Kane and Alli in particular wrecking havoc within the City backline.
Christian Eriksen had already rattled the woodwork by the time Alli exquisitely linked home Spurs’ second shortly after the half-time interval.
Austrian international Marko Arnautovic, who was one of three changes to the starting 11 with Given and Glenn Whelan, forced Hugo Lloris into a good save but that was as good as it got for the home side.
Alli smashed another effort inches over the bar when well positioned on the hour mark whilst he endured a moment of embarrassment on what was a memorable night for the 22-year-old when he rounded Given and then hit the woodwork with the goal at his mercy.
Still, he, nor his teammates, allowed that miss to deter them as they continued to up the ante and soon found themselves three goals to the good.
Erik Lamela used his pace to latch onto another delightful through ball before closing in on Given and then unselfishly opting to square to the unmarked Kane who was presented with undoubtedly the easiest of his haul for the season.
Hughes opted to introduce Charlie Adam at the expense of Whelan late on, but he was unable to make a telling contribution to proceedings with the game well out of the Potters’ reach.
In fact, it was Mauricio Pochettino’s troops who netted a fourth goal of the evening eight minutes from time courtesy of a thumping Alli volley from 15-yards.