Tottenham overcame the absence of leading scorer Harry Kane to secure a hard-fought win over Southampton that ensures they remain second in the table heading into the international break.
Goals from Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli – the latter a penalty – in an effective display underlined that Spurs are more than just their talismanic 24-goal striker.
The win extends Tottenham’s club-record run of successive home Premier League wins to 10, the same number of points by which they trail leaders Chelsea.
Southampton lost in-form striker Manolo Gabbiadini to injury in the first half but gave a good account of themselves in the second, at the start of which James Ward-Prowse scored from close range.
But they were unable to gain parity as Tottenham’s stubborn backline and industrious central midfield held them at bay.
The defeat leaves the Saints 10th in the table and needing an improbable 30 points from the 33 left available to them in their remaining 11 games to match last season’s tally of 63.
With Chelsea in superb form, this season’s title race is unlikely to go as deep into the season as the last campaign, but Tottenham will be hopeful of improving on their third-place finish by at least one spot.
No Kane, but Spurs remain able
Prior to Sunday’s match, Spurs had won just three of nine top-flight games without Kane this campaign, during which they had managed just eight goals.
However, one of those victories was the impressive 2-0 triumph over Manchester City in October, illustrating that there are goals elsewhere in this talented Spurs side – a fact Eriksen and Alli demonstrated on Sunday with their 10th and 17th goals of the campaign respectively.
Eriksen’s strike was powerful, low and accurate to find the bottom corner of Fraser Forster’s net after he had collected a pass from Mousa Dembele, while Alli’s penalty was efficiently dispatched after he had been fouled in the box by Steven Davis.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino had urged summer signing Vincent Janssen to step up in Kane’s absence, but opted instead to start Son Heung-min, who scored a hat-trick in last weekend’s 6-0 FA Cup win over League One Millwall.
The South Korean had two good chances to carry on Kane’s good work but failed to convert either as Forster turned away his shot in just the third minute before his sluggishness in the box allowed a tackle to deny him once more.
He was replaced by Harry Winks as Spurs were forced into a more conservative approach in the second half, while Janssen was handed a late cameo that saw him draw a good save from Forster with a powerful drive.