Tottenham Hotspur thrashed a depleted Watford 4-1 at Vicarage Road on Sunday to keep pace with the leaders at the top of the Premier League.
England internationals Harry Kane and Dele Alli both scored twice as the visitors warmed up for their huge clash at home to Chelsea on Wednesday night in perfect style.
Despite Younes Kaboul’s injury-time consolation for the Hornets, Tottenham still increased their goal difference to +23 after scoring four times on the road in consecutive league games for the first time since 1960.
As a result, Mauricio Pochettino’s side trail leaders Chelsea by 10 points, while Watford have dropped to 13th.
The Hornets made four changes from the team that drew 1-1 at home to Crystal Palace last time out, with Craig Cathcart, Juan Zuniga, Abdoulaye Doucoure and captain Troy Deeney all recalled.
However, an already under-strength Watford were forced into making a late change to their starting line-up after Zuniga injured himself in the warm-up, with Odion Ighalo replacing him.
Meanwhile, Spurs made four alterations from the side that won 4-1 at Southampton in midweek, with defenders Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker both suspended, meaning starts for Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld and Kevin Wimmer at the back, with Moussa Sissoko and Mousa Dembele dropping down to the bench.
But if Watford thought those changes were going to affect the visitors in the first half, they were mistaken as a rampant Spurs tore into their opponents right from the off.
Alli came close to opening the scoring just before the half-hour mark with a rasping 25-yard drive that beat Heurelho Gomes, but not the bar, before the visitors did make a deserved breakthrough moments later.
Trippier, who spent most of the first half playing as a right winger, found an unmarked Kane in the box with a clever ball, before the striker beat Gomes at the near post with a cool finish.
Minutes later it was a case of déjà vu as Trippier was found in space on the right, before the full back’s inviting centre was stabbed home by Kane in the six-yard box for his 59th goal on his 100th Premier League appearance for Spurs.
The recalled Heung-Min Son could and should have further increased his side’s lead, only to somehow side-foot wide of a gaping goal after being picked out by Christian Eriksen’s inch-perfect free kick from the left-hand touchline.
That miss was soon forgotten, though, as Alli got his first of the game, although Watford’s defending for the goal left a lot to be desired as Kaboul made a hash of clearing Kane’s cross from the left, before Alli nipped in ahead of Cathcart to make it 3-0 four minutes before the break.
However, if that was poor defending by the home team, it got even worse just one minute into the second half as Alli scored his fifth league goal in his last three matches.
The Hornets needlessly gave away possession to Kane, who then picked out Alli, totally alone in oceans of space in the box, with the 20-year-old keeping his cool to beat Gomes at his near post.
At that point it looked like Spurs might rack up a cricket score, but with Pochettino opting to rest key men Alli, Kane and Rose for the Chelsea game, the contest petered out in the final quarter, before Kaboul’s late intervention against his former club.