LONDON, March 11, (AFP): Son Heung-Min ensured Tottenham Hotspur didn’t pay a heavy price for an ankle injury suffered by Harry Kane as he scored twice in a win 4-1 at Bournemouth on Sunday.
Spurs move above Liverpool into third in the Premier League, but it was a bittersweet victory with concerns over Kane’s fitness for both club and country.
Elsewhere, Arsenal were also comfortable 3-0 winners over Watford at the Emirates Stadium to snap a run of three straight Premier League defeats.
Tottenham had endured a hugely disappointing Champions League exit at the hands of Juventus in midweek and still seemed to be reeling as they struggled in the opening 10 minutes.
Junior Stanislas had already hit the bar with a clear chance before he opened the scoring by firing low into the far corner just seven minutes in.
Kane did have the ball in the net when he collided with Asmir Begovic just before the half-hour mark, but the offside flag had already been raised.
And much worse was to come for the visitors when Kane failed to return as he limped away to protect the same right ankle that saw him spend two short spells on the sidelines last season.
Spurs didn’t wallow for long, though, as just a minute after Erik Lamela replaced Kane, they levelled when Dele Alli steered home Serge Aurier’s excellent cross.
The visitors always looked the likelier side to score after half-time and Son continued his scintillating form by acrobatically turning home Alli’s cross.
And with Bournemouth pushing for an equaliser, the South Korean had acres of space to run through and slot home his 18th goal of the season three minutes from time.
Indeed, only a super save from Begovic denied Son his hat-trick moments later.
But the Bournemouth ‘keeper was at fault as he parried Kieran Trippier’s cross into Aurier’s path, and the Ivorian headed home Spurs’ fourth in stoppage time.
Earlier, Arsenal eased the mounting pressure on Arsene Wenger by easing past Watford for a first Premier League win for five weeks.
Former Borussia Dortmund duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan again showed their fine relationship for the Gunners by teeing each other up to score in the second half after Shkodran Mustafi had headed the hosts into the lead.
Watford could have got back into the game at 2-0, but Troy Deeney saw his penalty saved by Petr Cech.
That was a sweet moment for the home fans, as Deeney had questioned Arsenal’s heart when the Hornets won the corresponding fixture in October.
“We have had a disappointing period and our supporters suffered like we suffered,” said Wenger.
“But our job is to perform and stick together in important moments and get the fans back on side.”
It was the first spot-kick the Czech ‘keeper had saved in three years with Arsenal and it ensured he also became the first man to register 200 clean sheets in the Premier League.
“It is an unbelievable personal milestone, but the most important thing is to win and so it was defeats that were more frustrating,” said Cech.
Meanwhile, Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero will miss Monday’s Premier League trip to Stoke due to a knee injury.
However, the Argentine is hopeful of being sidelined for just two weeks, which should see him return in time for City’s next fixture at Everton on March 31.
“During yesterday’s training I had a discomfort on my left knee,” Aguero posted on his official Twitter account.
“The club’s doctors told me I’ll be back with the team in approximately two weeks. Now it’s time for a full recovery!”
Aguero is also a doubt for Argentina’s World Cup warm-up friendlies against Italy and Spain on March 23 and 27 respectively.
The 29-year-old’s next goal for City will be his 200th for the club having netted 30 times already this season.
Pep Guardiola’s men seem destined to land the Premier League title as they hold a 13-point lead and have a game in hand over closest challengers Manchester United.
However, Aguero will have a big part to play if City are to land a first ever Champions League after easing into the quarter-finals for just the second time in the club’s history with a 5-2 aggregate win over Basel in the last 16.
P W D L GF GA Pts
Man City 29 25 3 1 83 20 78
Man Utd 30 20 5 5 58 23 65
Tottenham 30 18 7 5 59 25 61
Liverpool 30 17 9 4 68 34 60
Chelsea 30 17 5 8 52 27 56
Arsenal 30 14 6 10 55 41 48
Burnley 30 11 10 9 27 26 43
Leicester 30 10 10 10 45 43 40
Everton 30 10 7 13 35 49 37
Watford 30 10 6 14 39 50 36
Brighton 30 8 10 12 28 40 34
Bournemouth 30 8 9 13 35 48 33
Newcastle 30 8 8 14 30 40 32
Swansea 30 8 7 15 25 42 31
Huddersfield 30 8 7 15 25 50 31
West Ham 30 7 9 14 36 57 30
Southampton 30 5 13 12 29 44 28
Palace 30 6 9 15 28 48 27
Stoke 29 6 9 14 28 54 27
West Brom 30 3 11 16 23 47 20
Note: Standings read as played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against and points.