Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs held onto a narrow lead late on at The London Stadium on Saturday lunchtime to condemn us to a fourth League defeat in our last six League fixtures.
The clash, featuring Live on Sky Sports, was a classic feisty and end-to-end London Derby and for the visitors, three points meant revenge from two consecutive away defeats at the hands of Slaven Bilic.
The Lilywhites made a fast start in capitalizing on a string of individual errors, typical of last season from our defence, racing ahead thanks to goals from Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen.
However, we came roaring back soon after and made things interesting with strikes from Chicharito and Cheikhou Kouyate, but the visitors held on in the end with no thanks to a 70th minute Serge Aurier red card.
From the start, Slaven Bilic had made seven changes from the Carabao Cup win over Bolton Wanderers, as Joe Hart, Jose Fonte, Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Pablo Zabaleta, Michail Antonio and Javier Hernandez all came back into the Side.
Whereas, for Spurs, Jan Vertonghen, Moussa Sissoko, and Dele Alli were the only survivors from Tuesday night’s Barnsley win, with Pochettino opting for one more change than his counterpart Bilic.
The Game started positively from our perspective, much to the delight of the crammed London Stadium, as Marko Arnautovic muscled his way through early on, only to be denied by some superb Aurier defending.
However, we would duly have our attacking threat mustered by a damaging injury to Michail Antonio, after he passed a late Fitness Test but was forced off and replaced by Andy Carroll in the 28th minute.
It was to be the former England striker at fault for Hotspur’s opener on 34 minutes, as his misguided pass found Eriksen who set up Alli to find the head of Kane with the ball bulging the net via the post.
Just moments later, the lead was doubled by Kane yet again. Vertonghen slipped in Alli yet again as he provided his second assist of the encounter in the form of an effort that was initially saved by Hart but fell to the England forward to pass into an empty net.
There were questions asked of Hart after storming off his line rather needlessly, but there was nothing that he could have done to stop Spurs tripling their advantage the other side of the Break.
A wondrous Harry Kane free-kick had come within inches of finding the bottom corner instead striking the post, just moments before Aurier’s deflected delivery was volleyed home by Eriksen to effectively wrap up the points 60 minutes.
Despite this, we soon hit back as Javier Hernandez bagged his first London Stadium goal by sneaking a Jose Fonte flick underneath past Lloris to make things a bit more interesting.
In an incredible turn of events, Referee Michael Oliver rightfully dismissed Serge Aurier for a second bookable offense after his ill-fated lung on Andy Carroll, this would throw the outcome wide open.
After 20 or so minutes of plugging away at the Spurs defence, we finally broke through to get within touching distance of a point in East London.
Arthur Masuaku, who netted a thunderbolt against The Trotters last Tuesday, provided a superb cross to find the head of Kouyate, whose header crashed into the roof of the net and raised the roof of The Stadium in Stratford.
However, a full comeback wasn’t to be and for the first time in three seasons, Mauricio Pochettino’s Side had beaten us away from home, just about.
Victory for Spurs ensures a fantastic start to September, with an unbeaten three wins from four in all Competitions and a certain fourth place with their name on it. Next week, The Lilywhites welcome Huddersfield Town to Wembley in the Saturday early kick-off.
Meanwhile, Bilic has been plunged back into hard times after an unbeaten run of three as we fall back into The Relegation Zone. One would surely feel that next Saturday’s clash with Swansea City, much like the Huddersfield Game, is an absolute must-win in Stratford.
Hammer of the Match: Pablo Zabaleta.