Premier League - Tottenham cruise past Bolton
Tottenham assumed second place in the Premier League table after a convincing 3-0 win over 10-man Bolton at White Hart Lane.
It took Gareth Bale just seven minutes to put the hosts in front, exploiting sloppy marking with a cool finish, before Gary Cahill was harshly shown a straight red card for a challenge on Scott Parker.
A barrage of pressure and chances ensued from the rampant home side scored through Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe in a second half blitz to secure the three points which lift Harry Redknapp's side above Manchester United into second place.
An injury to Ledley King meant William Gallas was handed his first Premier League start of the season and Defoe was again preferred to Rafael van der Vaart as Tottenham looked to stretch their unbeaten run to 11 matches, while Bolton made one change to the team that lost 2-0 to Everton, with Dedryck Boyata coming in for the suspended David Wheater in defence.
Gary Speed had a three-and-a-half year spell at Bolton, and a minute's applause preceded kick-off in tribute to the Welshman, and within seven minutes Bale made a tribute to his former Wales boss after opening the scoring.
Bale stole in at the near post to stab home from Luca Modric's corner in clinical fashion after slack marking from Bolton enabled him to net his sixth goal of the season and fifth in four league games, before whipping off a red boot and holding it aloft.
Spurs continued to control the possession, but it was Stuart Attwell's decision to send off Cahill in the 18th minute which effectively invited the rout. Zat Knight put his defensive partner under undue pressure with a poor pass before the Tottenham target carved down Parker just inside the Bolton half and was dismissed on the dubious grounds of being the last man.
What followed was a near relentless stream of Spurs pressure as Jussi Jaaskelainen was forced to make a string of stunning saves. One such stop saw the inspired Finn deny Defoe with his legs in the 24th minute as the forward raced into the box and latched on to Aaron Lennon's pinpoint cross.
Seconds later at the other end, Brad Friedel had to effectively wake himself up to backtrack hastily and tip Chris Eagles's shot over the bar after the ball took a vicious deflection off Younes Kaboul.
A flurry of clear-cut chances followed, with Bale driving a wild shot over the bar from close range, and Jaaskelainen making a superb double save to deny the Welshman and Defoe seconds later as the hosts continued to press forward incessantly.
Finally, the second goal arrived just five minutes after the restart as Kyle Walker, Emmanuel Adebayor and Defoe all combined to good effect before Lennon shuffled inside from the right with exquisite footwork before crashing an emphatic finish beyond Jaaskelainen into the far corner of the net.
It was Tottenham's turn to feel aggrieved in the 56th minute as Benoit Assou-Ekotto zipped down the left, cut inside and was clumsily tripped inside the Bolton box by Kevin Davies, but referee Attwell again defied expected decision and awarded a corner to the disbelief of the home fans.
But the feeling of discontent did not last for long as Defoe marked the hour with a cool finish after more diabolical marking from a set piece cost Bolton dearly as the forward was afforded a simple goal from a corner.
Jaaskelainen further distinguished himself late on with fine saves from Bale and Parker as the Bolton goalkeeper spared his side the ignominy of a real thrashing, while the woodwork came to the visitors rescue when the Finn was eventually beaten Defoe as drove a low shot against the near post.
Spurs have now won six consecutive Premier League games for the first time in the club's history while leapfrogging United into second place in the table, albeit with the champions facing Aston Villa in the late kick-off, while Coyle was left to bemoan a poor refereeing decision and his side's frailties at the back after another chastening defeat.