It is a measure of the quality of this Tottenham Hotspur side that visiting teams can arrive at Wembley in full knowledge of where the danger lies, but leave having been utterly unable to do anything about it.
We can be certain that Everton manager Sam Allardyce will have had a plan for nullifying Harry Kane, who broke yet another goalscoring record here, and the brilliant Son Heung-Min, who is in the form of his life. Yet such is the class of Tottenham’s attacking players that there was never any real hope of it succeeding.
Yes, Everton made mistakes. And yes, there were a handful of individuals who simply did not look up to the required standard against this level of opposition. But this was a Tottenham side that bristled with speed and power, and played with the sort of confidence that one would expect after a run of seven victories in nine games.
Son, who scored the first and created the second, was almost unstoppable on the left, while Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen bestrode the space between Everton’s midfield and defence as if they had conquered it on a battlefield.
And then there was Kane, providing the pointy finish at the end of all the flowery build-up. His two goals here were his 97th and 98th in the Premier League, taking him above Teddy Sheringham as Tottenham’s leading goalscorer in the competition.
By the time Eriksen had lashed in a wonderful fourth, there was almost a sense of sympathy for a filleted Everton outfit who, for the first time since 1960, have lost their first three fixtures of a calendar year.
Having enjoyed such an encouraging start to his time on Merseyside, Allardyce is now without a victory in six matches, and this group of players look a long way from winning any time soon. They have not even mustered a shot on target in three of their last five league games.
“After a wonderful, wonderful start we are back on dangerous ground,” said Allardyce, who added that he was “shocked” by his side’s lack of professionalism. Ominously for any Everton fans who might have expected to see some attacking football in next weekend's meeting with West Bromwich Albion, he added: “Maybe I have a bit of a responsibility for playing too many attack-minded players. I should have perhaps gone back to being a bit more boring and a bit less adventurous.”
There was nothing boring about this Tottenham performance, which was underpinned by the domineering Mousa Dembele in midfield. The Belgian’s control of the game allowed Eriksen, Alli and Son to scythe their way through a disjointed sea of blue, and they in turn provided two of the simplest goals for Kane. No wonder Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, described the performance as “amazing”.
Tottenham have now won eight of their last 10 games in all competitions, and have not been defeated in 11 games at Wembley. On Kane, who has now scored 20 goals in this season’s Premier League, Pochettino said: “It is unbelievable, the way he is able to work on his weaknesses. He is always thinking and trying to improve and improve and improve.”
With Tottenham’s attacking quadrant flicking and tricking their way around the Everton box throughout the opening exchanges, it was Son who found the breakthrough with his seventh goal in his last 11 games.
There was no surprise that his opener originated down Everton’s left, where Tottenham’s Serge Aurier had made the most of the defensive inadequacies of the visiting left-back, Cuco Martina, and left-sided midfielder, Gylfi Sigurdsson. Having been left alone for much of the first half, Aurier had time to set himself in the box and fire a scuffed shot across goal which Son tapped home to become the first Tottenham player since Jermain Defoe to score in five consecutive Premier League home games.
“He is more mature than last season,” said Pochettino. “Today everyone could see the belief and confidence. It’s fantastic.”
The goal would have been doubly frustrating for Everton considering that Wayne Rooney could, and perhaps should, have given the visitors the lead after 15 minutes. Cenk Tosun, making his first appearance for the club following his £27m move from Besiktas, flicked a long ball into Rooney’s path, but the former England captain could only drag a shot meekly wide.
Rooney did have the ball in the net soon after, but he was quickly denied by the linesman’s flag after sneaking into an offside position before nodding past Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Then came that opening goal, and not longer after the break the lead had been doubled by Kane. Once more it was Son who laid waste to the Everton rearguard, with right-back Jonjoe Kenny the victim as the South Korean spun away near the half-way line. Having dispensed with the hapless Kenny, Son then glided past Mason Holgate before his low cross was tapped in by the waiting Kane.
Son then hit the foot of the post before Kane struck Tottenham’s third, and his record-breaking second, with a messy finish from Eric Dier’s right-wing cross.
The fourth was the most attractive. Son was involved again, of course, as he worked his way forward and picked out Alli in the penalty box. The England midfielder artfully flicked a bouncing pass to Eriksen, who crashed the ball past Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal.
Everton, as Allardyce made clear afterwards, had “capitulated”. What a difference this second-half showing was from their performance at Liverpool in the FA Cup last week, where they were only defeated by a late goal.
“I saw some of the good sides of the players last week against Liverpool and I saw some of the worst sides of them in the second half today, which is massively worrying,” Allardyce said. “How can a performance become so bad in such a short space of time? Inconsistency leads to poor results and we have seen a very inconsistent Everton, from being very unlucky against Liverpool to this week being thrashed in the second half.”
That is absolutely brilliant. Superb.
Flowing one touch passes, excellent vision and movement... it's such a good goal. Aurier finds Son who scoops it to Alli, who knows Eriksen is running behind him and flicks with his heel to set up the shot. Eriksen smashes it into the top corner.
Rooney gets a yellow card for an obvious foul. He chases Vertonghen, is completely burned for pace and then just kicks out at him.
GREAT SAVE BY PICKFORD! Spurs come to life all of a sudden, Alli finds Son with a no-look pass, Son hits it low at the near post and is denied by the goalie, then Alli has an empty goal to shoot at but puts it too close to Pickford, whose speed to get up again and react to the danger is excellent.
Rooney turns on the style to keep the ball away from Son and Dembele, winning a free-kick by the touchline. It's lofted towards the area and Everton are made to move backwards.
Glenn Hoddle has just predicted that Kane may very well get at least a hat-trick here, if not four. Four goals, Jeremy? That's insane.
Lennon comes on for Bolasie, who doesn't look himself yet. That can be expected after so long out of the game. The Spurs fans give Lennon a nice reception.
Kane looks up and hits a beautiful pass to the opposite wing, Son brings it down, comes inside and defenders give him space as they anticipate the shot... which comes eventually and he hits the post! Alli can't get a touch on the rebound. Everton survive!
Poor from Alli. Spurs are finding space all over Everton's half now and Son is tearing them apart. He runs through the middle, threads a little reverse pass into Alli, who blocks the defender with his body but then waits too long to shoot and slices across the shot, putting it into the side netting.
Absolutely brilliant from Son. Amazing flash of skill! He takes teh ball to feet, it's left a little short and he turns his man with a spin drag move.
Holgate takes him on, is easily beaten... and Kane steps in to tap the shot/cross into the back of the net. The replay makes it look like Kane is slightly offside - the linesman is just behind the play so might not have had a great view of that.
Great play by Sigurdsson on the left. He has to work hard to bounce Aurier off him and keep control, passes inside and then Tosun is played in down the left. He's quick, runs into the box and then cuts back to the edge of the area but misses all the teammates he was looking for.
McCarthy follows up but shanks his shot miles away from anything.
Kenny overlaps Bolasie, hits the cross for Tosun, who puts the header way over the bar. Everton press high at the goal kick and win a throw-in for their efforts. Sigurdsson traps with his studs then spins Aurier, leaving him helpless and whips a dangerous cross in with his left foot... but Spurs deal with it and win a free-kick.
Vertonghen strides forwards and the crowd yell 'SHOOOOOT' so he does, hits a defender and Everton break. Or they do until Vertonghen fouls Rooney, and gets away without a yellow card.
Everton pass around Spurs' half for a while from the free-kick, Bolasie gets on the ball, Dier fouls McCarthy.
Spurs exploit the space on the right again, Aurier hits a low ball across the box and Son times his run perfectly to slot into an empty net. Allardyce must have noticed that massive gap on the left of his team but the thinking is surely that sending Martina forward allows Sigurdsson the chance to play in more central areas. Everton don't have enough of the ball to justify it at the moment.
Sigurdsson takes his time and picks a pass from defence, Tosun links the play with Rooney, Tosun gets it back and turns Sanchez, goes down looking for the free-kick and gets it.
It's swung in, headed away, hooked left... and Everton win a corner. That is headed away by Alli and Gueye tries a shot from 25 yards which is blocked.
Dembele pulls Rooney back as he looks to counter-attack but gets away without a yellow card. Everton are happy to take their time with the free-kick, Jagielka hooks it long towards the box, Spurs play their way out from defence until Aurier hits a long pass to Kane which lands with Pickford, who then hits it long to nobody on the right wing.
Lovely little exchange of passes on the edge of the area as Eriksen flicks the ball through to Son but the Everton defence is ready and defends well. Eriksen drops deep to intercept from Rooney. Martina is sprinting forward as soon as Everton win the ball, which means Sigurdsson can move inside the pitch. It has left space for Aurier to get forward though.
TEAM NEWS - Tottenham v Everton
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Aurier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Alli, Son, Kane.
Subs: Trippier, Lamela, Wanyama, Vorm, Sissoko, Llorente, Walker-Peters.
Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Holgate, Jagielka, Martina, McCarthy, Gueye, Bolasie, Rooney, Sigurdsson, Tosun.
Subs: Schneiderlin, Williams, Lennon, Niasse, Calvert-Lewin, Lookman, Robles.
Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)