Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Stoke City

Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor's volley was handled by Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross leading to a Spurs penalty

Tottenham moved three points off the top four in the league with a comfortable victory over Stoke.

Spurs went ahead when Roberto Soldado scored a penalty after Ryan Shawcross handled Emmanuel Adebayor's volley.

Soldado had a tame 10-yard shot saved before Mousa Dembele added a second when he rifled in a 20-yard shot.

Stoke rarely threatened and Aaron Lennon's angled strike across goal sealed Tottenham's first home league win in five outings.

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho

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Tottenham 3-0 Stoke: Tim Sherwood surprised by Paulinho talent

The victory also provided Spurs head coach Tim Sherwood with his first win since taking over as permanent manager as his side rose to seventh in the top-flight and level on points with sixth-placed Manchester United, who they visit on New Year's Day.

Sherwood has been keen to implement a more attacking style of play since he replaced Andre Villas-Boas and his team certainly put that into practice as they won at White Hart Lane for the first time since 27 October.

Tottenham were helped by an obliging Stoke, who have the joint-worst away record in the Premier League, having accumulated just five points on their travels.

The Potters had set themselves up to frustrate Spurs but did give the home side an early scare when striker Jon Walters ran on to a long ball and went down following a challenge by covering left-back Ezekiel Fryers.

Referee Kevin Friend did not entertain the half-hearted penalty appeals from the visitors, who then had to withstand increasing pressure from Spurs.

The home side created plenty of chances and Adebayor had a clear sight of goal when he latched on to a Lennon pull-back only to miscue his eight-yard shot. The ball found Christian Eriksen, whose point-blank effort was saved by keeper Thomas Sorensen.

Paulinho was back for Tottenham after suspension and he blended power with panache in midfield - the Brazilian producing an audacious looped backheel pass which Soldado controlled before shooting wide across goal.

Stoke were doing well to keep the game goalless, although they again threatened when winger Oussama Assaidi cut into the Spurs area from the right but, just as he was about to shoot, he had the ball stolen away from him by a crucial tackle by Michael Dawson.

However, the home side's efforts were eventually rewarded when Soldado rolled in the opener from the penalty spot after Adebayor controlled a cross on his chest and had his volley blocked by the arms of Shawcross.

Four of the Spaniard's five top-flight goals this season have come from the spot, and he should have added to his tally when he was found by a Lennon pass only to shoot straight at Sorensen from close range.

However, Dembele helped consolidate Tottenham's lead when he sidestepped to the left and powered a low 20-yard shot into the bottom corner.

Lennon impressively controlled at the far post before applying an emphatic finish for Tottenham's third and the home side could have had more, with Erik Lamela having a late shot turned wide by Shawcross.

See a photo gallery of all the action from Boxing Day's Premier League matches on the BBC Sport Facebook site.

Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood:

"I thought we played well from start to finish. Two goals is never enough as we know what Stoke are about.

Mark Hughes looks on during Stoke City's 3-0 defeat at Tottenham

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Stoke struggled to cope - Hughes

"They can hang on, get a scrappy goal and all of a sudden they are back in the game. We didn't allow them to do that. We managed to get the third goal and are pleased with the three points.

"We took some of our chances. A few more went missing. The strikers will score more often than not if they get into those positions, especially the top strikers we have got."

Stoke manager Mark Hughes:

"I felt a little bit aggrieved at the start of the game. I felt we had a good claim for a penalty before Tottenham's penalty.

"In terms of having an impact on the game, we found it difficult.

"They have got a lot of power and pace and we struggled to cope with that. There are reasons for that as we are missing key players but we need to do better.

"On the day we were not good enough and up to the standard of the Spurs players."

As It Stood

2Man City1913243341
6Man Utd1910451034
13Aston Villa19559-720
15West Brom19397-518
17Crystal Palace195113-1616
19West Ham193610-1015
View full Premier League table

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