Match ends, Aston Villa 0, Tottenham Hotspur 2.
Aston Villa 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham closed the gap on leaders Leicester to two points after Harry Kane scored two goals in three minutes to sink Aston Villa.
The striker raced onto Dele Alli's quickly taken free-kick and fired past Brad Guzan just before the break.
The combination worked again moments after the interval as Kane poked in Alli's low cross.
Villa mustered just two shots on target as they slipped to a fifth-straight league defeat.
Spurs' title bid appears firmly back on track after two games without a win, while Remi Garde's side remain nine points from safety and look increasingly destined for life in the Championship next season.
England duo spearhead Spurs' title tilt
Kane had already served notice of his threat - hitting the bar with a lob after four minutes - before he and Alli seized control of the match as it neared its halfway point.
The first goal showcased Alli's vision and instinctive awareness as his set piece gave Kane a clear run at goal, the second demonstrated Kane's deft scoring touch as he poked a controlled finish past Guzan at full stretch.
The striker's two goals drew him level with Jamie Vardy at the top of the Premier League goalscoring charts, on 19, of which 18 have come in his last 21 Premier League appearances - four more than Villa have managed between them in the same number of games.
Alli's assists, meanwhile, took him to eight for the league season - fifth in the standings, and more than any other English player.
The innate understanding they displayed in this performance not only underlined their importance to Spurs' title ambitions - it will reinforce the belief that the duo could play a vital role for England at Euro 2016 this summer.
Rudderless Villa staring at the drop
When Villa beat Norwich on 6 February to complete a much-improved five-game sequence which had yielded eight points, it seemed that Remi Garde's side might have a faint hope of escaping the relegation zone.
That hope has surely now been extinguished, with this the fifth match in a row they have lost since then.
With a paltry 37.8% of possession, the home side could never exert any control on the game, and had Kane's early chance gone in and Erik Lamela not side-footed against the post from Kyle Walker's low cross, the scoreline could have been worse.
Villa have now recorded 20 defeats, equalling their worst-ever tally in a single Premier League season - and there seems little prospect that the eight remaining matches will bring anything but further misery.
Man of the match - Harry Kane
What they said
Aston Villa manager Remi Garde: "The result is not positive but for sure the attitude and commitment for the 90 minutes was better than in previous weeks.
"I am frustrated for the players because they fought, but once again we have been too fragile defensively. We hit the post twice and didn't have the luck. But we have to fight against that.
"It is hard but then it is still mathematically possible so we need to fight. The situation is awful and it is massive challenge to win enough games to stay up. But you have to be proud and fight until the last minute.
"I love football and hate defeat. Five in a row. I don't think I've experienced that in my career."
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino: "It was a good victory and three important points after a few games that have not been so good. We created more chances and played well. It is difficult to play against teams playing for survival but we had the right mentality and I am pleased.
On the title race: "We need to keep the pressure on and win games. You cannot stop the dream of the supporters and they are right to dream. But we need to work hard."
The stats you need to know
- Tottenham Hotspur have lost none of their last nine trips to Villa Park in all competitions (W7 D2)
- Only Sunderland (10) in 2005/06 and Derby (10) in 2007/08 have won fewer points after 30 games in a Premier League season than Aston Villa this season (16)
- Kane has scored four goals in his last four Premier League appearances against Aston Villa - his joint-favourite opponent
Villa visit Swansea on Saturday, while Spurs attempt to claw back a three-goal deficit when they host Borussia Dortmund on Thursday in the second leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.
- 25GilSubstituted forSinclairat 70'minutes
- 17VeretoutSubstituted forGreenat 62'minutes
- 19J Ayew
- 11LamelaSubstituted forChadliat 90'minutes
- 23EriksenSubstituted forCarrollat 78'minutes
- 20AlliSubstituted forMasonat 87'minutes
- 7Son Heung-min
- Anthony Taylor
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Aston Villa 0, Tottenham Hotspur 2.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Nacer Chadli replaces Erik Lamela.
Foul by Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur).
Alan Hutton (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Joleon Lescott (Aston Villa) hits the left post with a left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box. Assisted by Rudy Gestede with a headed pass following a corner.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Kevin Wimmer.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Ryan Mason replaces Dele Alli.
Attempt missed. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Tom Carroll.
Rudy Gestede (Aston Villa) hits the bar with a left footed shot from very close range.
Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa) hits the left post with a right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left. Assisted by Jores Okore.
Offside, Aston Villa. Ashley Westwood tries a through ball, but Scott Sinclair is caught offside.
Offside, Aston Villa. Joleon Lescott tries a through ball, but Jordan Ayew is caught offside.
Hand ball by Rudy Gestede (Aston Villa).
Foul by Mousa Dembélé (Tottenham Hotspur).
Alan Hutton (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Mousa Dembélé (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa).
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Tom Carroll replaces Christian Eriksen.
Attempt missed. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Joleon Lescott.
Attempt blocked. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Rudy Gestede (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Aly Cissokho.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Scott Sinclair replaces Carles Gil.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) because of an injury.
Attempt blocked. Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Eric Dier.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Andre Green replaces Jordan Veretout.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Jores Okore.
Attempt blocked. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Mousa Dembélé.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Aly Cissokho.
Attempt saved. Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Danny Rose.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Aly Cissokho.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Alan Hutton.
Foul by Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur).
Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Kyle Walker.
Goal! Aston Villa 0, Tottenham Hotspur 2. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Dele Alli.
Attempt saved. Jordan Veretout (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Idrissa Gueye.