Tottenham’s forward Bale’s 36th-minute opener, a fine instinctive flick from close range, was scant reward for Spurs’ first-half dominance, but though Heung-Min Son saw an effort after the break (52) ruled out for offside, the Welshman would strike twice more legitimately and emphatically.

Although Bale brought up his 50th Premier League goal shortly, just after the hour mark when he was set up by Son on a Spurs breakaway and hit a fierce third without breaking stride (69) to fire a further reminder of his enduring potency.

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However, Sheffield United, for whom John Fleck escaped punishment after a VAR review after catching Giovani Lo Celso on the head, had twice built momentum before conceding but Bale’s third goal ended their fleeting resistance and Son completed the rout with a brilliant curled finish 13 minutes from time.

The win has allowed Tottenham move up to fifth,  for now at least, having played a game more than West Ham, Liverpool and Everton behind them, but remain five points off Chelsea with just four games left to play.

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Meanwhile, Seeking a mood-boosting win after unrest over their part in the European Super League, renewed speculation over Harry Kane’s future, and a Manchester City mauling that delivered a paltry 0.06 in expected goals, Spurs were dominant from the off, albeit against far inferior opposition.

A moment of early hesitancy between Aaron Ramsdale and George Baldock almost cost the Blades with Sergio Reguilon lurking, but Spurs were building patiently as Dele Alli – making only his third Premier League start of the season – drifted between central areas and the left flank.

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