West Bromwich Albion 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0
Nwankwo Kanu completely vindicated Bryan Robson's decision to rest him from the Boxing Day fixture at Manchester United, as he inspired Albion to a valuable victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
While his team-mates were being put to the sword at Old Trafford, Kanu was enjoying a Christmas dinner, but not one Albion player will begrudge him his turkey and sprouts after he conjured a performance of seismic proportions.
Albion will miss his presence when he departs for the African Nations Cup in January and Robson will be praying for an early Nigerian exit.
He scored two excellent goals and tormented Tottenham's defence with a sparkling display of poise, power and precision finishing to place clear daylight between Albion and the relegation zone.
And Robson admitted that Kanu's current form could be instrumental in securing Albion's Premiership future.
"The way he has played this season has made a difference," said Robson. "The game evolved around him.
"The way I wanted to play at Old Trafford would have taken a lot out of him and two games in three days would have been too much.
"I wanted him to be fresh as he has always done well against Tottenham. I had a chat with him in the summer and asked him to add more goals to his game.
"He has done that with five this season.
"I also thought Ronnie Wallwork was outstanding in midfield with the way he tackled, passed the ball and went about his business. We are now starting to play like I know we are capable of."
As expected, Robson rang the changes following Albion's tame defeat at Manchester United two days previously and recalled Kanu, Diomansy Kamara and captain Neil Clement.
It was a positive move by Robson who knew this fixture was of paramount importance, as two consecutive away defeats had left them just one position and two points ahead of Portsmouth in the relegation zone.
Robson had stressed the necessity of maintaining their recent impressive home form that had seen them take seven points from their last three fixtures at the Hawthorns.
Albion came within inches of taking the lead after just four minutes as the produced a counter-attack of stunning simplicity.
Jermain Defoe's shot well blocked by Clement and the rebound and Kanu robbed Michael Carrick ten yards outside his own area.
His sweeping pass reached Kamara who in turn found Nathan Ellington and he flicked it on to Darren Carter. The midfielder was crowded out by Michael Dawson and Paul Robinson; however, the clearance cannoned off Paul Stalteri and flew past Robinson's near post.
Ellington cut in from the left hand side of the area and warmed Robinson's hands with a low drive as Albion looked to recover from their Boxing Day defeat.
The hosts looked far more at ease in their 4-4-2 formation and the intricate movement of Kanu and Ellington was causing Tottenham's back line problems.
Nevertheless, the defence had to be vigilant and Tomasz Kuszczak was had to be alert to smother Defoe's low shot.
But the momentum was with Bryan Robson's team and, guided by the subtle promptings of Kanu, they began to impose a strangle-hold on proceedings.
That domination was finally given tangible reward when Kanu silenced the away supporters - who had been barracking him mercilessly for his Arsenal connection - after 23 minutes.
Kamara surged towards Robinson's goal until his progress was interrupted by a tackle from Anthony Gardner.
But fortune smiled on Albion and the ball hit Carrick and reached Kanu inside the penalty area.
Yet, there was still plenty to do for the Nigerian front man and he completed the task with aplomb by holding off the challenge of Dawson before rounding Robinson and coolly slotting the ball into an unguarded net.
Kanu scooped up a ball boy in celebration, as Albion confirmed their love of home comforts once again.
Edgar Davids fell under the challenge of Wallwork, but his appeals for a penalty were waved away and the Dutch international received a chorus of jeers from home supporters for the remainder of the opening period.
Wallwork's shot was deflected wide, as Albion remained in the ascendancy and while Tottenham had another penalty appeal correctly rejected by referee Mile Riley when Defoe tumbled under the challenge of Neil Clement, it was the hosts who were well in control and belying their lowly league position.
The Kanu show continued seven minutes after the interval when he created his own opportunity and finished it sublimely.
Gardner's pass was intercepted by Kanu who applied brute strength to fend off the attentions of a desperate lunge from the centre half before advancing menacingly into the penalty area.
Faced with England hopeful Dawson he dropped his shoulder nonchalantly and left him trailing in his wake before a crisp drive beat England's No 1 goalkeeper with ease.
His celebration was identical to the first half as he held a ball boy aloft before taking the acclaim of jubilant home supporters, as Albion's fifth home win of the campaign was secured.