Tottenham Hotspur took third place in the Premier League with this win but that achievement is entirely unremarkable for a side that has now piled up 25 points from its last nine league fixtures. On the basis of this showing against Aston Villa they might almost rue the draw in that run, even if it was at Newcastle United.

The past is even less relevant than usual when there must be such a sense of anticipation coursing through Tottenham. The manager, Harry Redknapp, returned to the technical area for the first time since minor heart surgery and there was a gentle convalescence with the only jolts coming in frequent moments of happiness.

Redknapp could cavil a little but only because the margin of victory was mysteriously narrow considering the expansive threat that Tottenham carried. Emmanuel Adebayor, who had not scored for the club since 18 September, took both goals and might well have had a few more. Alex McLeish, the Villa manager, understood what he faced and, for instance, had a full-back, Alan Hutton, on the right of midfield to put an additional barrier in Gareth Bale's path.

The Welshman scarcely seemed to notice. Indeed his team-mates did not usually need to concern themselves with Villa's intentions since they had no impact. Tottenham deserve praise that extends beyond appreciation of the football. It has to be borne in mind that Tottenham, where finances are concerned, would not appear to belong anywhere close to the company of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

The club, craving a stadium that will generate greater income, could feel disadvantaged by comparison with this season's Champions League clubs but they have turned a comparative lack of means into an advantage. Tottenham had players exhilarated by the realisation that their careers are climbing steeply.

Redknapp must have felt a medicinal benefit from the sight of such accomplishment. He must have pined ever more than is customary for a return to normal when, in his absence, others had the pleasure of keeping watch over compelling football.

No one wasted time thinking of scoring statistics here when there was such conviction and flair. If the side could be castigated, the criticism would lie in a slight lack of cold-bloodedness.

After 14 minutes Bale turned a corner kick back into the goalmouth and Adebayor was athletic enough to convert the opportunity with a scissors kick. Tottenham dallied before they extended the lead. There was even a sense that they were luxuriating in their skill and technique. While ruthlessness was not at the forefront of the hosts, they were sufficiently purposeful to leave their opponents 2-0 down by the interval.

Bale's delivery from the left in the 40th minute was treacherous and James Collins seemed to confuse his goalkeeper Shay Given as he failed to deal with it. Adebayor was on hand to prod the ball home for his second. The opposition barely received much notice. Gabriel Agbonlahor was a willing runner but a finisher such as Darren Bent might have despaired of ever getting a chance.

Villa have not had such prominence of late but they have generally shown some degree of resilience in away games, even if they did come to White Hart Lane without a victory on the road in this campaign. This match, all the same, constituted the start of a demanding spell that sees Villa face most of the prominent clubs before 2011 draws to a close. It would have been natural if the apprehension had deepened before they reached the respite of the interval.

McLeish had not intended that his team would stay so far back but the exact intentions were opaque. Two forwards, in Bent and Agbonlahor, were included but the men on the flanks, Hutton and Emile Heskey, seemed utilised to offer strength and resistance.

Any bout of boldness let Tottenham practise their counterattacking. Adebayor could have completed a hat-trick as early as the 52nd minute but having broken clear from the half-way line he slipped his shot wide of the near post. That was not an indication that hunger was fading in the striker.

Coming in from the left, he later curled an attempt fractionally beyond the post with Given helpless. There is a gusto to Tottenham and it can be found in more than one area of the line-up. The zest pours out of a team egged on by its sense of promise as well as by commanding victories such as this.