It is almost impossible to find a superlative that hasn’t been used to describe Jermain Defoe’s form for Sunderland since his arrival in January 2015.
This has been his most exceptional season yet, his brace against Crystal Palace last weekend taking him to 14 goals for the season, level with Spurs’ Harry Kane and just two behind Everton’s Romelu Lukaku at the top of the charts.
Perhaps the true mastery of the 34-year-old is that he made both goals look simple, even though the skill involved was sublime.
For the first, he picked the right movement to make his dash into the box, before a superbly precise finish on what is supposed to be his weaker foot.
The second saw an excellent turn to escape the attention of James Tomkins.
Sunderland boss David Moyes has also revealed another moment of genius in that goal that perhaps went unnoticed at the time.
Moyes revealed: “I spoke to him about his finishes, which were incredible, I thought.
“I thought his last one, he’s in the box tight, his touch takes him away from goal, makes space. When I was talking to him about it, he said he just saw the goalkeeper leaning, and he just tucked it inside him.
“So the real art of being a centre-forward, the fine detail, those moments, how they can just sense it, get the ball in the right position to get a shot away, watching the goalkeeper.
“There’s a lot goes into being a great goalscorer and Jermain scored two brilliant goals.”
Moyes also felt that Sunderland were able to use the striker better throughout the game against the Eagles, Defoe himself saying last Saturday night that he had tried to drop deeper in the second half to make an all-round contribution.
Moyes said: “The more important thing is that his build-up play was good, we were able to use Jermain, his first goal, we used him as a build-up, we got it wide, he got back in the box and scored the goal. We want to use him in both ways, in the build-up but also in behind the opposition as well.”
Defoe has, of course, been aided by a much stronger defensive platform behind him in the past couple of games.
The return, and outstanding form, of Lamine Kone, as well as an impressive debut from left-back Bryan Oviedo, have led to successive clean sheets for the Black Cats.
Moyes puts that down to cutting out the individual errors that blighted the side in January, and has urged his side to repeat the feat in front of what will be another bumper crowd at the Stadium of Light this afternoon.
“The key is not to make mistakes and try and be a bit more solid in our all-round game,” said the Scot.
“We’re trying to play better, but, at the moment, if it’s ugly, it’ll have to be ugly to get results.
“Ultimately, we want to try and score goals and if we can score four for the away supporters, I’d love to try and score four for the home supporters too.”