Jose Mourinho had suggested Sheffield United's position propping-up the Premier League showed the table was 'totally fake,' but the Tottenham manager's words were proven to be mere platitudes as his side underlined just how far the Blades have fallen since their impressive exploits of last season.
Spurs will secure few easier victories this season, and their first on the road in the league for two months thanks to first-half goals from Serge Aurier and Harry Kane, in addition to a stand-out effort from Tanguy Ndombele after the interval, cemented their place in an increasingly congested top six.
Back-to-back wins, albeit against League One Bristol Rovers and Championship outfit in waiting Newcastle, had lifted flagging spirits at Bramall Lane, but Chris Wilder watched in horror as his team returned to familiar abject failings to leave them bottom, 11 points from safety in a campaign which continues to unravel.
For how much they over-achieved in clinching a top half finish on their return to the Premier League last season, they have utterly under-achieved this time, with their main target for the remainder of the campaign seemingly attempting to overhaul Derby County's record-low points haul of 11, posted 13 years ago.
Wilder had identified set-pieces as among his side's most potent attacking threat, so it was doubly disappointing that they should fall behind in such a fashion before having laid a glove on Mourinho's men.
Less than five minutes had gone as Aurier was allowed to rise unchallenged at the near post to nod home a Heung-Min Son corner which ought to have been met with a regulation clearance from any one of four defenders stationed in the vicinity.
The visitors, who switched to a back three to counter their opponents' overlapping center-backs, have been guilty of letting leads slip this season. However, after Son had seen a delicate chip over Aaron Ramsdale glance wide off a post, they were rewarded for their dominance with a second goal five minutes before the interval.
It arrived, almost inevitably, from Kane, who drilled a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area. This after Oliver Norwood, who was caught in possession more than Libertines frontman Pete Doherty on a wretched afternoon for the Northern Irishman, gave up the ball before doubling his culpability with a lacklustre attempt to win it back from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who promptly teed-up the England skipper's 19th goal of the season.
Spurs have dropped 10 points from half-time leads this term, and David McGoldrick's fine glancing header from John Fleck's inviting centre just before the hour momentarily brought uncomfortable flashbacks as the hosts belatedly made it into double figures for Premier League goals this season.
Those fears were put to bed, however, within three minutes. From Steven Bergwijn's ball into the area - Norwood again the unfortunate player caught out - Ndombele showed great awareness and athleticism to dispatch a looping effort over his shoulder and beyond a despairing Ramsdale into the bottom corner to restore the two-goal advantage which the hosts failed to come anywhere near to threatening thereafter.
Kane should have made it four in stoppage-time, only to blaze over from inside the area. It was the one blot on an otherwise exemplary display from Tottenham's talisman, where he and his team-mates had barely needed to break sweat.
Ramsdale 6: Basham 5 (Sharp 74, 5), Egan 5, Ampadu 6; Bogle 5, Lundstram 5, Norwood 3, Fleck 2 (Bryan 67, 5), Stevens 4; Burke 5 (Brewster 71, 5), McGoldrick 5. Substitutes: Foderingham, Baldock, Lowe, Jagielka.
Lloris 7; Rodon 7, Dier 7, Davies 7; Aurier 8, Hojbjerg 8, Ndombele 7, Reguilon 7 (Sanchez 90, 5); Bergwijn 7 (Moura 87, 6), Son 8 (Vinicius 90, 5), Kane 8 Substitutes: Hart, Alderweireld, Lamela, Sissoko, Fernandes, Bale.
Andre Marriner 7