Tottenham beat Swansea City 3-1 yesterday to end a five-match winless run in soccer’s Premier League, while Papiss Cisse got two goals for a second straight game as Newcastle defeated Liverpool 2-0.
Emmanuel Adebayor scored twice, while Rafael van der Vaart also got a goal for Spurs, who are level on points with third-place Arsenal and five points clear of Chelsea and Newcastle in the next two spots.
“We’ve been playing well,” Tottenham winger Gareth Bale told Sky Sports. “We’ve had quite a bit of bad luck but we showed what we can do on the pitch against a great footballing side like Swansea.”
Third position secures direct entry into the group stage of Europe’s Champions League, while the fourth-place team will play in qualifying. Fifth position guarantees a place in the second-tier Europa League, while as many as two extra spots could be available depending on whether the domestic cup winners qualify through their league positions.
Manchester United leads the standings on 73 points, Manchester City has 71, with Arsenal and Tottenham 13 points further back.
Adebayor, on loan from Manchester City, got two goals in the final 20 minutes at White Hart Lane as Tottenham ended a run of three defeats and two draws.
Adebayor headed into the net from a Van der Vaart corner on 73 minutes, then scored again with four minutes remaining --also with a header.
Van der Vaart had given Spurs a halftime lead with a shot from the edge of the penalty area, his 11th goal of the season.
Swansea replied in the 60th minute as Gylfi Sigurdsson’s volley bounced over Brad Friedel and into the net, with the visitor’s goalkeeper Michel Vorm then preventing Van der Vaart restoring Tottenham’s soon after with a diving save.
Adebayor then ended his run of three games without a goal to boost Tottenham’s chances of Champions League qualification.
“It’s going to be tight,” Spurs manager Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports. “I wouldn’t write Chelsea off, I wouldn’t write Newcastle off, they’ve done a miracle, and Arsenal obviously are bang there.”
Newcastle extended its winning run to three league matches, as Liverpool slipped to a third straight defeat in the competition. Cisse, with seven goals in seven games since joining the Magpies in January, scored in each half for the hosts.
Liverpool finished the match with 10 men after goalkeeper Pepe Reina was red-carded in the 82nd minute.
Liverpool had early chances, including a Jonjo Shelvey shot deflected over the bar and a close-range header from Martin Skrtel. Andy Carroll, signed by Liverpool from Newcastle in January 2011, was yellow-carded for diving in the penalty area.
Newcastle, mainly threatening on the counterattack in the early stages, took a 19th-minute lead as Cisse scored for a third straight game. The Senegal forward headed into the net off a post after collecting a lofted cross from Hatem Ben Arfa.
Carroll headed over the bar on 27 minutes, while at the other end a Demba Ba shot took a deflection off Reds defender Skrtel and fell just wide.
Newcastle’s Mike Williamson headed against a post just after halftime, before Cisse doubled the advantage in the 59th minute when he cut inside to wrong-foot Reina before sliding the ball past a couple of defenders on the line.
Luis Suarez missed an opportunity to reply for Liverpool two minutes later when, with keeper Tim Krul out of his goal, he saw a shot blocked by James Perch.
Cisse was replaced by Shola Ameobi with 15 minutes remaining, denying him the chance of a hat-trick. Four minutes later Carroll also departed, bringing cheers from the home fans.
Reina was dismissed for aiming a head butt at Perch and fullback Jose Enrique went into goal with the Reds having already used all their substitutions.
Liverpool, in eighth, now trails Newcastle by 11 points. The Reds already have a spot in the Europa League next season after winning the Carling Cup. Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said he wants to join Liverpool in that competition.
“If someone said ‘you are going to be in the Europa League,’ I would snap their hands off,” Pardew told reporters.
Two days ago, Chelsea won 4-2 at Aston Villa, Arsenal lost 2-1 at Queens Park Rangers, while Manchester City was held to a 3-3 tie by Sunderland. United can move five points clear if it defeats Blackburn today.
Last-place Wolverhampton Wanderers lost 3-2 against Bolton, Wigan beat Stoke City 2-0, Everton defeated West Bromwich Albion 2-0, and Fulham beat Norwich 2-1.