Rampant Newcastle wins big again as Man United held by Spurs
After scoring 10 goals in four days, Newcastle is closing in on Champions League qualification in some style — and quicker than the club's Saudi ownership might have expected.
A finish in the Premier League's top four looks increasingly likely for Newcastle following a 4-1 win at Everton on Thursday. It wasn't quite as emphatic as the 6-1 rout of Tottenham on Sunday, but it wasn't far off.
In third place and with an eight-point cushion to the teams battling to keep in touch with the top four, surely Newcastle will be joining Manchester City and Arsenal in Europe's top competition next season — less than two years since the game-changing takeover by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund.
Manchester United is the favorite to be the fourth English team to reach the Champions League but a second-half collapse at Tottenham on Thursday gave the chasing teams — including Spurs — some hope.
Jeered by their fans at 2-0 down at halftime, Tottenham's players recovered to draw 2-2 and regain some pride from that dismal performance at Newcastle that marked one of the darkest days in the London club's recent history. It was so bad — Newcastle scored five times in the first 21 minutes — that the team offered refunds to fans who traveled to the game, and interim manager Cristian Stellini was fired.
Tottenham, now under another caretaker manager in Ryan Mason, is up to fifth place on goal difference and leads the chasers behind fourth-place United, which is six points clear with seven games to play.
The battle to avoid relegation is even closer, although last-place Southampton looks doomed after a dispiriting 1-0 home loss to south-coast rival Bournemouth.
That left the Saints, who have been in the Premier League since 2012, six points from safety with five games left.
Everton stayed in next-to-last place after the thrashing by Newcastle and has only won one of its last 10 games under Sean Dyche, whose appointment hasn't had the impact many might have expected.
A big game is coming up on Monday against third-from-bottom Leicester, with one point separating the teams. Whoever loses would be in real trouble.
Son Heung-min completed Tottenham's comeback against United with a 79th-minute equalizer — then thanked the fans for sticking by the team.
“Last week was unacceptable,” Son said about the Newcastle game. "We didn’t want to repeat that and we feel really, really sorry for that performance and result.
“Today we wanted to bring a good energy with them and we really appreciated their amazing support. They were fighting with us. If they weren’t here, it would have been difficult to fight back to 2-2.”
Goals by Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford put United in control at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before Harry Kane inspired the home team's comeback.
Right wing back Pedro Porro reduced the deficit in the 56th after Kane had a shot blocked. Kane supplied the cross that Son converted, as one of the Premier League's great attacking combinations struck again.
“We lost a bit of energy, a bit of control and they got belief and it went the other way,” said United midfielder Christian Eriksen, a former Tottenham player.
Callum Wilson was selected up front ahead of Alexander Isak and scored goals either side of a header from Joelinton to lead Newcastle to victory.
Isak still made his mark, though. The Sweden striker came on as a second-half substitute and produced the highlight of the game with a mazy dribble down the left wing and across the byline before he chipped the ball across for Jacob Murphy to tap home.
“The amount of turns and twists and stepovers he did — an incredible piece of skill,” Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said of Isak. "He has incredible ball manipulation.”
Everton thought it was back in the game at Goodison Park after an 80th-minute header from Dwight McNeil at a corner, which made it 3-1. Murphy, though, scored a minute later.
Bournemouth has now won five of its last eight games to pull clear of relegation trouble when many had them down as certainties for an immediate return to the second-tier Championship.
Marcus Tavernier squeezed home the winner in the 50th minute, condemning last-place Southampton to a 21st loss in 33 league games this season.
Bournemouth jumped to 14th place, seven points clear of the bottom three.
Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80
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