Shock defeat for Spurs; Ben Arfa lifts Newcastle
LONDON, April 10 — Out-of-sorts Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League qualifying hopes received another jolt when they lost 2-1 at home to Norwich City yesterday while on-song Newcastle United boosted their chances with a 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers.
Elsewhere, Frank Lampard became the first midfield player to chalk up 150 Premier League goals as Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw at west London neighbours Fulham.
Fourth-placed Spurs and Newcastle, in fifth, are now level on 59 points in the race for the fourth and final Champions League qualifying berth for next season, with Chelsea two points adrift in sixth position.
Leaders Manchester United (79 points) visit second from bottom Wigan Athletic tomorrow when second-placed Manchester City (71) entertain mid-table West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal (61), in third, travel to bottom club Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Norwich had a host of penalty claims turned down but still secured a memorable victory against Spurs at White Hart Lane.
Goals by Anthony Pilkington and Elliott Bennett either side of a crafty Jermain Defoe dink in the 32nd minute lifted Norwich to 10th in the table.
“I thought Norwich bullied us a little bit. It was a difficult day for our boys at the back,” Spurs manager Harry Redknapp told reporters.
“Credit to them ... I think they deserved it. We were disappointing,” he added as Spurs continued a poor run that has yielded one win in eight league games.
Senegal striker Papiss Cisse scored his seventh goal in his past four league appearances as red-hot Newcastle reeled off their fifth victory in a row.
The goal of the game against Bolton came from French forward Hatem Ben Arfa who went on a stunning 70-metre run to open the scoring in the 73rd minute.
“He’s got that bit of magic,” said Newcastle manager Alan Pardew. “Hopefully it will persuade his manager to include him in the French squad.”
The 33-year-old Lampard gave Chelsea a 45th-minute lead from the penalty spot at Craven Cottage after Ivory Coast forward Salomon Kalou was brought down in dubious circumstances in the box.
Fulham rallied in the second half as Champions League semi-finalists Chelsea wilted and keeper Petr Cech brought off a remarkable save to tip over a close-range header from American Clint Dempsey in the 82nd minute.
Cech was then beaten from the resulting right-wing corner as the unmarked Dempsey nodded the ball home to claim his 16th league goal of the season.
Second-half goals from Magaye Gueye, Steven Pienaar, Leon Osman and Victor Anichebe helped Everton hammer Sunderland 4-0 to rise to seventh on 47 points.
Aston Villa moved seven points clear of the relegation zone after a 1-1 home draw with mid-table Stoke City. — Reuters