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 that the team offered refunds to fans who traveled to the game.
Tottenham 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.
Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80
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Steve Douglas, The Associated Press