Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur scores his team's second
goal against Newcastle United during their English Premier
League match at White Hart Lane in London. REUTERS/Andrew
The unstoppable Gareth Bale scored twice in Tottenham
Hotspur's 2-1 victory over Newcastle United in the Premier
League while rivals Chelsea and Arsenal also won to add spice
to the race for the Champions League spots.
Chelsea stayed third in the standings, a point ahead of
Spurs, after a 4-1 home success over third-bottom Wigan
Athletic while 10-man Arsenal lost Jack Wilshere to injury
but still beat Sunderland 1-0 away thanks to Santi Cazorla's
Arsenal leapfrogged Everton into fifth though David Moyes'
side visits leaders Manchester United on Sunday.
Second-placed Manchester City can cut United's advantage to
six points if they win at Southampton later on Saturday.
Basement side Queens Park Rangers suffered a big blow in a
4-1 defeat at Swansea City but fourth-bottom Reading failed
to increase the six-point gap with a 2-1 loss at Stoke City.
Mid-table Norwich City and Fulham managed a goalless
Spurs' Wales midfielder Bale netted his fourth and fifth
goals in four games for club and country to again almost
single-handedly inspire the north Londoners in the fourth and
final Champions League qualifying spot.
"Newcastle were on a good run of form, so it was always going
to be a hard game," Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas told the
"We stepped it up in the second half and showed team spirit
to get three points. Both sides had chances. We showed more
determination in the second half and took control."
Bale struck first with a dipping free kick after five minutes
with James Perch failing to jump in the visitors' wall before
Lewis Holtby wasted three chances to increase the lead.
Newcastle's French forward Yoan Gouffran then grabbed his
first Premier League goal since signing last month when his
effort was deflected in midway through the first half but he
later needed oxygen for a shin injury and was substituted.
Spurs lost their way slightly and introduced Emmanuel
Adebayor with the Togo striker only having returned from the
African Nations Cup on Friday despite his team being knocked
out last Sunday.
The home side's pressure eventually paid off against a side
who had won their last two games when Bale ran through and
finished with aplomb after 78 minutes before missing an easy
chance for a hat-trick in stoppage time.
Arsenal duo Wilshere and Theo Walcott, instrumental in
England's 2-1 friendly win over Brazil on Wednesday, again
combined to set up Cazorla for the 35th-minute winner at
JENKINSON SENT OFF
The Londoners were utterly dominant in the first half but the
situation changed after the break with midfielder Wilshere
limping off and defender Carl Jenkinson being sent off for
two bookings after 62 minutes.
Arsene Wenger's side held on in the face of late pressure but
Rafael Benitez's Chelsea avoided any home nerves against
Ramires finished off in style after a good pass by Fernando
Torres for the 23rd-minute opener and Eden Hazard doubled the
lead 11 minutes into the second half.
Shaun Maloney pulled one back after 58 minutes but England's
midweek goal hero Frank Lampard again underlined why most
Chelsea supporters want him to be offered another contract
when he made it 3-1. Marko Marin added a fourth in injury
QPR, four points adrift at the bottom, were never in the game
at Swansea with striker Loic Remy missing through injury and
fans will be aghast at their weak display.
Cut-price Spanish striker Michu continued his sensational
debut Premier League season with two more goals in the 4-1
thumping to take his season's tally to 15.