Tottenham Hotspur routed Middlesbrough at White Hart Lane today, 4-0. Roman Pavlyuchenko and Robbie Keane added to Aaron Lennon’s brace to give Spurs the decisive victory on their home turf. Perhaps motivated by their narrow defeat in penalties at the hands of Manchester United at Wembley in the Carling Cup final on Sunday, Tottenham broke out early with two goals in the first fifteen minutes. The three points earned all but guarantee Spurs will not be relegated this season and in fact move them up to thirteenth place, leapfrogging Sunderland. Boro meanwhile are stuck in nineteenth place, but are just two points from clear. Their fate will be sealed by the end of this month, most likely.
At St. James’ Park, Peter Rosenkrands Løvenkrands (yes, that’s his real name) gave Newcastle a short-lived 1-0 lead over leaders Manchester United. But the champions quickly equalized behind Wayne Rooney and ultimately Dimitar Berbatov put the game out of reach with his 56th minute winner. United push clear by seven points atop the Premiership while Toon can’t quite get away from the relegation discussion, currently sitting in sixteenth.
Aston Villa failed to keep pace with Liverpool and Chelsea in a demoralizing 2-0 loss to Manchester City at Eastlands. Elano’s 24th minute penalty and Shaun Wright-Phillips’s 89th minute sealer gave City a hop, skip and jump up into eighth place. Villa may finally have all those last-minute draws and wins catching up with them as they have struggled over the past month or so. City remain a strong club at home, despite their away woes.
A wild game at the JJB Stadium saw Carlton Cole score in the 34th minute but get sent off in the 37th. But no matter as Lee Cattermole was sent off with a straight red for Wigan in the 50th minute, evening the balance at ten-men per side and allowing West Ham United a 1-0 victory. Through seven yellow cards and two reds, the Hammers did well for themselves in earning three away points against a quality foe. With Everton’s draw, West Ham are just six points behind the Toffees for sixth place and are six points clear of Man City for seventh. Wigan missed a fine opportunity to take the sixth spot that West Ham claimed, and instead hang back in ninth.
Speaking of Everton, their nil-nil draw at Ewood Park denied them a chance to draw close to Arsenal and Aston Villa and gave Blackburn an inkling of hope that they can emerge from relegation before the season is complete. While Rovers would have liked three points instead of one, the knowledge that they can hang with one of the better sides in England should give them confidence to save Blackburn’s top-flight status. The Toffees on the other hand have to rue this day that they probably lost their chance at a spot in Europe.
Hull City finally won a match when substitute Manucho’s extra time strike gave the Tigers a shock win against Fulham at Craven Cottage. The result is a disaster for the Cottagers as they slip back into tenth place and likely miss out on any shot of finishing in the top six or seven. But for Hull, a win away from Kingston has been a rarity and much needed to slow the steady drop toward relegation for a club once sitting in the top five of the league. Hull find themselves back up in twelfth place, just ahead of Spurs.
Finally, James Beattie and Ricardo Fuller doubled up Bolton to send Stoke City shooting out of the relegation zone and into fifteenth place. Wanderers, who had crept up to tenth place, have to be shocked with this result, though it was at the Britannia Stadium where Stoke have been a decent club this season. But still, to miss the chance to reach eighth place with a loss to Stoke will be tough to swallow.
The Premiership will take the weekend off as FA Cup Quarterfinals are played. Matches will resume next weekend with the exception of Blackburn @ Fulham in a make-up game on Wednesday. The Champions League and UEFA Cup will have games mid-week next week.