Spurs, Magpies keep pressure on Arsenal
Newcastle United's Papiss Cisse has gatecrashed the Premier League in spectacular style and his second strike in Wednesday's win at Chelsea could sneak in as a goal of the season contender, especially given its potential importance.
Emmanuel Adebayor's double helped Tottenham Hotspur win 4-1 at Bolton Wanderers while Newcastle humbled Chelsea 2-0 away as both sides moved a point behind third-placed Arsenal with two games left as the race for the Champions League hotted up.
A stunning Luka Modric strike set Tottenham on their way to victory at Bolton where midfielder Fabrice Muamba, who watched the match from the stand, received a standing ovation from fans 46 days after making a remarkable recovery after suffering a cardiac arrest in an FA Cup match against Spurs.
Prolific Senegal striker Cisse just about bettered Modric with two wonderful goals at Stamford Bridge, his 12th and 13th in the league since joining in the January transfer window.
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"I actually thought we were going to win 1-0 with our 15th clean sheet of the season, but the goal was special," Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said of Cisse's second. "It sums him up. He feels he is just going to score whenever he is near the goal."
Stoke City's Peter Crouch and Luis Suarez for Liverpool have both netted jaw-dropping Premier League goals this term but Cisse's strike sits with the best of them.
Fourth-placed Spurs are on 65 points, ahead of Newcastle on goal difference. Champions League finalists Chelsea, who face Liverpool in the FA Cup final on Saturday, remain sixth on 61.
Title rivals Manchester City and Manchester United will take the first two European spots but it is no longer guaranteed the fourth-placed team will reach the Champions League playoffs.
If Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final this month and finish outside the top four, they will take the last qualifying spot.
Spurs added to Bolton's relegation worries with defeat keeping Owen Coyle's side in the drop zone.
The Londoners went ahead on 37 minutes when Croatian Modric chested down a corner and with no defenders closing him down, let the ball bounce before unleashing a dipping shot from 30 metres that flew past keeper Adam Bogdan.
Bolton equalised six minutes after the break, Nigel Reo-Coker supplying a crisp finish but Spurs were soon back in front from a lighting counter-attack led by Gareth Bale who burst down the left flank and crossed for Rafael van der Vaart to score.
Before Bolton could recover, Spurs added a third with Adebayor finishing off a sweeping move, and the Togo striker struck again on 69 minutes to complete the rout.
Chelsea came quickly back down to earth after hammering Queens Park Rangers 6-1 last weekend, as caretaker coach Roberto Di Matteo made six changes with the Cup final in mind, starting with Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Juan Mata and Didier Drogba on the bench.
The move backfired as Newcastle atoned for their dismal display in losing 4-0 at Wigan on Saturday, securing their seventh Premier League win out of eight with a performance that will have not gone unnoticed by Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, whose side visit St James' Park on Sunday.
Cisse showed again that he is a threat to any defence, beating Petr Cech with a powerful volley from edge of the box after 19 minutes then sealing the points in stoppage time with the sweetest of strikes - a swerving half-volley.