Premier League

Toon & Norwich safe, Spurs win

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Sun, 12 May 2013 18:23:00

Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas hailed his side's late win at Stoke to keep alive their hopes of a top-four finish.

Emmanuel Adebayor's late goal sent Spurs into fourth spot above bitter rivals Arsenal although they have played a game more than Arsene Wenger's side.

Clint Dempsey cancelled out Steven N'Zonzi's opener with Charlie Adam seeing red for Stoke as Spurs ensured the chase for a top-four finish and a place in next season's UEFA Champions League will go down to the final day of the season.

Villas-Boas was deighted with his players and hopes Arsenal will slip up in their final two games so that Spurs can finish fourth.

"It keeps us in the frame and gives us the possibility of making the Champions League so the important thing is the dream is still alive for us," said Villas-Boas.

"We wanted to take it to the last day when we are playing at home, so it was an extremely important win for us for those reasons, and hopefully someone else will slip up. Arsenal are strong and experienced but it will go down to the wire."

Villas-Boas singled out Dempsey for special praise after the American scored a superb 20th minute equaliser to cancel out N'Zonzi's early strike, then played a crucial role in Adebayor's crucial winner.

"He (Dempsey) has been absolutely immense this season with his assisting and his goalscoring and he has sometimes not got the credit he deserves," added Villas-Boas.

"He is a hard worker and a very complete athlete and he had an amazing game. It was an extremely good individual performance.

"We came back from difficult circumstances because part of Stoke's strength is their delivery at set-plays and the delivery (for the goal) was absolutely amazing.

"But we managed to control the other ones and the circumstances turned for us. I am extremely happy for the team in the way we were patient in the game, we kept the ball moving and eventually we got the breakthrough."

Norwich confirmed their top-flight survival with an emphatic 4-0 victory at Carrow Road.

Robert Snodgrass gave the Canaries a half-time lead before a Ben Foster howler gifted Grant Holt the second and former Ipswich defender Gareth McAuley's own goal prompted Delia Smith to dance with delight.

The Baggies were woeful and Jonny Howson scored a spectacular late fourth as Chris Hughton's men claimed a third win in 20 Premier League games to make certain of their top-flight status ahead of next week's final-day trip to Manchester City.

In contrast, Sunderland will be anxiously watching Wigan's match at Arsenal on Tuesday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton.

Jason Puncheon came off the bench to grab a point for Southampton and all but secure their safety, just as it looked as though Sunderland had saved themselves in their clash at the Stadium of Light.

The midfielder struck with 14 minutes remaining after fellow substitute James Ward-Prowse provided the ammunition to cancel out Phil Bardsley's opener, and in the process left the home side still looking over their shoulders.

The result leaves Sunderland on 39 points with one game to play - against Champions League-hunting Tottenham - while Wigan, who are four points adrift of the Black Cats, also have a home match against Aston Villa on the final day of the season.

Newcastle ensured their Premier League survival with a game to spare as they beat already-relegated QPR 2-1 at Loftus Road today.

Hatem Ben Arfa's penalty and a Yoan Gouffran strike helped the Magpies come from behind to secure a victory that ensured another season in the top flight after Loic Remy's early spot-kick had put Harry Redknapp's side ahead.

Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot's late sending off did not affect the result, with the Magpies holding out for a vital three points.

Tottenham moved back above north London rivals Arsenal and into a Champions League qualifying position as they saw off 10-man Stoke with a 2-1 win at the Britannia Stadium.

Emmanuel Adebayor slid home a late winner to lift Tottenham back into fourth place after they fell behind to a Steven Nzonzi header after just three minutes, before Clint Dempsey equalised with a brilliant piece of improvisation.

Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam was dismissed in the 47th minute for a second bookable offence and Spurs were made to labour before their late winner.

David Moyes enjoyed victory in his final home game as Everton manager.

Striker Kevin Mirallas ensured Moyes departed Goodison Park in perfect circumstances with a 2-0 win over West Ham.

The victory also guaranteed Everton finished above Liverpool for the second successive season.

Elsewhere, Daniel Sturridge fired Liverpool to an easy 3-1 win at Fulham with a superb hat-trick at Craven Cottage.

Sturridge had not scored against the Cottagers during his time at the club's local rivals Chelsea or while he was at Manchester City, but he took Martin Jol's team apart today with three well-taken strikes.

Three minutes after Dimitar Berbatov had nodded Fulham ahead, the England striker turned Aaron Hughes inside-out before smashing the ball into the roof of the net.

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