It was all about the race for fourth spot tonight, but both Manchester clubs were keeping an eye on how the Magpies fared away to Chelsea.
We’ve gone minute-by-minute at the Bridge tonight.
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Welcome along on and all. This evening we turn our attention to the race for that coveted Premier League fourth spot. Three of the four teams on show tonight have aspirations of securing the final Champions League qualifying berth with no room left for error.
Here’s how it currently stands:
4. Tottenham P35 GD20 Pts62
5. Newcastle P35 GD7 Pts62
6. Chelsea P35 GD23 Pts61
Chelsea come into the fixture on the back of an historic couple of weeks for the club. As well as securing a meeting with Liverpool in the FA Cup final, Roberto Di Matteo’s side overcame Barcelona in dramatic fashion to progress to the final of the Champions League where Bayern Munich await in Munich.
Oh, and it looks as if Fernando Torres is well and truly back after scoring the winner against Barca and adding another three in the 6-1 demolition of QPR on Sunday afternoon.
Newcastle, who have been one of the surprise packages of the season, ended a run of six league wins with a 4-0 defeat to resurgent Wigan on Saturday. After the game, manager Alan Pardew admitted he‘had let the club down’.
They face a tough final three matches with the Pensioners tonight, league leaders Man City on Sunday and Everton away the following week.
No doubt Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini will be watching how they get on here as a favourable result could give them the confidence to take points off City, thereby putting United back in the driving seat.
The teams have been announced so here you are:
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Bosingwa, Terry, Bertrand, Ramires, Mikel, Malouda, Meireles, Torres, Sturridge. Subs: Turnbull, Cole, Essien, Lampard, Mata, Drogba, Kalou.
Newcastle: Krul, Coloccini, Santon, Williamson, Perch, Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Gutierrez, Tiote, Cisse, Ba. Subs: Elliot, Taylor, Ferguson, Gosling, Marveaux, Obertan, Shola Ameobi.
In the other game, Bolton are looking to pull themselves out of the relegation zone with time running out. Owen Coyle’s men are level on points with QPR in 18th but the Rs have a superior goal difference.
Spurs, who currently hold fourth, will want to cement that and even push Arsenal to third if possible. The kick-off in that one is 15 minutes after our feature match.
Someone somewhere once said you’re only as good as your last game. Well here’s how good Chelsea are at the moment… or, admittedly, how awful a side QPR are.
Unlike on Sunday, there’s pre-match handshakes and we are moments away from kick-off.
Immediately, Torres is involved in the action. The Spaniard chests down a long ball from defence and lays off to Raul Meireles, who leans back and blasts over the bar.
The home side have started positively and Torres has won them a free in a dangerous position. He skips by Cheick Tiote, who cynically brings him down and earns an early yellow card.
In the absence of Frank Lampard, Meireles has a go but shoots straight into the arms of Tim Krul.
Daniel Sturridge has screwed an effort wide of the right post after Torres runs the channel and cuts a pass back with the outside of his boot. The Spaniard is looking sharp and well up for this one.
First half chance for the visitors as Demba Ba heads on to Papiss Demba Cisse. He can’t find his strike partner with the return ball however, and it rolls harmlessly across Petr Cech’s goal.
Ba tries the spectacular when the ball falls to him 10 yards out but his execution of the overhead kick leaves a lot to be desired. If the Senegalese pair can produce to the best of their ability tonight, Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry could be in for a long one.
GOAL! Chelsea 0-1 Newcastle (Papiss Demba Cisse)
World class finish from the Magpies’ main man. He kills Davide Santon’s pass and lashes past Cech with his second touch.
Chelsea look shocked at conceding and are having trouble finding space in the opposing half just now. As I type, Terry chips a ball into Malouda, who puts in Ramires but the former Benfica man takes a heavy touch and runs the ball out of play. He receives a pass 25 yards out from the same team-mate moments later but drags a shot well wide.
Chelsea’s best chance of the game so far. Torres puts in good work on the wing and gets his cross in. Florent Malouda may not be the tallest player on the pitch but gets his head onto it… and directs the ball off target.
Then from a corner, Ivanovic should do better when given some room. Five minutes to play in this half.
Over at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton and Spurs have played a half hour without scoring. The build-up was marked by an emotional return from midfielder Fabrice Muamba, who suffered a cardiac arrest on March 17.
See more here.
Cech has to get down quickly to save a strike from Ba, who takes on three defenders and picks out the bottom corner. When the ball arrives at his feet from a Hatem Ben Arfa corner, the 26-year-old smashed the crossbar.
Half-time: Chelsea 0-1 Newcastle
GOAL! Bolton 0-1 Tottenham (Luka Modric)
What a hit from the little Croatian. The midfielder collects the ball at the edge of the box and volleys beyond a crowd of bodies into the top corner.
Second half underway here and Juan Mata have been given the task of shaking things up as he replaces Daniel Sturridge.
Bit of skill from Torres, who shows how much his confidence has returned by crossing with a rabona. Perhaps isn’t the right time to try something like that, however.
Check out Cisse’s goal if you’ve not yet seen it by the way…
Yellow card for French midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who is outpaced by Ramiers so puts his hand on his markers shoulder. Mata overhits the resulting cross in what is a set-piece Chelsea can’t afford to waste at the moment.
Jon Obi Mikel is on the ground holding his nose, meanwhile, after being caught by Tiote.
This time it’s Tiote who needs treatment. Mikel leads with his elbow and takes out the Ivorian international.
While play is stopped, Di Matteo opts to withdraw Malouda for Didier Drogba.
The stretcher is out for Tiote, who leave the pitch to a huge applause from both sets of fans. Ryan Taylor is on in his place. 21 minutes of normal time remain for Chelsea to make a comeback but there will no doubt be several added on for that eight minute stoppage.
GOAL! Bolton 1-1 Tottenham (Nigel Reo-Coker)
Chelsea on the offensive as Mike Williamson has to make a last ditch header. When the ball is recycled, Torres curls high and wide.
Demba Ba isn’t happy with a challenge from Ivanovic and lets the defender know. Another wayward strike is the end result, Ben Arfa is the culprit.
Ba is off and the longest serving member of Newcastle’s current team, Shola Ameobi, makes his entrance.
Drogba, as you’d expect, goes for goal from a free-kick but Krul has it covered. Frank Lampard is about ready to be introduced and it’s Meireles who is hauled off.
Backs against the wall for Newcastle and it is likely to be likely this until the final whistle. First Drogba goes to ground after a collision with Coloccini, then Lampard fires about five yards wide from the kind of range he thrives in.
GOALS! Bolton 1-3 Tottenham (Rafael van der Vaart and Emmanuel Adebayor)
Two goals in as many minutes for Spurs.
One Frenhman for another. Ex-Manchester United winger returns from injury to get the final few minutes as Ben Arfa comes off.
As that happens, Terry sees a header superbly cleared off the line by Santon.
GOAL! Bolton 1-4 Tottenham (Emmanuel Adebayor)
There will be TEN minutes of additional time. Chelsea still pushing for an equaliser.
Luka Modric cracker alert.
GOAL! Chelsea 0-2 Newcastle (Papiss Demba Cisse)
I’m speechless here…
Ok, if you thought his first was good, this one blows it out of the water! Ameobi chests the ball to the January signing and he belts it with the outside of his boot over the reach of Cech and into the net from distance.
To have the audacity to even attempt that is incredible.
Full-time: Chelsea 0-2 Newcastle
Deary me. He’s obviously been on double portions of goat curry this week.
Alan Pardew: “I did think we were going to win 1-0 but the (second) goal was special. That just sums him (Cisse) up. He feels he’s going to score every time he’s near the goal. It’s probably goal of the season. I’ve been here many times and never won. Newcastle haven’t in their last 18 trips here so it shows what we’ve done tonight.”
On Tiote: “I don’t see any reason why he won’t (play against Manchester City). He had a nasty gash but has been stitched up.”
Newcastle were good value for their win despite having to defend for much of the second half as Chelsea seemed tired and devoid of ideas. So, that sets it up nicely for Sunday when United fans will be praying Cisse and co can produce something similar as they host Man City at St James’ Park aka the Sports Direct Arena.
Spurs, meanwhile, will fancy their chances away to a Aston Villa team who haven’t won in the league since January. An updated version of the table looks like this:
3. Arsenal P36 GD24 Pts66
4. Tottenham P36 GD23 Pts65
5. Newcastle P36 GD9 Pts65
6. Chelsea P36 GD21 Pts61
Who do you think will finish fourth?
And remember, if Chelsea can overcome Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on May 19, the last qualification spot will go to them regardless.
That’s my lot for tonight then. Good night!
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