Tottenham lose to QPR as the top-four merry-go-round spins on
Queens Park Rangers have done two things consistently in recent weeks: caused upsets as underdogs against so-called bigger sides and fallen victim to the poor decisions of referees.
Before kickoff, Mark Hughes was hoping for the former and, thanks to ex-Spurs man Adel Taarabt, his players duly delivered.
The Moroccan international has enjoyed an erratic season – at times capable of breathtaking brilliance, whilst at other times guilty of astounding indifference.
Playing against his former employers, the young midfielder displayed the good, bad and the ugly side to his game; netting a winner, only to be duly dismissed.
Smashing home a long-distance free kick, the flamboyant Taarabt further dented the Lilywhites’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.
Though Spurs would have hoped to rally in the final 13 minutes of the game, after the Moroccan was sent off QPR held on to record another impressive home victory.
Arsenal and Chelsea played out a fairly tepid affair to heat up the race for Champions League qualification.
After vanquishing Barcelona, Chelsea fielded a side with many changes, bringing in the likes of Malouda, Romeu, and Sturridge in place of Drogba, Lampard and Mata.
Arsenal, on the other hand, had to make do without the influential Mikel Arteta – one of the midfielders of the season – deploying Aaron Ramsey in his place instead, while awarding another start to the promising Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The game’s frenetic rhythm soon took hold of the encounter, as both midfield-laden line-ups created a rough-and-tumble battle in the middle of the pitch. Both teams struggled to impose themselves on the game, creating few clear-cut chances.
Chelsea’s defence grew in confidence and thwarted Arsenal’s advances, laying the gauntlet down to the Gunners to step up the tempo and force play.
Strangely, despite Chelsea’s aerial prowess, it was the home team that threatened via set pieces, Laurent Koscielny striking the crossbar after latching onto a well-delivered cross.
Although Rob Van Persie also hit the post, neither was allowed to operate in full flow, resulting in a rare Emirates nil-nil.
Newcastle continue to march on after comfortably seeing off Stoke and subsequently took advantage of the stalemate at the Emirates to roar on in the race for the Champions League.
Putting on a fine display against a strong Stoke team, the home side recorded a resounding victory to the elation of the black-and-white faithful.
Two goals in the first 20 minutes all but sealed the outcome of the game, as Yohan Cabaye and then Papiss Cisse put Newcastle in a strong position.
Cisse, having created the opener and added to his fantastic tally, capped a wonderful Newcastle performance with a sterling individual shift, bringing the good times back to the club of Shearer, Keegan and Macdonald.
Following Tottenham’s defeat, Newcastle appear odds-on to finish in the top four.
Blackburn Rovers 2 Norwich City 0
Fulham 2 Wigan Athletic 1
Bolton Wanderers 1 Swansea City 1
Aston Villa 0 Sunderland 0