Tottenham tighten grip on Premier League top-four spot after losing to Arsenal, Manchester United


Tottenham beat Aston Villa 4-0 on Saturday to strengthen their hold on fourth place in the Premier League after both Manchester United and Arsenal slipped. Third-placed Chelsea ended the difficult week with a 6-0 win over Southampton as Leeds climbed nine points above the relegation zone with a comfortable 3-0 win over Watford. Six wins in seven league games for the free-scoring Spurs have made them strong favorites to qualify for next season’s Champions League with Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

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Son Hyung-min scored a hat-trick for Antonio Conte’s men at Villa Park, with Dejan Kulusevsky also spurred his opponents to the sword.

Impressive Harry Kane provided two assists while Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Loris opened the scoring with seven saves in the opening 45 minutes.

The win puts the Spurs at 57 points – three ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal and six ahead of West Ham and Manchester United.

Conte told the BBC: “I am very happy because I have a group of players who want to show me that they can improve in many ways.

“When you have this you should be happy to work with them and try to do something important at the end of the season. With seven games left, we are showing that we deserve to be in the race for a place in the Champions League. “

In the opening kick-off, Frank Lampard’s Everton beat United 1-0 to move up four points from the relegation zone while Arsenal lost 2-1 to Brighton – their third defeat in four games.

The decisive moment in Goodison Park came in the middle of the first half when Anthony Gord hit a shot that hit England defender Harry Maguire and David De Gea on the wrong foot into the United goal.

Lampard said he is proud of his fighting side, who have been trying to maintain Everton’s record of being present on the English top flight since 1954.

“Beautiful football can come later,” he told BT Sport. “I have the ambition to survive, to play well, for this club, but the fight is first and foremost in the position we are in.”

United’s interim manager Ralph Rangnik, who has a two-year contract with United after this season, was asked if speculation about the club’s next manager was creating an unfavorable situation.

“I don’t think this should be an excuse for anyone,” he said, referring to Ajax boss Eric Tan Hague as a strong favorite to be the next permanent boss.

“We are Manchester United, we have a lot of international players.”

Arsenal stumble

Arsenal are sinking at the wrong time after putting themselves in a strong position to qualify for the Champions League – they have not played in Europe’s elite competition since the 2016/17 season.

Bright took the lead at the Emirates Stadium when Leandro Trossard turned Enoch Mavepu’s low cross home and the Zambian midfielder added a second. Martin Odegaard scored a reassuring goal late.

“It’s been a tough week and we’ve lost some big players, but if you get what you want, not everything will go with the blue sky,” Mikel Arteta told the BBC.

“It simply came to our notice then. There are lots of games to play but we need to worry about that performance, especially the first half. “

Chelsea suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Brentford last week before losing 3-1 to Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

But they regained confidence on Saturday, racing to a 6-0 lead with two goals from Mason Mount and Timo Werner in the 54th minute.

“Performance changed, commitment and discipline,” said Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel. “That’s the way we want to play and we finally answered because you can see it on the scoreboard.”

Manchester City and Liverpool face off in a top-of-the-table clash at Etihad on Sunday.

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