Tottenham manager André Villas-Boas might look back at his side’s Europa League clash with Basel last week as the defining moment in Spurs’ season. Deploying all of his big guns, Villa-Boas could only watch on helplessly as both Aaron Lennon and star striker Gareth Bale picked up injuries that saw them miss the weekend clash with Everton and, ultimately, valuable premiership points in a 2-2 draw with the Toffees.
The absence of Bale, Spurs’ top scorer this season with 22 goals in all competitions, as well as speedy winger Lennon meant the home team lacked the killer edge despite Emmanuel Adebayor opening the scoring after just 33 seconds – the second quickest goal of the season. Nevertheless, Everton leveled through Phil Jagielka and took the lead through a superb goal by Kevin Mirallas. But Gylfi Sigurdsson secured a vital point for Hotspur in the dying minutes, tapping home after Adebayor’s attempt came back off the post.
Chelsea beat Sunderland 2-1 at home in Paulo Di Canio’s first match as the Black Cats’ head coach. The Blues moved up to third place with 58 points from 31 games, ahead of Spurs on goal difference but with a game in hand. The battle for a top four finish and a place in next year’s Champions League continues to heat up. Arsenal secured three points against West Bromwich with a 2-1 win on the road, their third straight win in the league. The Gunners are now only two points adrift of Hotspur and also have a game in hand.
Queens Park Rangers and Reading can just about pack their bags and start preparing to head back to the Championship. QPR looked certain to grab a crucial three points when they led Wigan 1-0 deep into stoppage time only for a spectacular Shaun Maloney free kick to deny them while Reading slumped to a 2-0 loss to Southampton. They now sit eight points shy of safety.