Arsenal and Spurs maintain CL pursuit; survival boost for Everton

LONDON (AP) — As you were chasing Champions League qualification. At the other end of the Premier League, however, the relegation slide has grown even tighter.

Arsenal remained in fourth place after Gabriel’s header secured a 2-1 win at West Ham to stay two points clear of Tottenham after their north London rivals beat Leicester 3-1 on Sunday with a double by Son Heung-min.

Chelsea look well placed to qualify for the Champions League despite being just three points clear of Arsenal with four games remaining after losing 1-0 at Everton.

It’s a result – achieved by Richarlison – that gives Everton hope of avoiding relegation after a 68-year stint in the Premier League.


Everton have moved two points from safety with five games remaining and one game behind Leeds and Burnley, who are just above the drop zone.

FLARE LAUNCHED

Richarlison’s four goals in his last five league appearances are as many as he has scored in his first 21 games of the season.

The last came 59 seconds into the second half at Goodison Park. Richarlison and Demarai Gray pressured Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta to lose the ball and the Brazilian took advantage by sweeping a shot past goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

But Richarlison could face action from the Football Association after picking up a blue flare during his goal celebrations and sending it back into the stand.

Everton relied on saves from Jordan Pickford to preserve victory – denying Cesar Azpilicueta, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Thiago Silva.

“We’re still in a massive fight,” captain Seamus Coleman said. “We have to keep going and keep fighting.”

Third-placed Chelsea have just four points from their last four games.

“We struggle to play without big mistakes,” said Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel. “And that’s why we struggle to get results.”

DOUBLE WIRE

Son is now on a career-high 19 Premier League goals in a season, just three behind Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah in the race for the Golden Boot.

Before scoring against Leicester, Son also opened the scoring in the 22nd minute by delivering a corner kick to unmarked Harry Kane to head into the bottom corner to end a five-game scoreless streak.

It was also Tottenham’s first attempt on target in 221 minutes.

The hosts struggled for another view of goal until the hour mark when they doubled their lead.

Cristian Romero was the architect as he produced a crisp tackle on Caglar Soyuncu down the halfway line that freed Dejan Kulusevski and the Swede ran clear and caught Son, who found the bottom corner.

Son’s second came after collecting the ball on the right, cutting inside and curling a shot high into the net in the 79th minute from range. The South Korean striker was denied a hat-trick after being substituted by coach Antonio Conte.

“We are talking about a great player, a fantastic player,” Conte said. “But it’s important at the end of the season to celebrate a great achievement with the team. Otherwise it’s just a personal achievement to score these kinds of goals.

Kelechi Iheanacho scored a consolation in stoppage time for Leicester, who are 11th in the table and focused on their Europa Conference League semi-final against Roma on Thursday after drawing the first leg 1-1 .

HEADS OF THE DEFENDERS

Like Leicester, seventh-placed West Ham are focused on Europe and their Europa League semi-final second leg against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.

Arsenal struggled further forward before Bukayo Saka’s corner was headed in by Rob Holding in the 38th minute for his first-ever Premier League goal since making his debut in 2016.

The lead lasted seven minutes when Jarrod Bowen equalized from close range before the break. But Arsenal took the lead again nine minutes into the second half when Gabriel Martinelli crossed an unmarked Gabriel for a diving header that beat former Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski at the far post.

After three straight defeats, Arsenal have won three in a row.

“It’s nice and tight and we’ll have to keep going for the rest of the season,” Holding said. “Your heart rate will sometimes increase, but if we can continue to control what we do and accumulate points, that’s all we can worry about.”

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