Newcastle United moved level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur as the battle for Champions League qualification intensified in the English Premier League on Monday.
Newcastle's 2-0 win over strugglers Bolton combined with Tottenham's 2-1 loss at home to Norwich left the Champions League rivals together on 59 points.
After a goalless first half at St. James' Park, Hatem Ben Arfa gave Newcastle a sensational 73rd minute lead when he went on a stunning 70-metre run to open the scoring in the 73rd minute.
“He's got that bit of magic,” said Newcastle manager Alan Pardew. “Hopefully it will persuade his manager to include him in the French squad.”
In-form Senegal striker Papiss Demba Cisse, one of the signings of the season, then made it 10 goals in nine games when he turned in Shola Ameobi's cross from close range seven minutes from time.
Tottenham fell behind at White Hart Lane when Anthony Pilkington capitalised on a mix-up in the Spurs defence to fire the Canaries into a 13th minute lead.
But, England striker Jermain Defoe drew Tottenham level after the half-hour mark in controversial fashion.
Norwich appealed for a penalty when Spurs defender Ledley King appeared to grab hold of forward Grant Holt's shirt but play continued and the home side broke down the other end, with Jake Livermore setting up Defoe, who produced a cool finish.
However, the Canaries —- all but assured of safety following promotion from the Championship last season — saw winger Elliott Bennett lash the ball past Brad Friedel as the Spurs defence backed off to make it 2-1 in the 66th minute.
“I thought they bullied us a little bit. It was a difficult day for our boys at the back,” Spurs manager Harry Redknapp told reporters.
“Credit to them ... I think they deserved it. We were disappointing,” he added as Spurs stretched their poor run to one win in five league games.
Everton enjoyed the perfect preparation for Saturday's FA Cup semifinal against Liverpool as it routed Sunderland 4-0 at Goodison Park.
David Moyes' team will head south to Wembley later this week in good heart after its fourth win in five games in all competitions.
The Toffees are now four points clear of Merseyside rivals Liverpool thanks to a second-half goal spree that demolished Sunderland in emphatic fashion.
French midfielder Magaye Gueye opened the scoring and South Africa midfielder Steven Pienaar increased Everton's lead before goals from Leon Osman and Victor Anichebe sealed the rout.
It was the perfect Cup warm-up for Moyes, who was able to rest Leighton Baines, Nikica Jelavic and Tim Cahill and still secure Everton's biggest win of the season.
The results: Everton 4 (Gueye 52, Pienaar 75, Osman 76, Anichebe 81) bt Sunderland 0; Newcastle 2 (Ben Arfa 73, Cisse 83) bt Bolton 0; Tottenham 1 (Defoe 33) lost to Norwich 2 (Pilkington 13, Bennett 66); Aston Villa 1 (Weimann 32) drew with Stoke 1 (Huth 71).