City close in, drama at the bottom
Yaya Toure blasted Manchester City to within touching distance of the Premier League title with a hard-fought victory at Newcastle United. The Côte d'Ivoire international struck twice in the final 20 minutes of a pulsating contest to secure a 2-0 win and three precious points and send City into next Sunday's final-day clash with Queens Park Rangers in pole position to claim their first title in 44 years.
City's last triumph in 1968 came courtesy of a 4-3 win at St James' Park, and today's victory could prove almost as pivotal. They will go into the final weekend ahead of Manchester United on goal difference after Sir Alex Ferguson's side beat Swansea City 2-0 in today's late game.
After watching City's crucial win United did enough against the Welsh side, thanks to first-half goals from Paul Scholes and Ashley Young, but will need an unlikely nine-goal swing on the final day if City do triumph.
There was even more drama at the bottom, with Bolton Wanderers and QPR suffering differing late fortunes. With both needing a win to boost their survival hopes, QPR got one thanks to substitute Djibril Cisse's 89th-minute goal that earned them a 1-0 success over Stoke City.
Bolton too appeared set for victory, with Martin Petrov`s 23rd-minute penalty and Billy Jones' own goal putting them 2-0 ahead against West Bromwich Albion. But despite knowing manager Roy Hodgson is leaving them to take the England job, West Brom rallied back and Chris Brunt (75) and James Morrison (90) stunned the Reebok Stadium in to silence.
As a result, Bolton are two points shy of safety in the final relegation position, and Blackburn Rovers will be relegated if they fail to beat Wigan Athletic tomorrow night. That also means Aston Villa are safe, despite failing to see off ten-man Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park.
They took the lead through Ciaran Clark's deflected effort 35 minutes in, and had a numerical advantage when Danny Rose was sent off for a studs-up tackle on Alan Hutton. But Spurs hit back through Emmanuel Adebayor's penalty after Richard Dunne felled Sandro, putting the London club back above Newcastle into the fourth and final UEFA Champions League spot.
Elsewhere, Clint Dempsey scored his 23rd goal of the season and Mousa Dembele struck the winner as Fulham beat Sunderland 2-1 at Craven Cottage. The visitors had initially levelled through Phil Bardsley's edge-of-the box rocket. Relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers' clash with Everton ended goalless.