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Chelsea stay ahead of Spurs at top of EPL

dpa logodpa 30/04/2017 Rob Harris

Chelsea have kept their noses in front in the race for the Premier League title with a 3-0 win at Everton, with second-placed Spurs beating Arsenal 2-0.

Chelsea passed the toughest test of their English Premier League title run-in to keep Tottenham at arm's length.

Antonio Conte's side took 66 minutes to break Everton's resistance on Sunday before winning 3-0 to remain four points ahead of Tottenham.

Pedro Rodriguez opened the scoring for Chelsea when he collected the ball on the edge of the penalty area before striking under the crossbar from 25 metres.

Gary Cahill gave Chelsea breathing space in the 79th by bundling the ball into the net after Eden Hazard's low free kick was saved and substitute Willian completed the victory seven minutes later.

"We have to have great enthusiasm and great patience because I think we are having a great season but to become a fantastic season we must win," Conte said of the title.

Even if Tottenham cannot overhaul Chelsea in the final four games to win the title for the first time since 1961, it will still be a landmark season for the north London club.

Beating Arsenal 2-0 in Sunday's derby ensures Tottenham will finish above their neighbour for the first time in 22 years.

And if Spurs hold on to second place, it will be their highest finish in 54 years.

For Arsenal, the challenge is extending the team's 20-year run in the Champions League.

But Arsene Wenger's side is six points behind Manchester City, who occupy the fourth qualification place.

City was held 2-2 by relegation-threatened Middlesbrough, but fifth-place Manchester United could only draw 1-1 with battling Swansea and so remain a point behind their neighbour.

Spurs beat Arsenal in the penultimate game at White Hart Lane before the stadium is demolished and Tottenham move into a new adjacent venue after a season at Wembley.

Arsenal imploded at the start of the second half.

Harry Kane ran onto a long throw-in and held up the ball under pressure from Gabriel Paulista.

Dele Alli seized possession and passed to Christian Eriksen, who weaved past Laurent Koscielny before striking at goalkeeper Petr Cech.

The shot was parried, but Alli stuck out his left boot into a crowded area to clip the loose ball into the net in the 55th minute.

Arsenal never recovered.

It took 77 seconds for the penalty to be conceded, with Kane going down lightly under Gabriel's challenge and winning the spotkick.

Kane netted his fifth in five league games against Arsenal.

"I felt that we lacked a little bit freedom to play and desire to hurt them more than what we did," Wenger said.

Arsenal's season could still end with the FA Cup if they beat Chelsea at Wembley.

Tottenham are now virtually assured of making the top four, given their superior goal difference over fifth-place Manchester United, but manager Mauricio Pochettino still craves the title.

"Of course I am disappointed, because it was a great opportunity to reduce the gap, but we are four (points behind Chelsea)," he said.

"But now it's a moment to feel proud, happy."

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