LONDON: Amid all the fervour at Old Trafford the action which mattered began in the Premier League with Emmanuel Adebayor striking the late winner with which Tottenham won 2-1 at Stoke to maintain their hopes of a Champions League slot.
Steven Nzonzi surprised Spurs with a goal after only three minutes but Clint Dempsey levelled on 35 and then the visitors were handed extra encouragement when Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam was sent off for a second yellow card, after fouling Jan Vertonghen, just after the interval.
They huffed and puffed and eventually Adebayor struck to follow up his goal-scoring, man-of-the-match display in Spurs’ midweek draw at Chelsea.
Arsenal must beat new FA Cup-winners Wigan in North London on Tuesday to regain fourth place from their neighbours with one round of matches game remaining.
At the other end of the table Norwich and Newcastle are safe for another season after winning home and away respectively by 4-0 and 2-1 against West Bromwich and relegated Queens Park Rangers.
However Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland are still at risk after being held 1-1 at home by Southampton.
A late equaliser from Jason Puncheon earned a crucial point for the Saints. They are also safe, though it may depend on goal difference.
If Wigan win at Arsenal on Tuesday they can stay up by winning against Aston Villa next Sunday and sending Villa or Sunderland down.