LONDON (AP):Less than 24 hours before the global football spotlight falls on Leicester in their bid to win the top tier for the first time, Newcastle came out best in the scrapping at the other end of the English Premier League yesterday.The Magpies moved out of the drop zone for the first time since February after midfielder Andros Townsend’s superb free kick gave Newcastle a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.”The victory means a lot. It gives us momentum, confidence and a connection with the fans,” said Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez.Sunderland again had to rely on its top scorer Jermain Defoe, with the striker grabbing a last-minute equaliser from the penalty spot in a 1-1 draw against Stoke, who took the lead through striker Marko Arnautovic.”Where would we be without Jermain Defoe?” said Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce before answering his own question. “Relegated probably.”Despite drawing, Sunderland dropped into the relegation zone, one point behind 17th-place Newcastle and one point ahead of 19th-place Norwich, who lost 1-0 at Arsenal after Danny Welbeck’s goal in the 59th.”The last thing you can do down in the dogfight is feel sorry for yourselves,” said Norwich manager Alex Neil. “We didn’t get what we deserved.”Both Sunderland and Norwich have three games left while Newcastle have two.At the top, leaders Leicester can win the title by beating Manchester United today.
Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn has told talkSPORT that Theo Walcott will have to fight for his place in the Gunners side when he returns from injury.The winger has been sidelined since January after suffering knee ligament damage during the FA Cup third round victory over fierce rivals Tottenham.In his absence, Wenger has strengthened his attacking options with Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez providing stiff competition for a spot in the Gunners’ attack.And while Winterburn believes the England international may not fit straight back into the squad, he adds that Walcott is likely to become a key member of the squad again when he eventually returns to full fitness.“I’m not sure Walcott will come straight back into the side,” the former defender told Drivetime.“If you remember at the start of last season he was injured and came off the bench a lot and had a massive impact.“Eventually, though, he will come back into the team. Theo is a player I really like, he’s got genuine pace, his goalscoring ability is very, very good.“I think he’ll eventually come in on the right wing, and with Olivier Giroud out for a while it means Welbeck can play on his own up front, with maybe Sanchez going over to the left.“With that front three, that’s how I see Arsenal’s best formation going forward, even when everyone is fit.”