sport

Villa rout Norwich, Spurs grab win

Tottenham are four points off fourth place in the Premier League after beating Cardiff 1-0, while Aston Villa won and Palace drew at Swansea.

Roberto Soldado's first goal in nine games fired Spurs to victory over the struggling Bluebirds at White Hart Lane.

The under-fire 28-year-old ended his two-month drought with a cool first-half finish as Spurs edged past Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's relegation-threatened Cardiff.

Soldado's relief was palpable as the 26million Valencia capture notched just his sixth goal in 29 Tottenham appearances.

Tim Sherwood's Spurs consolidated fifth place in the table with their third win in four league games.

Cardiff's seventh consecutive Premier League defeat on the road leaves them one point and one place off the bottom of the table.

Two-goal Christian Benteke emerged as Aston Villa's hero to stave off a potential fan backlash and pile the pressure on Norwich manager Chris Hughton.

For the opening 20 minutes of this 4-1 win Villa were wretched, appearing every inch a side without a goal in their previous three matches and staring at a battle to beat the drop on the back of a miserable home record.

Coming into the game only bottom club Fulham could boast worse form on home soil, so when Wes Hoolahan, a player Villa boss Paul Lambert tried to sign during the January transfer window, scored for Norwich inside three minutes the natives became restless.

But the hosts quelled any unrest by hitting back in style, Benteke netting two in two minutes to rattle the Canaries, before a third by Leandro Bacuna and Sebastien Bassong's own goal.

A dubious penalty rescued a point for Crystal Palace as they drew 1-1 with Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.

Chico Flores was sent off after bringing down substitute striker Glenn Murray late on, but the offence appeared to take place just outside the box.

Yet referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot and Murray converted in front of the travelling Eagles fans to leave a bitter taste for Garry Monk's Swans.

Jonathan de Guzman had put the home side in front midway through a dominant first half, but tactical changes from Palace boss Tony Pulis pulled the visitors back into the contest.

Swansea have now gone six games without a win and appeared to fade after a hectic league and cup schedule.