Newcastle United 3-0 Stoke City
Newcastle cruised to a 3-0 victory over Stoke thanks to a Yohan Cabaye brace and a Papiss Cisee strike.
Cabaye scored on the either side of a Cisse goal to seal Newcastle's sixth straight league win, taking them within three points of third-placed Arsenal with a game in hand.
Alan Pardew's side knew they could move into the top four going into the match and the pressure showed in the early stages. Stoke made the early noises and Jonathan Walters should have put them ahead after 10 minutes when he scooped over from close range after good work from Peter Crouch.
The visitors did not create a better chance for the rest of the game and they were made to pay moments after Walters' chance when Cisse's header came back off the crossbar and Cabaye put the rebound into the back of the net.
Cabaye's third goal of the season settled the hosts' nerves and they doubled their lead four minutes later. Cabaye turned provider this time and his perfectly weighted pass found Cisse who struck his 11th goal in ten games into the bottom corner.
Glenn Whelan almost pulled one for the visitors when he blazed over from the edge of the box but Newcastle dictated the remainder of the game and never looked like letting their lead slip.
Pardew's side came flying out of the traps for the second-half and almost added to their tally straight away when Ba tried to turn in Hatem Ben Arfa's cross.
The third goal inevitably came and it was the best of the bunch, Cabaye bending a low shot into the far corner from the edge of the area.
Cheik Tiote forced two wonder saves out of Asmir Begovic late on as Newcastle looked to put the final nail in the coffin but there were no complaints at the final whistle as the hosts recorded a convincing win.
The Toon Army are now four points ahead of sixth-placed Chelsea and their dreams of Europe are looking increasingly likely, although the club now have their sights on the Champions League after hitting their best run of form since 1996.