It was a Premier League day that could hardly have gone any better for Tottenham Hotspur.
With its 4-0 win at Aston Villa — inspired by Son Heung-min’s hat trick — and losses for both Arsenal and Manchester United on Saturday, Spurs became favourite to claim the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot.
Antonio Conte’s team is hitting form just as its rivals are imploding and now has a three-point cushion in fourth place over Arsenal, which slumped 2-1 at home to Brighton for a third loss in fourth games.
As for United, a 1-0 loss to an Everton team that had been in freefall constituted another low in what has turned into a desperate season. One, remarkably, that could yet end without qualification for European competition.
United is in seventh place, six points behind Tottenham and with plenty of traffic between them.
In Son, Harry Kane and Dejan Kulusevski, Tottenham has an attacking triumvirate that is proving impossible to keep down and they scored and assisted all four goals against Villa.
Son now has six goals in his last three league games, having opened the scoring in the third minute after a shot from Kane deflected into his path at the edge of the area.
His finish was unforgiving, kissing the post on its way in just like his third goal — in the 71st and off a pass from Kulusevski — which completed his first hat-trick of the season.
Two glancing headers from Kane set up the other goals from Kulusevski and Son in the 50th and 66th minutes.
Tottenham and Arsenal meet in their third-to-last matches of the season, respectively. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will just be hoping his team is not out of the running by then.
The absences of first-choice left back Kieran Tierney and influential holding midfielder Thomas Partey are proving significant for Arsenal, disrupting the team’s defensive solidity established under Arteta.
Five days after a 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace, Arsenal was undone by goals from Leandro Trossard and Enock Mwepu for Brighton. Martin Odegaard scored an 89th-minute consolation for Arsenal.
Anthony Gordon was Everton’s match-winner against United, with his 27th-minute effort deflecting in off the outstretched leg of Harry Maguire.
The goals flew in at St Mary’s Stadium, where Chelsea consigned Southampton to its latest humiliating defeat.
After losing 9-0 in each of the last two seasons, a similar scoreline looked possible for Southampton when it fell 6-0 down after 54 minutes but Chelsea eased up in the final half-hour ahead of a trip to Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.
In the day’s other game, next-to-last Watford lost 3-0 to Leeds and slipped six points from safety.