QPR sink Sunderland; Villa down Reading; Saints secure point
Queens Park Rangers claimed another vital victory in their battle against relegation with a 3-1 home success over Sunderland, while Aston Villa scrambled out of the bottom three courtesy of their triumph away to fellow strugglers Reading.
West Brom moved above Capital One Cup winners Swansea following their 2-1 Hawthorns triumph over Michael Laudrup's men, as Norwich and Southampton played out a goalless draw in snowy conditions at Carrow Road.
Spectacular goals from Jermaine Jenas and Andros Townsend secured a priceless 3-1 victory for Queens Park Rangers against Sunderland at Loftus Road.
Click below for individual match reports and stats:Norwich 0 Southampton 0
QPR 3 Sunderland 1
Reading 1 Aston Villa 2
West Brom 2 Swansea 1
Sunderland took the lead in the 20th minute with their first real opportunity as Stephane Sessegnon's trickery created space on the right of the area, with his cross drilled back in by Adam Johnson for Steven Fletcher to convert from close range for his first goal in seven games.
The hosts were back on level terms soon after as Andros Townsend's innocuous shot deflected off John O'Shea's heel and presented Loic Remy with the opportunity to beat Simon Mignolet, scoring the 800th goal in the Premier League this season in the process.
But Townsend (70) and Jenas (90) opened their accounts for the club in stunning fashion with long-range efforts from outside the box to secure three priceless points, although they remain bottom of the pile and four from safety.
Aston Villa moved out of the bottom three thanks to their crucial 2-1 victory away to Reading, with FA Cup semi-finalists Wigan replacing them in the bottom three and the Royals now only above QPR on goal difference.
Villa fell behind in comical circumstances when Nathan Baker made a complete hash of his attempted clearance at the far post and only succeeded in slicing the ball into his own net after Jobi McAnuff's drilled cross.
But Villa did not allow their heads to drop and hit back immediately as Ashley Westwood released Andreas Weimann down the right and his pull-back was converted by Christian Benteke from 12 yards out with the aid of deflection.
And they took the lead before the interval when Barry Bannan's flick came back off the inside of the post and third-choice goalkeeper Stuart Taylor could only palm it back into the path of Gabriel Agbonlahor who rifled home with aplomb.
Grant Holt saw his controversial injury time penalty saved by Artur Boruc as Southampton and Norwich had to settle for a point apiece in their respective bids to avoid being dragged into the bottom three.
Holt tumbled in the area under Luke Shaw's challenge with time running out and referee Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot, much to the fury and confusion of the visiting players.
Adam Lallana blazed over in the second half from just 12 yards out with the goal at his mercy after a weak clearance from Jay Rodriguez's low ball in from the left.
Robert Snodgrass looked as though he would break the deadlock when he burst clear and rounded Mark Bunn, only to be denied by a last-ditch tackle from Maya Yoshida.
West Brom put a dampener on Swansea's mood following the news that manager Michael Laudrup had extended his contract with the Welsh club with a 2-1 win at the Hawthorns.
The Capital One Cup winners forged ahead in the 33rd minute courtesy of an excellent header from Luke Moore, as he diverted Jonathan De Guzman's corner beyond Ben Foster.
West Brom swiftly hit back thanks to an excellent first-time finish from in-form striker Romelu Lukaku, with the on-loan Chelsea man converting Graham Dorrans' low cross from the right flank after getting in front of his man for his fourth goal in three Premier League games.
Lukaku missed a glorious opportunity to give his side the lead in the second half when his weak penalty, awarded after Wayne Routledge tangled with Billy Jones and James Morrison, was all too easy for Michel Vorm to save.
But the Baggies took the lead when Gareth McAuley's towering header from a corner was cleared off the line by Angel Rangel, only for the ball to strike the back of De Guzman and find its way into the back of the net in the 61st minute.
Swansea thought they had equalised in the closing stages when Roland Lamah broke into the box and converted at the second attempt after his initial shot was deflected back to him via Foster and McAuley, but the assistant referee incorrectly flagged for offside.