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Premier League round-up

Arsenal left it late to beat Norwich City and climb into third place, while in the scrap for survival Aston Villa could only draw with Fulham.

Last Updated: 15/04/13 at 16:46

Arsenal came from behind to beat Norwich at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal came from behind to beat Norwich at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal go third; Villa held by Fulham; Everton beat QPR

Arsenal left it late to beat Norwich City and climb into third place, while in the scrap for survival Aston Villa could only draw with Fulham.

Queens Park Rangers lost to Everton and Reading drew with Liverpool as both sides slipped ever closer to relegation, while Southampton were held 1-1 by West Ham United at St Mary's.

Arsenal boosted their UEFA Champions League hopes after a dramatic 3-1 victory which leaves Norwich still embroiled in the relegation battle.

The Gunners have been in fine form recently and had Jack Wilshere back in the starting line-up, but they were frustrated by an organised Norwich side in the first half at Emirates Stadium and created few chances apart from an Olivier Giroud header which hit the woodwork.

It got even better for the Canaries in the 56th minute as Michael Turner headed in a Robert Snodgrass free-kick to stun the Arsenal faithful.

But Arsenal, who were beaten in the reverse fixture at Carrow Road earlier in the season, were awarded a penalty which incensed Norwich in the 85th minute for a tug by Kei Kamara on Giroud, and Mikel Arteta stepped up slot home the spot-kick.

A Sebastien Bassong own goal on 88 minutes put the Gunners in front following an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cross, and there was still time for Lukas Podolski to fire in a third which takes Arsene Wenger's men one point above London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

Everton are also still in contention for a top-four finish after moving to within three points of Chelsea and Spurs thanks to a 2-0 triumph at home to QPR.

Harry Redknapp lamented QPR's cruel luck after Shaun Maloney's late equaliser for Wigan last weekend, and fortune went against his side once more to give Everton the breakthrough at Goodison Park, with Darron Gibson's 40th-minute strike taking a wicked deflection off Clint Hill to wrong-foot Julio Cesar.

An Everton onslaught at the start of the second period was rewarded in the 56th minute as Sylvain Distin headed towards goal and Victor Anichebe flicked it on to beat Cesar, with QPR unable to respond and left seven points adrift of safety with just five games remaining.

Thwarted

Reading also appear destined to be playing Championship football next season after playing out a goalless stalemate with Liverpool.

After a minute's silence at the Madejski Stadium to mark the 24th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, Liverpool started the match strongly but were thwarted by a series of Alex McCarthy saves as Reading somehow reached half-time still on level terms.

The Royals looked more solid after the break and held on to collect their first point under Nigel Adkins, but they could not find the goal they realistically needed to stay in with a chance.

Aston Villa inched further clear of the drop zone but had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to Fulham.

Christian Benteke squandered a good opportunity and Charles N'Zogbia had a shot repelled by Mark Schwarzer in a goalless first half, but Villa were not to be denied and took the lead in the 55th minute.

N'Zogbia, playing in place of the injured Gabriel Agbonlahor, grabbed the goal as Fulham failed to get the ball clear and he curled an exquisite finish inside the far post with his left foot.

However, Villa's good work was undone after 66 minutes when Fabian Delph inadvertently glanced a header into his own net from a corner to the near post, leaving Paul Lambert's men perched precariously three points above the bottom three.

Southampton and West Ham played out a 1-1 draw which keeps both teams comfortably placed in mid-table.

Rickie Lambert came closest to opening the scoring before the break as Jussi Jaaskelainen produced a great stop from close range, before Gaston Ramirez made it 1-0 on 59 minutes with a goal that was created fortunately but finished clinically.

The Uruguayan's initial shot was blocked but the ball broke kindly for him as he darted through on goal and calmly lifted his shot over the onrushing Jaaskelainen.

Andy Carroll quickly drew the Hammers level with a deflected free-kick but neither side could find a winner.

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Readers' Comments

W

e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

HarryBoulton
One Point And One Conclusion For United

P

arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

magicfuller
Warnock sacked by Palace

W

e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

gettalong
Wenger: Giroud deserved red

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