Arsenal leapfrog London rivals

LONDON – Three goals in a frantic final five minutes helped Arsenal move into the box seat in the battle for Champions League qualification with a dramatic 3-1 win at home to Norwich City on Saturday.
Jack Wilshere returned after injury but struggled and was substituted. Net photo.
Jack Wilshere returned after injury but struggled and was substituted. Net photo.

Saturday
Arsenal     3-1     Norwich City
Aston Villa     1-1     Fulham
Everton     2-0     QPRa    
Reading     0-0     Liverpool
Southampton     1-1     West Ham   

LONDON
– Three goals in a frantic final five minutes helped Arsenal move into the box seat in the battle for Champions League qualification with a dramatic 3-1 win at home to Norwich City on Saturday.

A shock was on the cards when Norwich’s Michael Turner opened the scoring in the second half, but with the clock ticking down and frustration levels soaring at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal rallied.

Mikel Arteta levelled from the penalty spot, Olivier Giroud slid in from close range, and Lukas Podolski added the coup de grace to send them third in the Premier League table, one point clear of London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in fourth and fifth.

Everton stay sixth after maintaining their faint top-four aspirations with a 2-0 win at home to Queens Park Rangers thanks to goals from Darron Gibson and Victor Anichebe.

The picture remains bleak for QPR, who are seven points adrift of safety in 19th, level on points with Reading, who earned a point with a backs-to-the-wall 0-0 draw at home to Liverpool.

Aston Villa drew 1-1 with Fulham to move three points clear of the relegation zone, but having played two games more than 18th-placed Wigan Athletic, who were in action in the FA Cup on Saturday, beating Championship side Millwall 2-0 to reach the final.

Mid-table Southampton and West Ham United shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw.

“I thought we wouldn’t give in and fight until the end. No-one could predict we would score three goals but we have great attitude, spirit and desire - and it got us there,” manager Arsene Wenger said on the BBC.

“We deserved to win but we were against a strong side and needed something special.”

After a difficult start to the season, when their top-four hopes were largely written off, Arsenal have now taken 25 points from 30. Apart from a home clash with Manchester United, they look to have a favourable run-in compared to their rivals.

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