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Gunners hang on to beat Baggies

Arsenal threw down the gauntlet to Chelsea and Tottenham in the battle for Champions League places as they held on for a 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion with ten men.

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• Delaney: Saints sink Adkins

Tomas Rosicky fired the Gunners into a commanding position as his brace put them two goals ahead. However, Per Mertesacker was dismissed for bringing down Shane Long in the box, and James Morrison brought West Brom back into the game from the penalty spot with 20 minutes remaining.

However, Arsenal were able to cling on and survive a late barrage of attacks to move into fourth in the table.

Aston Villa climbed out of the relegation zone after recording a 3-1 victory at Stoke.

Gabriel Agbonlahor gave Villa the early lead following good work from Matt Lowton on the byline but Stoke, having barely threatened, appeared to have been given a lifeline when Michael Kightly made it 1-1.

However, Villa rallied late on, and a sublime goal from Lowton gave Paul Lambert's side the lead once again. It was a goal of the highest quality, the full-back volleying home from all of 30 yards, and Christian Benteke added the third in the opening minute of stoppage time.

Norwich and Swansea played out a 2-2 draw at Carrow Road, with the Canaries now four points clear of the relegation zone.

Michu, having earlier seen an effort ruled out for a foul, gave the Swans the lead, smashing home from Jonathan De Guzman's cutback.

Michael Laudrup's men were only ahead for five minutes, though, as Robert Snodgrass headed home an equaliser after Michel Vorm had failed to claim a cross. Michael Turner then powered a shot beyond Vorm to give Norwich a 2-1 advantage.

However, Luke Moore ensured the spoils were shared after Norwich had failed to clear from a corner.

Southampton hammered a huge nail into the coffin of their former manager Nigel Adkins, as goals from Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana consigned bottom club Reading to a 2-0 defeat.

Adkins was axed by Saints and replaced by Mauricio Pochettino. It looks like the latter will be in the Premier League next term, while Adkins may now be preparing for life in the second tier.

Rodriguez showed tremendous desire on 34 minutes to get to the ball ahead of Reading keeper Adam Federici to score for a third game in a row. The Royals failed to find a counter and Lallana broke down the middle on 72 minutes and swept the ball confidently beyond Federici.

The win takes Southampton on to 37 points and within touching distance of safety, while Reading remain on 23 points with only six games remaining.

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