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Arsenal scored three times in the final ten minutes to maintain their pursuit of Champions League football as they leapt to third in the table on Saturday, while Everton also maintained their charge towards European football.

Elsewhere, Reading look increasingly likely to join Rangers in the Championship next season despite a draw with Liverpool, and Aston Villa remain concerned after they were held by Fulham.

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Arsenal made it seven wins from their last eight league outings with a 3-1 triumph over Norwich at Emirates Stadium, lifting them above Chelsea and Tottenham. Goals from Mikel Arteta, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski did the damage for Arsene Wenger's men, who trailed to Michael Turner's opener until the 85th minute.

Norwich will still fear the prospect of being dragged into the bottom three after defeat left them four points clear of 18th-placed Wigan - having played two extra matches.

Olivier Giroud came closest to breaking the deadlock for Arsenal in the opening half-hour, glancing Bacary Sagna's cross across goal and shaving the woodwork. The returning Jack Wilshere looked slightly rusty in the middle of the Arsenal midfield, but Santi Cazorla was on the ball frequently as another chance came and went for Giroud before half-time.

However, the game changed in the 56th minute when Turner was afforded a free header from a Robert Snodgrass free-kick, burying his effort into the bottom corner. Arsenal's response was initially poor, barely fashioning a chance in the next 20 minutes, but a tugged shirt allowed Arteta to net a penalty in the 85th minute before Giroud bundled the ball home to give them the lead, and Podolski then made things safe.

Everton's dream of Champions League football remains a realistic prospect after a 2-0 win at home to QPR moved them within three points of fourth-placed Tottenham. David Moyes' men have played the extra game, but strikes from Darron Gibson and Victor Anichebe intensified the pressure.

Defeat for QPR leaves them seven points from safety with five games to play, and the breakthrough goal came laced with misfortune as Gibson's drive deflected past Julio Cesar from Clint Hill.

However, it was hard to argue that Everton did not deserve their lead, and they battered away at the QPR defence in the second half. A second arrived when Anichebe flicked home a set-piece, and the Toffees could have added more by the final whistle.

Reading are in the same position as QPR, on 24 points, after they drew 0-0 with Liverpool at the Madejski Stadium. Liverpool's outside hopes of securing European football for next season are surely now over after Reading 'keeper Alex McCarthy had a stormer.

Liverpool were first to threaten, Luis Suarez dinking the ball over the home goalkeeper, but Chris Gunter was there to head off the line. Suarez then played Daniel Sturridge behind the defence, but his first touch allowed Reading to get bodies in the way of the eventual shot.

The visitors continued to dominate, with Suarez and Steven Gerrard both denied before McCarthy made a world-class point-blank save to deny Sturridge. The pattern continued after the break, with Philippe Coutinho's classy back-heeled finish ruled out for offside after Gerrard's cross.

Noel Hunt had Reading's best chance when Pepe Reina produced a stunning block with his feet, and the Liverpool 'keeper needed to be sharp again to tip over from Jobi McAnuff. Liverpool were still the dominant force, though, and McCarthy produced two more world class saves to deny Gerrard and Suarez in the dying minutes.

Aston Villa only managed to put three points between themselves and the bottom three - having played two extra games - after a 1-1 draw with Fulham at Villa Park. Charles N'Zogbia handed Paul Lambert's side the lead on home soil but a Fabian Delph own goal pegged them back.

N'Zogbia was only in the team due to the enforced absence of Gabriel Agbonlahor, but he produced a special finish early in the second period to hand Villa the lead. It lasted only 11 minutes though as Delph found his own net at a corner, silencing a nervy Villa crowd.

Elsewhere, Southampton and West Ham failed to leapfrog Fulham into the top half, drawing 1-1 at St Mary's. Gaston Ramirez's goal pushed Saints ahead but Andy Carroll pegged them back.

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