LONDON: Arsenal shot up from fifth to third in the Premier League after scoring three times in the last seven times to turn around what had threatened to be a surprise home defeat by Norwich.

Strikes from Mikel Arteta, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski took advantage of the fact that neither Chelsea nor Tottenham were playing in this league this weekend.

An Arteta penalty after 85 minutes cancelled out Michael Turner’s header and Giroud then turned in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross to put the Gunners ahead. Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski then twice denied Norwich an equaliser before Podolski shot home from the edge of the box.

Everton strengthened their bid for European football next season with a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers to move within three points of Champions League qualification.

Darron Gibson and Victor Anichebe scored a goal in each half while QPR regretted chances wasted by Junior Hoilett and Loic Remy.

Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy was Reading’s hero as the bottom club ended an eight-game losing run with a goalless draw at home to Liverpool. Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge were all foiled by McCarthy’s brilliance.

Coutinho also had a goal disallowed for offside and Suarez saw a chip cleared off the line by Chris Gunter.

Aston Villa missed a chance to pull clear of the relegation zone when they were held 1-1 by Fulham. Fabien Delph’s own goal cancelled out Charles N’Zogbia’s opener. Villa thus remain a fragile three points above the relegation zone with a poor -24 goal difference.

Loanee striker Andy Carroll claimed his fourth goal in five games as West Ham drew 1-1 with Southampton for whom Gaston Ramirez had opened the scoring.

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