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Arsenal survives West Brom scare

Arsenal survived a late push from West Bromwich on Saturday to advance to fourth place in the Premier League with a 2-1 win at the Hawthorns.

The Gunners were in cruise control following a rare brace from Tomas Rosicky. The Czech midfielder opened the scoring in the 20th minute when he nodded a Gervinho delivery into the back of the net from close range. He proceeded to double the advantage five minutes after halftime by slotting home a rebound after his initial attempt was denied by Ben Foster.

Arsenal dictated play up until the 70th minute when Per Mertesacker was issued a straight red card for a rash challenge in the penalty area that denied Shane Long a scoring opportunity. James Morrison stepped up and converted the ensuing attempt from the spot.

West Bromwich made use of the extra man and applied a great deal of pressure to the Arsenal defense, but the visitors managed to stave off the Baggies and improve to 56 points on the season to climb to fourth place.

Chelsea drops to fifth place with the result, but the Blues will have the opportunity to regain its fourth-place position with maximum points against Sunderland on Sunday.

West Bromwich has lost two straight Premier League contests to remain on 44 points.

Southampton 2, Reading 0

Reading, England - Southampton piled more misery on Reading manager Nigel Adkins on Saturday as the Saints cruised to a 2-0 victory at the Madejski.

Adkins was sacked by Southampton earlier in the season and was on the wrong side of a 4-1 score against Arsenal in his first match at the helm of Reading.

It went from bad to worse for Adkins as Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana scored the goals to undo their former manager and keep Reading at the foot of the Premier League table with 23 points.

Southampton has enjoyed a supreme turnaround under the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino. Winning three straight Premier League contests and going unbeaten in their last four league matches has lifted the Saints to 37 points on the season.

Aston Villa 3, Stoke City 1

Stoke-on-Trent, England - Aston Villa took a major step toward Premier League survival on Saturday, grabbing two late goals in a 3-1 defeat of Stoke City at the Britannia.

Gabby Agbonlahor's goal in the ninth minute looked as if it would hold up as the winner until Michael Kightly equalized for the Potters 10 minutes from time.

But the Villans would go on to claim three points in dramatic fashion as Matthew Lowton notched the game-winner with a sublime strike from distance in 87th minute while Christian Benteke produced the insurance goal on the stroke of full time.

Villa climbs out of the relegation zone and improves to 33 points for the season, one point shy of Stoke.

Norwich City 2, Swansea City 2

Norwich, England - Swansea City snapped a three-game losing skid on Saturday with a 2-2 draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road.

The Swans went in front in the 35th minute thanks to Michu's 17th league goal of the season, but Norwich answered through Robert Snodgrass in the 40th minute and Michael Turner at the hour mark.

The Canaries thought they had done enough to claim all three points, but Luke Moore struck 15 minutes from time to see the visitors come away with a share of the spoils.

Swansea climbs to 41 points on the season, six points better than Norwich.