ARSENAL struck three late goals to move back into the top four of the Barclays Premier League and deny Norwich a famous victory at the Emirates Stadium.
With Chelsea and Tottenham not in action because of the FA Cup semi-finals, the Gunners had the chance to put Champions League qualification back in their own hands.
However, the Canaries – who still need a couple of wins to secure top-flight status – produced a resolute battling display and took the lead on 56 minutes through Michael Turner’s close-range header.
With the clock ticking, Arsenal were handed a way back into the match when the assistant referee spotted a shirt pull on Olivier Giroud, pictured, by Kei Kamara. Mikel Arteta kept his cool from the spot to level, before Giroud’s close-range effort turned the match around and substitute Lukas Podolski wrapped up a 3-1 victory in stoppage time.
Brendan Rodgers endured a highly-frustrating return to Reading as a remarkable performance from keeper Alex McCarthy saw Liverpool held to a goalless draw. McCarthy came to the Royals’ rescue by producing a succession of world-class saves to deny Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge.
Everton strengthened their bid for European football with victory. David Moyes’ side cruised to a 2-0 win over QPR to move within three points of Champions League qualification.
Darron Gibson put Everton ahead with a deflected strike five minutes before the interval and Victor Anichebe wrapped up the points, sending QPR a step closer to relegation.
QPR had chances through Junior Hoilett and Loic Remy but they were punished for a lack of quality and endeavour.
Moyes, who would be happy to secure any European football, has played down their chances but with a trip to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal on Tuesday they can put themselves firmly back in the race.
With five matches remaining, QPR are seven points from safety and they simply have to win their next two games against Stoke and Reading – the clubs closest to them in their remaining fixtures – to even stand a chance of surviving.
Aston Villa missed the chance to pull clear of the relegation zone when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Fulham, with Fabien Delph’s own goal cancelling out Charles N’Zogbia’s curling strike.
Delph also wasted a golden chance to atone for his mistake in the 73rd minute, blasting high and wide from the back post after a cross from Andreas Weimann.
Villa could have moved five points clear of the relegation zone but their cushion is just three points and their position remains precarious.
Villa’s goal difference of minus 24 is inferior to both Sunderland and Wigan, who are immediately below them.
Southampton were also held at home after taking the lead, drawing 1-1 with West Ham striker Andy Carroll cancelling out the Saints’ opener from Gaston Ramirez.