|Kieran Gibbs (C) celebrates scoring his first league goal for Arsenal as he puts team ahead [AFP]|
A team often recognised for their inconsistency have shown a surprising amount of it over the last couple of months.
Sticking by Arsene Wenger appears to be paying off for Arsenal who improve as those around them drop valuable points.
Arsenal added a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa on Saturday to continue a fabulous run of form that has seen them beat Everton, Newcastle, Liverpool, Tottenham, Sunderland and Blackburn in their last six fixtures.
The result moves the Gunners three points ahead of London rivals Tottenham who could only manage a draw against Chelsea in Saturday’s earlier game.
While third-placed Arsenal look almost certain to play Champions League football next season, Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat to Wigan leaves the club with only the slimmest chance of competing in Europe.
|Results and fixtures|
Saturday March 24
Chelsea 0-0 Tottenham
Sunday March 25
The loss at Anfield came on the back of Wednesday’s slip-up against QPR which saw Liverpool let a 2-0 lead be overturned late on.
Lying back in seventh position, Liverpool fans may soon start to question why Dalglish hasn’t managed to do better after making some big signings.
The Kop legend has spent more than $150 million on transfers since returning to the dugout in 2011.
At the Emirates, Kieran Gibbs scored his first league goal for Arsenal when his angled drive squirmed under Shay Given.
Shortly afterwards Theo Walcott latched onto Alex Song’s chipped pass into the Villa box to put the Gunners in control.
Mikel Arteta added the third with a long-distance free kick in stoppage time.
Arsenal have 58 points, a three-point cushion over fourth-place Tottenham and eight ahead of Chelsea in fifth.
Liverpool are a huge 16 points behind Arsenal and 13 points behind the Champions League positions.
Wigan’s win was a surprise victory and boosted the struggling sides chances of escaping relegation in the Premier League.
Defender Gary Caldwell grabbed the winner in the 63rd minute for Wigan, who remain in the relegation zone but are now level on points with third-bottom Queens Park Rangers.
Uruguay striker Luis Suarez’s 12th goal of the season had earlier cancelled out Wigan’s opener from the penalty spot by Shaun Maloney, but Liverpool slipped to only their second home defeat of the campaign.
Win for Muamba
Bolton beat Blackburn 2-1 in their first game since midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup tie at White Hart Lane last weekend.
Though he remains in intensive care at a London hospital, Muamba’s condition has improved, giving the team an emotional boost ahead of the clash against fellow relegation battler Blackburn, who came into the game with
two consecutive league wins.
David Wheater scored twice in the first half at the Reebok Stadium and despite Blackburn pulling one back through Steven Nzoni in the 56th minute to set up a frantic finish, Bolton held on for the win.
|Bolton players train in Muamba tribute tops before beating Blackburn Rovers [GALLO/GETTY]|
The victory moves Bolton out of the relegation zone and up to 17th place, two points behind Blackburn in 16th.
Sunderland took advantage of another red card for Djibril Cisse by pounding Queens Park Rangers 3-1.
QPR were already a goal down when Cisse’s two-footed tackle on substitute Fraizer Campbell earned him a second sending off in only his fifth QPR match.
James McClean doubled the lead and Stephane Sessegnon made it 3-0 six minutes later, while QPR defender Taye Taiwo scored a late consolation goal from a free kick.
Grant Holt scored twice before being sent off as Norwich came from behind to beat bottom side Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 and plunge the visitors deeper into the mire in the Premier League.
Holt consigned Wolves to a fourth straight loss with goals in the 26th and 45th minutes to take his season’s tally to 12, before receiving his second yellow card for a late tackle four minutes from time.
Winger Matt Jarvis put Wolves in front in the 25th minute but they are now four points adrift of safety.
Everton defeated Swansea 2-0 after taking the lead in the 59th minute when Leighton Baines curled a free kick into the corner after Ashley Williams had brought the England international down on the edge of the box.
Nikica Jelavic secured victory with a tap-in to halt Swansea’s run of three league wins in a row.
However, Swansea – who are competing in their first Premier League season – are only three points behind Liverpool, showing just how small the difference between the so-called big clubs and minnows has become.