By Martyn Herman
Arsenal thumped Liverpool 4-1 to close to within four points of Premier League leaders Chelsea and Manchester United also retained their slim title hopes by beating Aston Villa on Saturday.
With Chelsea in action later against Stoke City, Arsenal applied a little pressure to Jose Mourinho’s side by sweeping away Liverpool before half-time at The Emirates where Hector Bellerin, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were all on target.
Olivier Giroud sealed victory in the final minute after a Jordan Henderson penalty had raised the hopes of fifth-placed Liverpool, who also had Emre Can sent off late in the game.
Ander Herrera scored twice and Wayne Rooney once with a spectacular strike as Manchester United moved above champions Manchester City into third place with a 3-1 home win over Aston Villa.
Chelsea, who host Stoke City, have 67 points from 29 games with Arsenal on 63 and United 62, both from 31 matches. Liverpool are drifting away on 54 points.
It was a good day for teams striving to avoid relegation with bottom club Leicester City 2-1 home winners over West Ham United and 18th-placed Queens Park Rangers crushing West Bromwich Albion 4-1 for a rare away win.
Hull City’s worries deepened, however, after a 3-1 loss at Swansea City.
Southampton’s hopes of a top-four spot look forlorn after a 1-0 defeat at Everton left them in sixth place.