x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Premier League round-up: Aston Villa record vital away win over Stoke City

Reading seven points adrift at the bottom of the table after defeat to Southampton, Swansea rescue point against Norwich and Arsenal hang on against West Bromwich Albion.

Matthew Lowton of Aston Villa celebrates scoring his team's second goal in a 3-1 win against Stoke City. Chris Brunskill / Getty Images
Matthew Lowton of Aston Villa celebrates scoring his team's second goal in a 3-1 win against Stoke City. Chris Brunskill / Getty Images

Stoke City 1 Aston Villa 3

A world-class strike from Matt Lowton helped Aston Villa to a much-needed 3-1 win over Stoke City, pushing Reading closer to the Premier League trapdoor after Nigel Adkins' side lost 2-0 to his former club Southampton.

Villa moved themselves three points clear of the drop zone and 10 points clear of the bottom two with victory at the Britannia Stadium, but they needed a moment of brilliance from Lowton after seeing Gabriel Agbonlahor's early goal cancelled out 10 minutes from time.

Stoke had an early penalty claim turned down after Jonathan Walters' cross struck Nathan Baker's arm, but it was a flat performance from Tony Pulis' side and Villa capitalised in the ninth minute.

Lowton drove into the box from the right wing and picked out Agbonlahor with a low cross, but the striker still had plenty to do in turning his man to finish from close range.

Andreas Weimann then struck a post as Villa pushed for a second, but Agbonlahor was booked 10 minutes before the break for diving as he claimed a penalty when trying to go past Asmir Begovic.

Stoke came to life after the introduction of Charlie Adam and he set up fellow substitute Michael Kightly to get one back, but with the home fans starting to celebrate a point that would ease their own relegation worries, Lowton struck.

The full-back chested down a high cross and then, with two defenders approaching, lashed a 25-yard shot between them and into the top corner of the net.

Christian Benteke then broke away to slot home a late third and cap a fine day for Villa, while defeat pulls Stoke closer to the scrap at the bottom. If Wigan beat QPR tomorrow, they would be just one point clear of the bottom three.

Norwich City 2 Swansea City 2

Norwich City failed to distance themselves from the relegation battle after Luke Moore rescued a point for Swansea City at Carrow Road.

Suicidal defending at both ends contributed to an entertaining afternoon that could have seen either team finish winners, with the most frenzied action unfolding during a roller-coaster second half.

Norwich pegged back Michu's opener with goals from Robert Snodgrass and Michael Turner that appeared to have secured three important points which would have eased their relegation concerns.

But Moore had the final say 15 minutes from time, denying the Canaries only their third Premier League victory since December.

Reading 0 Southampton 2

Southampton went some way to securing their Premier League status with a 2-0 victory away to Reading, taking them seven points clear of the drop zone, while Reading are seven points adrift at the foot of the table. Jay Rodriguez scored the opener on 34 minutes, Adam Lallana the second on 72 minutes.

West Bromwich Albion 1 Arsenal 2

Tomas Rosicky's double earned 10-man Arsenal their sixth win in the past seven Premier League games and increased the pressure on Chelsea and Tottenham in the battle for a Champions League spot.

Rosicky broke the deadlock at the Hawthorns with his first league goal of the campaign and then added a second early in the second period.

West Brom midfielder James Morrison reduced the arrears from the penalty spot after Per Mertesacker was red carded for bringing down Shane Long but the Gunners held on to claim the three points.

Victory enabled Arsene Wenger's side to climb above Chelsea into fourth spot and they are now only a point behind Spurs with their two main rivals both in action Sunday.

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