English Premier League: Hammers hold Arsenal

Neatly taken goals by Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez put Arsenal 2-0 up.

London: Hapless bottom club Aston Villa avoided relegation from the Premier League by the skin of their teeth on Saturday despite a 1-2 loss at home to Bournemouth. Goals from Steve Cook and Josh King gave Bournemouth victory at Villa Park, but Norwich City's 0-1 defeat at Crystal Palace kept Villa hanging by a mathematical thread.

Meanwhile, Arsenal's title hopes took a hit in a 3-3 draw at West Ham United, with Laurent Koscielny's strike earning a point for the visitors after Andy Carroll's hat-trick saw West Ham come from 0-2 down to lead. The result left Arsenal 10 points below leaders Leicester City, who visit third-bottom Sunderland on Sunday, and three points behind second-place Tottenham Hotspur, who entertain Manchester United later the same day.

While Villa remain a top-flight club for the time being, demotion to the second tier for the first time since the 1987-88 season is still all but inevitable. Cook put Bournemouth ahead at Villa with a clever back-heel finish in first-half stoppage time and King added another in the 74th minute, before Jordan Ayew reduced the arrears late on.

The result left Villa, who sacked manager Remi Garde last month, 15 points below fourth-bottom Norwich with only 15 points left to play for. West Ham and Arsenal played out a gripping but mutually damaging six-goal thriller at Upton Park that did little for either the former's Champions League hopes or the latter's fading title aspirations.

Neatly taken goals by Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez put Arsenal 2-0 up, only for Carroll to net twice in 160 seconds at the end of the first half. The towering striker headed in Michail Antonio's cross to complete an eight-minute hat-trick early in the second half, but Arsenal rescued a point when Koscielny hooked in a 70th-minute equaliser. Swansea City secured their safety by beating Chelsea 1-0 courtesy of a 25th-minute volley from Gylfi Sigurdsson.

( Source : AFP )
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