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Swansea escape EPL relegation zone with 3-1 win over Arsenal


IANS Swansea (Wales)
Arsenal's continuing woes redounbled to the benefit of Swansea City, who upset the London football giants 3-1 to climb out of the English Premier League (EPL) relegation zone for the first time since early November.
Following the away loss on Tuesday, Arsene Wenger-coached squad has now gone five consecutive away matches without a victory, including a 2-4 loss to second-division club Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup, reports Efe.
Nacho Monreal put the visitors ahead in the 33rd minute at Swansea's Liberty Stadium, only to see Sam Clucas equalise for the hosts a minute later.
Swansea pulled ahead in the 61st minute thanks to a major blunder by Arsenal veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech that left the ball at the feet of Swansea striker Jordan Ayew, who pushed the ball into the net to make it 2-1.
The London side went on the attack, but a second goal by Clucas in the 86th minute clinched a second straight win for Swansea, who remain undefeated in three EPL matches since the arrival of new coach Carlos Carvalhal.
With 23 points from 25 matches, Swansea vaulted from last place to 17th, but remain far from safety, as 18th place Stoke have the same number of points and a game in hand.
"We had a few chances in the first half where we could've scored a few goals, and we continued that in the second half. I thought we deserved the win," Clucas was quoted as saying by Swansea's website.
"It's massive for our confidence. Every win breeds confidence and takes a huge weight off your shoulders. We didn't want to be stuck at the bottom and be seven or eight points adrift. We just need to concentrate on continuing to put in performances like that."
Arsenal, at 42 points, are in sixth place, eight points away from the final Champions League spot.
"I would say Swansea won decisive duels offensively and defensively, which is what we didn't do. On top of that we made unusual, massive mistakes, that was the killer," Arsenal chief coach Arsene Wenger was quoted as saying by the club's website
"Maybe after a while it becomes a confidence problem as well, but overall it's easy to put it down to confidence and tonight it's very difficult to find a rational explanation behind our performance," the veteran French tactician added.
Fourth place now belongs to Liverpool, who dominated Huddersfield Town in a 3-0 victory on Tuesday, getting goals from Emre Can (26th minute), Roberto Firmino (45+1) and Mohamed Salah (78th, penalty).
The victory boosts Liverpool to 50 points and seemed to mark the end of a slump that came after they ended leaders Manchester City's undefeated season in an exciting 4-3 win at Anfield Stadium.
Liverpool followed that impressive triumph by losing to Swansea in the EPL and bouncing out of the FA Cup with a 2-3 home loss to West Bromwich Albion.
Tuesday's defeat leaves Huddersfield in 14th place with 24 points.
In the day's other match, West Ham United and Crystal Palace deadlocked 1-1 in a London derby and remain within a point of each other in the middle of the table.
Christian Benteke put visiting side Palace ahead in the 24th minute. Mark Noble successfully converted a penalty in the 43rd minute to level it up for West Ham.

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First Published: Jan 31 2018 | 4:08 PM IST

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