Arsenal's Tomas Rosicky scored twice in his side's 2-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion this morning to leap frog Chelsea into fourth place in the English Premier League.
Meanwhile, Matthew Lowton and Christian Benteke scored crucial late goals to give Aston Villa a 3-1 win at Stoke City that lifted Paul Lambert's team out of the relegation zone.
The win sent Villa three points clear of the bottom three, while Stoke, who have won just once in 13 games, are one point better off in 14th place.
Reading's hopes of avoiding relegation were seriously compromised after a 2-nil loss at home to manager Nigel Adkins's former club Southampton left them eight points from safety with only six games remaining.
Southampton, meanwhile, are now seven points above the bottom three after their third consecutive victory and appear poised to secure their status among the elite for a second season.
Elsewhere Norwich City were denied only a second win in 15 games in an entertaining 2-2 draw at home to Swansea City.