Tottenham climb above Chelsea after a 3-1 victory over Reading
APLONDON -- Tottenham climbed provisionally to third, above Chelsea by a point, by beating Reading 3-1 after having fallen behind in the fourth minute. Arsenal is provisionally fifth after a disappointing 1-1 draw at Southampton, needing an own goal to earn a point.
January 3, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
At the bottom, struggling Aston Villa ended a run of three heavy defeats by drawing 2-2 at Swansea but will rue conceding an equalizer deep into stoppage-time by Danny Graham.
Out-of-form pair Fulham and West Ham both won 2-1, against West Bromwich and Norwich, respectively, to stop their slide toward the relegation zone.
With Chelsea not playing until Wednesday, against last-place Queens Park Rangers, Tottenham didn't waste a chance to rise above its London rival.
Pavel Pogrebnyak put Reading ahead early but Michael Dawson equalized, Emmanuel Adebayor headed powerfully in for 2-1 and Clint Dempsey added a deflected third.
“We did well to close out the festive period with 10 points from four games and hopefully we will continue this form to put ourselves in the position we want to be,” Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas said.
Spurs are five points ahead of fifth-place Arsenal, which produced a flat display at relegation-threatened Southampton and fell behind to Gaston Ramirez's 34th-minute goal.
Dimitar Berbatov was at his delightful best for Fulham, the languid Bulgarian striker scoring one and running rings around West Brom's defense in a vital win at the Hawthorns. Sweden winger Alex Kacaniklic grabbed Fulham's 58th-minute winner, ending his team's four-match winless run that had dropped it close to relegation trouble.
Norwich slipped to a fourth straight league loss after conceding first-half goals to Mark Noble and Joey O'Brien for West Ham, rendering Russell Martin's late goal a consolation.
Villa finally earned a point at the end of a chastening festive schedule, in which it had conceded 15 goals in three big losses, but Paul Lambert's side still won't be happy.
Christian Benteke looked to have given Villa victory by converting an 84th-minute penalty at the Liberty Stadium for 2-1 but Graham scored in a goalmouth scramble four minutes into injury time to grab a deserved point for Swansea.
Swansea returned to the top flight in 2011 for the first time in 28 years.
Their Welsh rivals Cardiff City extended their lead in the English Championship (second division) to seven points with a 1-0 win at Birmingham City on Tuesday as they stepped up the bid to Swansea City in the Premier League.