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Arsenal tumble as Magpies take flight

sports Updated: Feb 03, 2012 01:21 IST
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Newcastle moved up into fifth place in the English Premier League with a 2-0 win away to strugglers Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday as Arsenal lost ground in their bid for a top four finish.

Victory at Ewood Park saw the Magpies leapfrog both Liverpool and Arsenal, held to a goalless draw away to strugglers Bolton Wanderers on Wednesday.

Newcastle took a 12th minute lead when Blackburn's Scott Dann deflected a 25-yard shot from Ryan Taylor past stranded Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson.

Blackburn, who remain in the bottom three, had a gilt-edged chance to equalise before the break but David Dunn's penalty was saved by Tim Krul and the Newcastle keeper blocked Gael Givet's follow-up.

Rovers' failure to convert several second half chances was compounded when Gabriel Obertan made it 2-0 to Newcastle in the closing seconds.

Sunderland's revival under Martin O'Neill continued as they beat promoted Norwich 3-0 with a convincing victory at the Stadium of Light that took the north-east side into eighth spot.

Sunderland's sixth win in nine league matches under O'Neill was completed when defender Daniel Ayala deflected in a Phil Bardsley cross in the 54th minute.

Elsewhere Djibril Cisse marked his return to English football by scoring on his Queens Park Rangers debut in a 2-2 draw away to Aston Villa.

The 30-year-old French striker, thrust into the side a day after completing a transfer deadline day move from Italian side Lazio on Tuesday, took just 12 minutes to open his Rangers account. Cisse, who had previous spells in England with Liverpool and Sunderland, struck a fierce shot past Shay Given before celebrating with a somersault.

In London, West Brom manager Roy Hodgson saw his side come from behind to draw 1-1 with one of his former clubs Fulham.

Down the ladder
At the Reebok Stadium, visitors Arsenal dominated possession but, with star striker Robin van Persie off-target, dropped down into seventh place.

Arsene Wenger avoided losing four straight league games for the first time in his 16 years as Arsenal manager but a goalless draw with Bolton Wanderers here on Wednesday was meagre consolation.

Arsenal squandered several first-half chances, but were almost caught out themselves by a Bolton side currently enjoying their best form of the season.