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Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012

Arsenal's title hopes take big blow


LONDON — Arsenal's hopes of challenging for the English Premier League title took what could be a decisive blow Sunday with a 3-2 loss at Swansea.

Robin van Persie put the Gunners ahead in the fifth minute with his 18th goal of the season but Swansea outplayed and outpassed what has long been one of England's most attractive teams.

Arsenal's sixth defeat in 11 road games allowed sixth-place Newcastle to draw even at 36 points with a 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers on Leon Best's 37th-minute goal.

"It's something we all inherently believe in and we've had success with it," Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers said after his team's first win over Arsenal in 30 years. "The players show great courage to pass the ball. Sometimes we make mistakes but I've got a great belief they can play and pass, even against the best teams."

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