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British 'rich list' mirrors EPL clubs' fortunes

Uzbekistan-born Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has been named the richest man in Britain by the Sunday Times.

Story highlights

  • Derby victory gives Arsenal the edge in race for Champions League place
  • Win at 10-man Fulham comes as shareholder Alisher Usmanov is named UK's richest
  • It lifts club above Chelsea, owned by fellow Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich
  • Former rich list leader Lakshmi Mittal drops to fifth as relegation looms for his club QPR

On the day Alisher Usmanov was named as Britain's wealthiest man, his soccer club Arsenal overtook that of one of his "rich list" rivals in the race for a European Champions League place next season.

Usmanov, the English team's joint-biggest shareholder along with American Stan Kroenke, is worth £13.3 billion ($20.2 billion) according to the annual Sunday Times table -- a rise of almost £1 billion ($1.5 billion) since last year.

Arsenal moved up into third place in the Premier League with Saturday's 1-0 win at Fulham, putting Arsene Wenger's side two points above Chelsea -- owned by Usmanov's fellow Russian Roman Abramovich.

Abramovich is fifth on the Sunday Times list with an estimated wealth of £9.3 billion (£14.16 billion) -- a drop of two places. His team's fortunes have also been sliding since last year's Champions League success, but the Blues can regain third with victory in Sunday's trip to Liverpool.

Read: Real Madrid named most valuable club

Defeat, however, could allow fifth-placed Tottenham to join Chelsea on 61 points if the London side beat second-placed Manchester City earlier in the day.

    Despite moving five points clear of Spurs, Arsenal's top-four hopes remain in the balance, having played two more matches than both London rivals.

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    The Gunners next face runaway leaders Manchester United, but the final three games are against teams near the bottom of the table.

    "We are on a strong run and we just go into the next game and focus on winning that," Wenger told Arsenal's website. "The next game will be Man United so it's a good challenge for us."

    Defender Per Mertesacker scored the only goal against Fulham just before halftime, as the home team had former Arsenal midfielder Steven Sidwell sent off for a rash lunge on Mikel Arteta early on -- his second red card in as many matches.

    Arsenal also ended the game with 10 men after France striker Olivier Giroud was sent off.

    "He said to me that he slipped at the moment he went for the ball, and it's confirmed by the television," Wenger said. "I haven't seen it but he's not a tackler.

    "He went over the ball and, knowing that Sidwell had been sent off before, I had no illusion of the color of the card."

    Another club with connections to a man on the rich list took another step towards relegation on Saturday as Queens Park Rangers lost 2-0 at home to Stoke.

    Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal retained a one-third stake in QPR after Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes became principal shareholder in 2011, but the club's fortunes have mirrored his own.

    Mittal had been Britain's wealthiest man eight years in a row, but has dropped to fourth on £10 billion ($15 billion) -- with £2.7 billion ($4.1 billion) wiped off his value.

    His shares in QPR may also be worth considerably less if the club returns to the second division after just two seasons in the EPL, despite having spent large sums on players under Fernandes -- that will happen on Monday if Aston Villa manage an unlikely victory against Manchester United.

    Saturday's defeat left the London club level on points with bottom side Reading, who lost 2-1 at Norwich, while Stoke climbed six points clear of the relegation zone after ending a run of six defeats and a draw.

    It put Stoke on 37 points along with Newcastle -- who held eighth-placed West Brom 1-1 -- and Sunderland, whose 1-0 win over Everton was the second successive victory for new manager Paolo Di Canio.

    Sunderland's victory -- the club's second since January 23 -- dented sixth-placed Everton's hopes of European qualification, leaving David Moyes' team two points behind Tottenham having played two more matches.

    Wigan stayed in the third and final relegation place after a 2-0 defeat at Wigan, while ninth-placed Swansea drew 0-0 with Southampton, who stayed 12th.

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