Gunners keep top-four hopes alive as Olivier Giroud bags brace in thrashing

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GUNNERS FIRING

Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil scored the other goals as Arsenal closed the gap to fourth-placed Liverpool to just a point

ARSENAL gave their top-four hopes a huge boost as they thrashed Stoke 4-1 with an accomplished away performance.

Importantly, they vastly improved their goal difference, which is now equal to that of fourth-placed Liverpool, with the Gunners just a point behind.

Reuters

Olivier Giroud put Arsenal into the lead just three minutes to half-time with a neat finish

The Frenchman looks to the heavens after he finished off a flowing Arsenal move

Getty Images

The Frenchman looks to the heavens after he finished off a flowing Arsenal move

Olivier Giroud put the visitors ahead just three minutes before half-time when he finished off a flowing move to sweep home.


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The much-maligned Mesut Ozil made it 2-0 ten minutes into the second half after he was beautifully picked out by Alexis Sanchez in the box.

Mesut Ozil certainly turned up today and fired home to make it 2-0

Reuters

Mesut Ozil certainly turned up today and fired home to make it 2-0

There was delight for the Arsenal players, as they went two goals to the good away at Stoke

PA:Press Association

There was delight for the Arsenal players, as they went two goals to the good away at Stoke

Substitute Peter Crouch then had the home fans dreaming of a magnificent comeback when he scored, albeit with his hand, from a Marko Arnautovic ball into the box.

But the Potters’ joy was short lived. Sanchez, who was carrying an injury, fired home for 3-1, with Bellerin again getting the assist.

And Giroud wrapped up an impressive away victory when he slotted home his side’s fourth goal.

Now it’s over to Liverpool.

Peter Crouch brought Stoke back into the game, albeit courtesy of his hand

Reuters

Peter Crouch brought Stoke back into the game, albeit courtesy of his hand

Peter Crouch had only been on the field a matter of minutes before he headed home

Rex Features

Peter Crouch had only been on the field a matter of minutes before he headed home

But Arsenal's talisman Alexis Sanchez restored his side's two-goal advantage with a thundering finish

Reuters

But Arsenal’s talisman Alexis Sanchez restored his side’s two-goal advantage with a thundering finish

What made Alexis Sanchez's goal even more impressive was that he was injured at the time

Reuters

What made Alexis Sanchez’s goal even more impressive was that he was injured at the time

Facts, Stats, Goals and Lols

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Big Picture

Final Fixtures

Stoke

May 21  – Southampton (A) – PL

 

Arsenal

May 16 – Sunderland (H) – PL

May 21 – Everton (H) – PL

May 27 – Chelsea (N) – FA Cup

Social Says

Dream Team Ratings

Stoke: Butland, Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters, Cameron, Whelan, Shaqiri, Allen (Crouch, 60), Arnautovic (Sobhi, 81), Diouf (Berahino, 61)

Subs (not used): Muniesa, Adam, Walters, Grant

Goals: Crouch (67)

Booked: Crouch

 

Arsenal: Cech, Holding, Mustafi, Koscielny, Bellerín, Coquelin, Xhaka, Monreal, Özil, Sánchez, Giroud

Subs (not used): Gabriel, Ramsey, Ospina, Walcott, Iwobi, Welbeck, Elneny

Goals: Giroud (42, 80), Ozil (56), Sanchez (76)

Booked: Mustafi, Holding

 

What They Said

Goalscorer Olivier Giroud: “Everything was not so easy today, we knew it would be a tough game but we have been efficient up front and compact and aggressive at the back.

“It’s a great win today, and we have more finals to come.

“Obviously we have to do the job, but I will be a big fan of West Ham tomorrow, they have all my support.

“But we have to do our job and see if the other results go.

“We are going to keep the faith.”

Defender Rob Holding: “Crouch got that goal, their fans got a bit louder, but we got them on the break and polished them off.”

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