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Arsenal strengthened their chances for a top-four finish in the Premier League when they trounced Mark Hughes’ Stoke City 4-1 at the Bet 365 Stadium on Saturday.
The Gunners took the lead through Olivier Giroud just a few minutes shy of the half-time, and German playmaker Mesut Ozil doubled their advantage ten minutes into the second period. The Potters threatened a comeback when Peter Crouch pulled one back in the 67th minute, but Alexis Sanchez restored the two-goal lead for Arsenal nine minutes later. Giroud then heaped further misery on the home team with a second against his name in the 80th minute.
The result sees Arsenal move within just a single point of fourth-placed Liverpool and if the Reds slip up, Arsene Wenger’s men stand a great opportunity to finish in the Champions League spots. Here is how the Arsenal players fared:
Alert to react when called upon. Not tested nearly enough though by Stoke. Had no chance to stop the goal.
One error aside, the summer arrival impressed again with another solid display. Looks at home at this level.
Went close to scoring with a headed effort. Solid and untroubled at the back, except for that rash challenge on Xherdan Shaqiri. Booked.
Overcame an injury scare to start and the captain looked unruffled at the back. Was put under some pressure by Crouch, but coped well.
Returned to the starting XI in place of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and put in a marvelous display. Always a threat down the right-flank and contributed with a great assist for Giroud’s opener.
The Frenchman was included ahead of Aaron Ramsey and he did full justice to his selection with a fine performance. Won his tackles, got forward well and brought his teammates into play. Played a part in the build-up to Giroud’s goal as well. Impressive.
Continued his impressive form with another combative display in the middle of the park. Won the ball well, brilliant in possession.
Looks completely revitalized in recent weeks. Another strong performance down the left-flank as he offered a constant threat with his forward runs.
Set Ozil up with a brilliant defence-splitting pass before scoring a good goal himself. Worked hard off the ball as well. Excellent.
Doubled Arsenal’s lead with a delightful finish in the second half. Played a stunning pass in the build up to Giroud’s second. An influential display and a one that is long overdue.
Bagged a double with goals on either side of the half-time. Worked extremely hard and helped his team out while defending set pieces. Gets overshadowed by his teammates but is a vital member.
Replaced Sanchez right after his goal. Instant impact as he set Giroud up for the fourth.
Replaced Ozil with less than ten minutes left.
Came on for Giroud in the 84th minute.
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