Arsenal 4-1 Liverpool: Gunners blow away rivals’ top four hopes

first_img Hector Bellerin celebrates scoring for Arsenal against Liverpool 1 Arsenal produced a devastating display at the Emirates on Saturday lunchtime to leave Liverpool’s top four hopes in tatters.The Gunners had a seventh successive Premier League victory wrapped up by half-time, with Hector Bellerin, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez scoring in a stunning eight-minute spell.Jordan Henderson pulled one back for the visitors from the penalty spot after the break but any hopes of a comeback were extinguished by Emre Can’s sending off for a second bookable offence, and Olivier Giroud’s stoppage time strike closed out a comfortable win for the hosts.Arsene Wenger’s in-form side are now up to second in the table, although Manchester City can move back above them by beating Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday.A second straight defeat for Liverpool, meanwhile, means Brendan Rodgers’ faltering team remain five points adrift of the Champions League places.And the gap to fourth will grow if Manchester United are victorious against Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Saturday.All the pre-match focus had been on Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling after he had riled Reds chiefs by explaining in an interview not sanctioned by the club why he has rejected a new £100,000-a-week contract.The starlet, playing as a striker with Daniel Sturridge deemed not fit enough to start, would have been hoping to make headlines for the right reasons and he came agonisingly close to putting Liverpool ahead with 20 minutes played when he was inches away from converting Lazar Markovic’s pass with the goal gaping.But his impact was limited as Arsenal took control with a stunning spell of attacking football before the break, that was sparked by Bellerini’s goal on 37 minutes.After neat play from Ozil and Aarom Ramsey, the ball found its way to the Spaniard in the Liverpool box and he cut inside Alberto Moreno before curling a superb effort with his left foot past a despairing Simon Mignolet.It was an excellent finish by the young full-back, who had only scored once for the club before, but it was bettered just two minutes later by Ozil.The German, so often the subject of criticism, showed just why Wenger splashed out £42million to bring him to north London with a stunning free-kick from 25 yards that left Mignolet with no chance.It got worse for the visitors just before the break when Sanchez fired home an unstoppable third.The Chilean, who had snubbed interest from Liverpool last summer to join Arsenal, stepped past the hapless Kolo Toure on the edge of the pox and slammed a powerful shot past Mignolet.Arsenal eased off in the second half, and Bellerin’s needles trip on Sterling in the home box enabled Henderson to reduce the deficit from the spot.But the visitors’ momentum was lost when Can picked up his second yellow card with five minutes remaining following a foul on substitute Danny Welbeck.And Arsenal went to claim a fourth in the final seconds – Giroud firing past Mignolet to claim his tenth goal in as many games – to round off an excellent day’s work.last_img

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