Arsenal reignited their Champions League dreams by moving to within one point of the top four with a comfortable 4-1 victory at Stoke City.
The gunners earned their first win at the Britannia Stadium since February 2010 thanks to a brace from Olivier Giroud and goals from Alexis Sanchez and Mezut Ozil.
Frenchman Olivier Giroud scored the visitors’ first and list goals in a four-goal rout over the potters. He’s now accumulated 10 goals in the Premier League this season, which is the lowest season tally since he joined Arsenal from Montpellier in June 2012.
Alexis Sanchez and Mezut Ozil also enjoyed impressive displays on Saturday and demonstrated a magical moment to double their lead. The Chilean assisted his German colleague in tremendous fashion with a perfectly measured pass into the penalty area. Ozil, who’s been highly criticised in recent weeks, took the ball in his stride and applied a delicate chip over the body of the helpless Jack Butland.
Stoke City pulled a goal back with 23 minutes of normal time remaining when Peter Crouch netted his ninth career goal against Arsenal. Controversy surrounding Stoke’s brightest moment of a dismal performance, with referee Mike Dean ignoring a series of debatable challenges in the build-up to the potters’ only goal of the game.
However, Stoke’s comeback ambitions were detrimentally slashed when Alexis Sanchez regained Arsenal’s two-goal cushion. It was defensively woeful from Stoke’s perspective, as they sat back, allowing Sanchez to waltz into the penalty area and dispatch a deflected effort into the far bottom corner.
Arsenal have two games remaining in the Premier League and have reduced the gap to one point between them and Liverpool. Wenger has consistently secured Champions League football for the gunners since his tenure began in 1996 and it could be normal service resuming at the end of the season.
Arsenal’s Champions League Dreams Well and Truly Alive
When Arsenal suffered a demoralizing 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on 10th April, it seemed their chances of finishing inside the top four were well and truly over! Fast forward 34 days and Arsenal have won five of their last six league games to remain in contention for the biggest European competition.
Arsenal have winnable home fixtures against already relegated Sunderland and 7th place Everton. They will definitely require six points from their remaining fixtures to have any chance of finishing inside the top four this season.
Liverpool travel to the Olympic Stadium to face West Ham tomorrow and already relegated Middlesbrough on the final day of the campaign. It’s unlikely Middlesbrough will cause an upset on the final day, meaning tomorrow’s result is likely to decide Arsenal’s fate.
Manchester City moved six points above Arsenal in third place with their 2-1 victory against Leicester City in the early kick-off. Fortunately, the gunners reduced the deficit to three points but it’s unlikely Wenger will be finishing above Guardiola.
The citizens face West Bromwich Albion at home, who’ve experienced a severe drop in form in recent weeks. They also travel to Vicarage Road to play Watford on the final day, which incredibly unlikely to cause too many problems.
Arsene Wenger has consistently provided Champions League football for the North London club. However, the supporters have grown frustrated with having to feel satisfied with finishing inside the top four every season.
The truth is that they haven’t won the Premier League title since the days of the “invincibles” in 2004. Groups of supporters have been divided in the debate on Wenger’s future but it’s essential that Arsenal are playing in Europe’s top competition next year.
Despite their recent impressive run of form, this still didn’t prevent supporters flying negative banners over the Britannia Stadium regarding his future. He’s still yet to confirm his future, but if you ask me, I think he’ll be putting pen to paper very soon.