Ruthless Arsenal move up to second after 4-1 victory against Liverpool
- Credit: EMPICS Sport
Goals from Hector Bellerin, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud secured a ninth consecutive home victory in the league to put Arsenal four points behind leaders Chelsea in the Premier League table.
Arsenal have now scored in all 23 of their league and cup games at the Emirates this season with Bellerin giving them the lead on 37 minutes and just three minutes later Mesut Ozil put Arsenal 2-0 up with a stunning free kick. On the stroke of half time the excellent Alexis Sanchez scored his 20th goal of the season to make it 3-0.
Jordan Henderson gave Liverpool some hope when he scored from the peanalty spot on 76 minutes but all hope was lost when Emre Can was given his marchinh orders on 83 minutes for two late tackles.
Olivier Giroud added a stunning fourth goal for the home side in injury time.
Arsenal started the game brightly with their first shot of the match coming from Santi Carzola after Joe Allen was dispossessed in own half but the Spaniard failed to hit the target from outside the penalty area.
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Arsenal continued to push on in the early stages and Carzola fired in another strike which Simon Mignolet did well to get down and stop.
Kolo Toure was then caught napping on the edge of the penalty area but Aaron Ramsey’s effort was well saved again by Mignolet down to his left and with Carzola racing in on goal for a tap in the long leg of Mamadou Sakho smashed the ball away for a corner.
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Liverpool’s first venture into the Arsenal half resulted in a corner which was comfortably dealt with by the Gunners back line.
The visitors 3-5-2 formation was struggling to combat the fluent movement in the Arsenal midfield with Ramsey in particular finding space at will.
Sanchez was turning on the party tricks early on, taunting the back three of Emre Can, Toure and Sakho whenever he picked up the ball.
At the other end the visitors were doing their best to get Raheem Sterling one-on-one with Per Mertesacker as they looked to expose the Germans lack of pace and the England international was inches away from putting Liverpool 1-0 up but Lazar Markovic pass when through on goal was overhit and the chance went begging as Sterling was unable to take it in his stride with the goal empty ahead of him.
Arsenal were guilty of overplaying at the back and were given another let off when Sterling dragged his shot wide from the edge of the box.
The fluency which asked questions of Liverpool in the opening stages, dropped considerably midway through the first half as the Gunners were guilty of surrendering possession on several occasions.
But on 36 minutes the impressive Bellerin danced his way into the penalty area before curling home a delightful curling effort with his left foot beyond Mignolet into the bottom corner.
Two minutes later Arsenal went 2-0 up thanks to a delightful free kick from Ozil after the German had been bundled over on the edge of the penalty area.
With his wand of a left foot Ozil whipped the ball around the wall and into the same corner which Bellerin has found earlier.
The Gunners were now in ruthless mode and just before half time Sanchez produced another stunning strike, putting Toure on his backside as he dropped his shoulder before hitting a dipping drive over Mignolet from the edge of the box to make it 3-0.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers replaced Markovic with Daniel Sturrdige at half time and not long into the second half Arsene Wenger sent on Gabriel in place of Laurent Koscielny to partner Mertesacker at the heart of the Arsenal defence.
Sterling blasted over from just inside the penalty area and Olivier Giroud was denied a goal when his header was well saved by Mignolet.
It was end-to-end stuff as David Ospina got down to his right to push away a shot from Can who had earlier been booked for a late tackle on Carzola..
Arsenal made their second subsitution of the match on 62 minutes with Mathieu Flamini replacing Ramsey. Philippe Coutinho fizzed in an effort for Liverpool but was unable to hit the target from the edge of the box moments later.
Ozil was replaced by Danny Welbeck on 73 minutes as Arsenal went in hunt of more goals but instead three minutes later it was the visitors who got on the scoresheet with Henderson’s penalty creeping in after Ospina got a touch down to his right.
Welbeck was sent clear by Giroud but Mignolet narrowed the angle at his near post and easily dealt with Welbeck’s effort to keep the score at 3-1.
Any chance of a late Liverpool comeback was ended on 83 minutes when Can was shown a second yellow card for a tackle from behind on Welbeck.
Carzola nearly grabbed a fourth for Arsenal but his shot struck the outside of the post after he was picked out by Welbeck on 90 minutes.
The Arsenal fans did not have to wait long for the fourth to arrive as Giroud curled another stunning effort beyond Mignolet into the bottom corner.