Arsenal eased to a comfortable 4-1 victory over Liverpool today at the Emirates Stadium thanks to three first-half goals in just an eight-minute spell.
With much riding on the game, both teams couldn’t afford to lose as the race for top-four heats up, and with Liverpool losing at home to Manchester United just before the international duty, another loss today would have all-but ended their Champions League hopes.
The Reds went into the game trailing Arsenal by six points, but after the game that lead would be extended to nine after a lethal spell from The Gunners.
Things started badly for Liverpool as the hosts shot out of the firing blocks but were only denied by the excellence of Simon Mignolet, who first denied Santi Cazorla and then moments later got down well to prevent Aaron Ramsey.
It was a rampant start from Arsene Wenger’s men but similar to their match against Manchester United earlier on in the season, they had nothing to show from their positive start.
Then came the crucial point in the game. Lazar Markovic was sent through one-on-one with David Ospina, but overhit a simple pass across the goal to Raheem Sterling and the chance was gone. If the pass was good enough, it was a simple tap-in for the contract rebel.
Cue rampant Arsenal and the deadly spell.
With the game nearing half-time, right-back Hector Bellerin gave the hosts the lead with a precise curling effort from inside the box. It was the Spaniard’s second goal of the season after he also found the next against Aston Villa.
Before Liverpool could re-group, it was 2-0. A superb free-kick from Mesut Ozil wrong-footed Mignolet and doubled the lead just five minutes before half-time.
If the plan was just to keep it at 2-0 at the interval, that soon went out of the window as Alexis Sanchez fired home from outside of the box to pile more misery on Brendan Rodgers and co.
After the break it was very much game over and Arsenal took their foot of the gas and defender their lead, but in the 76th minute, Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson gave the visitors a glimpse of hope after he converted a penalty, which was won by Sterling after he was tripped by Bellerin.
However, any chances of a comeback soon vanished as Emre Can saw red for a second yellow, and Frenchman Olivier Giroud ended the match with a superb curling effort past Mignolet to secure the 4-1 victory for Arsenal.
The win puts Wenger’s men up to second for now just four points behind league-leaders, Chelsea, whilst Liverpool are now eight points behind Manchester United with just seven games left.
Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt – @AlexsArticles