Football: Arsenal maintain top four hunt with impressive Stoke victory

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Aaron Ramsey on May 14, 2017.
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Aaron Ramsey on May 14, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Arsenal maintained their pursuit of a top-four finish with an impressive 4-1 victory at Stoke City but the Gunners still need other favourable results if they want to play in the Champions League for a 21st consecutive season.

Restored to the starting line up, Olivier Giroud opened the scoring from close range after 42 minutes and Mesut Ozil doubled the advantage after the break. He collected Alexis Sanchez's defence-splitting pass before beautifully chipping Jack Butland.

Peter Crouch set up a potentially nervous finish with a 66th-minute goal - though replays appeared to show the ball going in off the forward's hand - but Sanchez and Giroud, with his second, sealed an impressive victory with scores in the 76th and 80th minutes.

With two matches remaining, Arsenal, winners of five of their past six games, have 69 points - one fewer than Liverpool in fourth. Stoke, who have won just one of their previous 10 league games, sit in 13th with 41 points.

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