Alexis Sanchez keeps Arsenal’s Champions League hopes alive
Arsenal 2 - 0 Sunderland

Alexis Sanchez keeps Arsenal’s Champions League hopes alive

Alexis Sanchez hit a brace as Arsenal secured victory over relegated Sunderland in front of a sparsely populated Emirates Stadium to keep alive their dwindling hopes of Champions League qualification.

The Gunners needed to beat David Moyes' men to take the battle to finish in the top four of the Premier League down to the last day of the campaign.

They made heavy weather of their task, with Sanchez scoring a close-range double inside the final 17 minutes to secure the points with a 2-0 win.

Under-fire Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has never finished outside of the top four in a full season at the helm but despite this win, and even though it remains mathematically possible, the club look set for a Europa League campaign next year.

Manchester City's victory over West Brom means Arsenal need to beat Everton on Sunday and hope Liverpool slip up at home to Middlesbrough to gate-crash the top four.

Wenger's own position still remains a mystery as he has yet to announce if he will sign a new deal to remain at the club beyond the FA Cup final meeting with Chelsea in two weeks' time.

A lot of the home fans who stayed away from this clash did so in protest against Wenger remaining in charge - those who opted to attend were left short-changed.

Some supporters opted to stay away for other reasons but the official attendance of 59,510 was certainly wide of the mark, with Arsenal recording tickets sold rather than the figure who attended.

Arsenal thought they were ahead early on but saw a goal correctly chalked off as a Sanchez shot hit Giroud on the arm as it flew past Jordan Pickford in the visitors' goal.

Moments later the young Black Cats goalkeeper, who has been linked with a move to the Emirates, did well to keep out a genuine Giroud strike as the France striker found himself free in front of goal.

Despite camping out in the Sunderland half, Wenger's side had few clear-cut chances after his early save from Giroud and it was his counterpart Petr Cech who had to dive low to stop Didier N'Gong scoring against the run of play.

Hector Bellerin hit the side-netting after bursting into the box and the half ended with Pickford tipping an Aaron Ramsey strike behind.

The second half began in farce for Arsenal as Nacho Monreal's overhit backpass was scrambled behind by a back-tracking Cech, resulting in an indirect free-kick for Sunderland.

Shkodran Mustafi saw a header hacked off the line as Arsenal reached the hour-mark without breaking through, with Giroud glancing a header wide as the game wore on.

Wenger threw on Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi but the former was again kept at bay by Pickford, who turned a low strike behind.

Sanchez finally opened the scoring soon after, converting an easy chance from in front of goal as Ozil crossed from a pinpoint Xhaka pass.

The Chilean had been on the periphery but hit the crossbar with a cheeky lobbed effort, with Pickford again on hand to deny Xhaka and Iwobi in spectacular fashion.

Pickford was powerless to prevent Sanchez doubling the lead with nine minutes remaining, parrying Giroud's flick into the path of the former Barcelona man, who headed in to seal the victory.

Mustafi had a late header brilliantly turned on to the bar by Pickford but Sanchez had once again provided the heroics to keep Arsenal's league campaign alive until the final day.

Betting on PREMIER LEAGUE? Bet365 are offering a 100% deposit bonus, up to £200 - find out more

Related news

Javier Hernandez completes transfer to West Ham from Bayer Leverkusen

Javier Hernandez completes transfer to West Ham from Bayer Leverkusen

West Ham completed the signing of Mexico striker Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen on Monday.

Man City complete signing of left-back Benjamin Mendy from Monaco

Man City complete signing of left-back Benjamin Mendy from Monaco

Manchester City have completed the signing of Monaco full-back Benjamin Mendy from Monaco, both clubs confirmed on Monday.

Man City sign Danilo from Real Madrid on five-year contract

Man City sign Danilo from Real Madrid on five-year contract

Manchester City have signed defender Danilo from Spanish champions Real Madrid on a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee, the Premier League club said on Sunday.

Chelsea announce Alvaro Morata deal with Real Madrid

Chelsea announce Alvaro Morata deal with Real Madrid

Chelsea have agreed terms with Real Madrid for the signing of striker Alvaro Morata, the Premier League club have announced.

Chelsea secure signing of defender Antonio Rudiger from Roma

Chelsea secure signing of defender Antonio Rudiger from Roma

Chelsea have signed defender Antonio Rudiger from Roma, with the Germany international moving for a reported £34 million.

Wayne Rooney rejoins Everton from Manchester United

Wayne Rooney rejoins Everton from Manchester United

Wayne Rooney has returned to boyhood club Everton, the Premier League club have announced.

Arsenal sign Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon for club-record fee

Arsenal sign Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon for club-record fee

Arsenal have signed Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon for a club-record fee, reported to be around €53m.

Lyon president confirms Lacazette on brink of €45-50m Arsenal move

Lyon president confirms Lacazette on brink of €45-50m Arsenal move

Arsenal are on the verge of signing Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette for a club-record fee, the French club's president has confirmed.

Liverpool complete Mohamed Salah signing from Roma

Liverpool complete Mohamed Salah signing from Roma

The total deal is worth €39 million (£34.3m) and could be a club-record transfer fee, depending on the exchange rate of the British pound against the euro. Liverpool paid ВЈ35m to Newcastle for Andy Carroll in January 2011.

RELATED NEWS

Javier Hernandez completes transfer to West Ham from Bayer Leverkusen
West Ham news

Javier Hernandez completes transfer to West Ham from Bayer Leverkusen

West Ham completed the signing of Mexico striker Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen on Monday.

Man City complete signing of left-back Benjamin Mendy from Monaco
Man City news

Man City complete signing of left-back Benjamin Mendy from Monaco

Manchester City have completed the signing of Monaco full-back Benjamin Mendy from Monaco, both clubs confirmed on Monday.

Man City sign Danilo from Real Madrid on five-year contract
Man City news

Man City sign Danilo from Real Madrid on five-year contract

Manchester City have signed defender Danilo from Spanish champions Real Madrid on a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee, the Premier League club said on Sunday.

Chelsea announce Alvaro Morata deal with Real Madrid
Chelsea news

Chelsea announce Alvaro Morata deal with Real Madrid

Chelsea have agreed terms with Real Madrid for the signing of striker Alvaro Morata, the Premier League club have announced.

Chelsea secure signing of defender Antonio Rudiger from Roma
Chelsea news

Chelsea secure signing of defender Antonio Rudiger from Roma

Chelsea have signed defender Antonio Rudiger from Roma, with the Germany international moving for a reported £34 million.

Wayne Rooney rejoins Everton from Manchester United
Everton news

Wayne Rooney rejoins Everton from Manchester United

Wayne Rooney has returned to boyhood club Everton, the Premier League club have announced.

Arsenal sign Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon for club-record fee
Arsenal news

Arsenal sign Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon for club-record fee

Arsenal have signed Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon for a club-record fee, reported to be around €53m.

Lyon president confirms Lacazette on brink of €45-50m Arsenal move
Arsenal news

Lyon president confirms Lacazette on brink of €45-50m Arsenal move

Arsenal are on the verge of signing Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette for a club-record fee, the French club's president has confirmed.

Liverpool complete Mohamed Salah signing from Roma
Liverpool news

Liverpool complete Mohamed Salah signing from Roma

The total deal is worth €39 million (£34.3m) and could be a club-record transfer fee, depending on the exchange rate of the British pound against the euro. Liverpool paid ВЈ35m to Newcastle for Andy Carroll in January 2011.