By Johnny Edward:
Arsenal boosted their chances of a Premier League top four finish on Saturday by defeating Stoke City 4-1 at the Bet365 Stadium with Alex Iwobi an unused substitute for the seventh straight game, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Goals from Oliver Giroud, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez ensured the Gunners sealed a comfortable win despite Peter Crouch's controversial handball goal.
The win saw the Gunners move within one point of fourth-placed Liverpool.
Arsenal threatened twice in the opening five minutes of the encounter with Sanchez and Giroud both caught offside.
Skrodan Mustafi had the first attempt on goal in the eighth minute but his looping header from Ozil's corner was parried off but Jack Butland.
Nacho Montreal also had a chance to score in the 12th but his first touch let him down.
Three minutes later, Arsenal were unlucky not to have taken the lead as Monreal saw his header crash the upright.
Arsenal continued to dominate possession as they went in search of the opener.
In the 33rd minute Glen Johnson was robbed of the ball by Monreal but the Gunners failed to take advantage as Sanchez fired his shot wide.
Giroud finally scored the opener two minutes before the interval, tapping in Hector Bellerin's cross.
In the second half, Ozil doubled the advantage for the Gunners in the 55th minute by finishing off a brilliant move he started from the edge of the box.
Biram Diouf missed a chance to score for the Potters but his header sailed wide in the 60th minute.
Mark Hughes replaced Diouf and Joe Allen with the pair of Saido Berahino and Peter Crouch.
The introduction of the pair saw Stoke mount pressure on the Arsenal defence that conceded four corner kicks in two minutes.
Crouch eventually scored for Stoke, diverting the ball into the net with his hand.