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Stoke v Arsenal - story of the match

Arsenal turned up the heat on Liverpool in the race for Champions League football as an Olivier Giroud brace helped them to a 4-1 win at Stoke.

At a ground where they had only won once on eight previous Premier League visits, the Gunners grabbed the lead three minutes prior to the break through Giroud's close-range strike, with Mesut Ozil then extending their advantage in the 55th minute with a neat finish.

Stoke hit back with a controversial 67th-minute goal from substitute Peter Crouch, before efforts from Alexis Sanchez in the 76th minute and Giroud 10 minutes from time wrapped up a victory that sees the gap between Arsene Wenger's fifth-placed men and fourth-placed Liverpool reduced to a point.

Both teams have two games left, and Arsenal will be watching with great interest when Liverpool play at West Ham on Sunday, hoping their fellow Londoners can do them a favour. Manchester City, also with two matches to go, are three points clear of Wenger's team in third.

TWEET OF THE MATCH

"Diego Crouch pulls one back for Stoke." - Former England striker Gary Lineker likens Crouch to former Argentina international Diego Maradona following his handball.

STAR MAN

Sanchez. The Chilean delivered yet another excellent display, not only scoring with a deflected strike but also producing a wonderful assist for Ozil, who also had a fine game. Sanchez subsequently came off, apparently with an injury that Arsenal will certainly hope is only minor.

DATA POINT

Sanchez's goal was his 50th in the Premier League, his 21st of the season and his 15th away from home.

MORE ANTI-WENGER PROTESTS

This game saw yet more calls for Arsenal's manager to leave. A plane flew over the ground early on with a banner displaying the message 'WENGER - OUT MEANS OUT!!' There was also a sign that said 'WENGER OUT' held up in the away section pre-match - perhaps unsurprisingly, there was little evidence of it thereafter.

RATINGS

Stoke

Jack Butland 6/10

Glen Johnson 5

Ryan Shawcross 5

Bruno Martins Indi 6

Erik Pieters 5

Geoff Cameron 5

Glenn Whelan 5

Xherdan Shaqiri 5

Joe Allen 5

Marko Arnautovic 6

Mame Diouf 5

Substitutes:

Peter Crouch (for Allen, 60) 6

Saido Berahino (for Diouf, 61) 5

Ramadan Sobhi (for Arnautovic, 81) 5

Arsenal

Petr Cech 6

Shkodran Mustafi 6

Laurent Koscielny 6

Rob Holding 6

Hector Bellerin 7

Granit Xhaka 6

Francis Coquelin 7

Nacho Monreal 7

Mesut Ozil 7

Alexis Sanchez 8

Olivier Giroud 7

Subs

Aaron Ramsey (for Sanchez, 77) 7

Danny Welbeck (for Ozil, 83) 6

Theo Walcott (for Giroud, 84) 6

WHO'S UP NEXT?

Southampton v Stoke (Premier League, May 21)

Arsenal v Sunderland (Premier League, May 16)

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