Arsenal clinch runners-up spot as Spurs collapse on the Toon
Arsenal beat Aston Villa 4-0 this afternoon in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium.
Tottenham Hotspur’s 5-1 capitulation against Newcastle United at St James’ Park allowed the Gunners to claim the Premier League runners-up spot.
Olivier Giroud’s hat-trick and a late own goal by Villa keeper Mark Bunn earned Arsenal the three points to move above their bitter local rivals
Giroud put the Gunners ahead in the 5th minute and a further double late in the second half ensured the Gunners achieved their highest Premier League finish since 2005.
Giroud gve Arsenal a fifth-minute lead, nodding in a cross from Nacho Monreal past Mark Bunn.
It seemed that it would be the first of many for the Gunners, but Villa slowly played their way back into the match to the delight of the vociferous travelling Villa support.
Jordan Ayew went past Hector Bellerin, but Laurent Koscielny cleared his cross across the goal.
Then the travelling fans celebrated as if their team had scored when Petr Cech saved a tame shot on target by Ashley Westwood.
Arsenal enjoyed the majority of possession for the remainder of the first half, but were unable to create many clear-cut chances despite their intricate passing in and around the penalty area.
The closest they came to extending their lead came when an Alexis Sanchez pass picked out Jack Wilshere at the far post, but his shot only found the side netting.
The second half followed a similar pattern, with Mesut Ozil volleying across goal and Hector Bellerin shooting ovcr the bar as Arsenal pressed for a second goal.
Villa began to grow in confidence, with Ayew testing Cech with a shot as the away side went in search of an unlikely equaliser.
Arsenal continued to be wasteful in front of goal, with Sanchez curling a free-kick off target and then setting up substitute Mohamed Elneny, who fired his volley high over the crossbar.
With news of Tottenham’s woes against Newcastle energising the home crowd, Arsenal clinched the three points with 11 minutes remaining as Ozil exchanged passes with Sanchez and crossed low for Giroud to sweep home his second goal.
All of the Arsenal players ran to celebrate the goal with Tomas Rosicky.
Giroud celebrated his hat-trick seconds later as Bellerin’s pass opened up the Villa defence and the striker slid the ball past Bunn into the net.
Sanchez almost scored with a chip that Bunn reached and turned behind for a corner.
Mikel Arteta, making his final Arsenal appearance as a late substitute, completed the scoring with a shot that hit the underside of bar and bounced into the net off Bunn’s back.
So Arsenal clinched second place and Spurs’ wait to finish above the Gunners goes on – 21 years and counting.
Happy St Totteringham’s Day.
Arsenal: Cech 6; Bellerin 7, Gabriel 5, Koscielny 6, Monreal 7; Cazorla 6 (Campbell 88), Coquelin 7; Wilshere 6 (Elneny 69), Ozil 6 (Arteta 88), Sanchez 7; Giroud 8.