Gunners fire on the Reds

2015-04-05 06:00

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Arsenal 4-1 Liverpool

Arsenal produced a dominant performance at the Emirates Stadium in London yesterday as they cruised to an easy 4-1 victory over 10-man Liverpool.

The hosts went into the half-time break with a comfortable lead, thanks to goals from Héctor Bellerín, Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez.

The Reds managed to pull one back from the penalty spot through Jordan Henderson after the break but any hopes of a late comeback were extinguished in the closing stages of the match when Emre Can received his marching orders for a second bookable offence.

And Arsene Wenger’s men rubbed further salt in the wounds of their opponents in the closing stages of the contest as Olivier Giroud added his name to the scoresheet with a fine left-footed effort from just outside the box.

The Gunners came flying out of the traps and twice went close to grabbing the lead inside the opening five minutes.

Sánchez fired wide of the mark inside the opening 30 seconds while Santi Cazorla saw his goal-bound effort kept out by goalkeeper Simon Mignolet’s one-handed save.

Liverpool were unable to find their rhythm and spent much of the first stanza pegged back in their own half.

They did manage to create a number of notable chances, although the final ball was lacking when it mattered most.

Their best chance arrived on 19 minutes when Lazar Markovic beat the offside trap before attempting to square the ball into the path of contract rebel Raheem Sterling. However, the attempted pass had too much power on it and the opportunity went to waste.

Sterling and Henderson both went close to breaking the deadlock as Liverpool began to grow in confidence.

However, they were pegged back in the 37th minute, following some poor defending from the visitors.

Bellerín picked up the ball onthe right flank and was given space to cut inside before curling a left-footed effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Liverpool were still reeling from the opener when Arsenal struck again three minutes later, Özil finding the back of the net with a superb free-kick from 25 yards out.

And the match was effectively over as a contest on the strike of half-time when Sánchez skipped past Kolo Touré before firing a thunderbolt of a shot straight down the middle of goal and into the roof of the net.

Brendan Rodgers’ men produced an improved performance after the half-time break and were given the breakthrough they were looking for at 76 minutes when Bellerín was adjudged to have fouled Sterling inside the danger area.

Henderson slotted home the resulting spot-kick to give the Reds a glimmer of hope, but they were unable to push on and grab a second.

They were reduced to 10 men with six minutes left when Can fouled Danny Welbeck, picking up his second yellow card of the game.

Arsenal reclaimed a three-goal lead in the 90th minute thanks to Giroud, who glided past Touré before slamming a left-footed shot into the top-left corner.

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