May 10, 2017 / 9:00 PM / 4 months ago

Sanchez, Giroud send Arsenal up to fifth

Britain Football Soccer - Southampton v Arsenal - Premier League - St Mary's Stadium - 10/5/17 Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Couldridge Livepic

(Reuters) - Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud were on target as Arsenal won 2-0 at Southampton on Wednesday to move up to fifth in the Premier League and fuel their hopes of a late push for the top four.

Sanchez broke the deadlock in the 60th minute of what had been a cagey game, selling the Saints defence a dummy before finishing left-footed for his 20th goal of the season, before Giroud headed a second with seven minutes remaining.

It was a fairly dismal evening for a Southampton side who had drawn their previous two games 0-0 and mustered few chances in another largely toothless display.

Arsenal moved above Manchester United into fifth on 66 points, three adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City with both having played 35 games. Arsene Wenger’s side will also hope to reel in Liverpool, who have 70 points from 36.

For a long time it looked as if Arsenal would be frustrated by a resolute Southampton defence, while Petr Cech was the busier goalkeeper in the first half, making good saves to deny Manolo Gabbiadini and Nathan Redmond.

Britain Football Soccer - Southampton v Arsenal - Premier League - St Mary's Stadium - 10/5/17 Arsenal's Olivier Giroud scores their second goal Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Couldridge Livepic

Yet Sanchez became an increasingly pivotal figure after the break and opened the scoring with a fine piece of individual skill before playing a role in the second goal, crossing for Aaron Ramsey, who looped it up for Giroud to head in.

Slideshow (3 Images)

It was a pleasing night for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, whose side have hit form at the right time, following Sunday’s 2-0 victory over top-four rivals Manchester United.

“The whole team was dynamic, focused and showed a convincing desire to win the game,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told the BBC.

Saints boss Claude Puel, however, was left to ponder his side’s lack of a cutting edge.

“It’s often the same against the big six,” he said. “We cannot find a win. Every time we play good quality football with chances but without the clinical edge and it’s harsh on the players.”

Reporting by Toby Davis, editing by Ed Osmond

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