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English Premiership

Sanchez boosts Arsenal’s top-four bid


LONDON, January 11 – Alexis Sanchez capped an outstanding individual display with two goals as Arsenal moved up to fifth in the Premier League with a 3-0 victory against Stoke on Sunday.

Laurent Koscielny set Arsene Wenger’s side on course for the win with a sixth minute header but it was Sanchez who stood out, scoring either side of half-time at the Emirates Stadium to take his season tally to 18.

Sanchez’s latest heroics moved Arsenal level on points with fourth-placed Southampton, who were due to face Manchester United at Old Trafford later on Sunday.

And while a serious looking shoulder injury to Arsenal right-back Mathieu Debuchy took some of the gloss off the win, the return of Mesut Ozil for his first appearance since early October provided Wenger with another welcome boost.

Arsenal had no shortage of motivation in their efforts to revive their top four challenge in the wake of the New Year’s Day defeat at Southampton that had left them in sixth place.

Tottenham’s loss at Crystal Palace on Saturday offered Wenger’s side a chance to leapfrog their north London rivals, while they were also keen to avenge a chastening 3-2 defeat at the Britannia Stadium last month.

On that occasion, Mark Hughes’ side had gone ahead after just 19 seconds and were in complete control when they reached half-time three up, sparking fierce criticism of Wenger.

But Stoke had lost on each of their 12 visits to Arsenal since 1981 and it soon became clear that run would continue as Wenger’s men set about the game like a side with a score to settle.

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Almost immediately Stoke were forced onto the back foot and had cause to thank the outstanding reactions of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic who saved well from Sanchez’s curling shot.

Then in the sixth minute the Bosnia keeper produced an even better full length dive to tip Tomas Rosicky’s angled shot wide.

– Lethal Sanchez –

The respite was short-lived however, with Begovic left exposed when Sanchez whipped in the resulting corner.

The Chilean’s set-piece was half-cleared but when he returned it into the Stoke box at the second time of asking, Koscielny had pulled away from the inattentive Glenn Whelan and directed a free header beyond Begovic.

Already it appeared as though Arsenal were in for a relatively routine afternoon, although they were forced to overcome the 12th minute loss of Debuchy who was stretchered off with a shoulder injury after crashing into the pitchside hoardings after colliding with Marko Arnautovic.

Debuchy has already missed three months of the season with an ankle problem and another prolonged absence will be a major loss during a crucial part of the campaign.

On this occasion though, Arsenal coped easily without the France international, with David Ospina rarely troubled.

The Colombia goalkeeper was selected ahead of Wojciech Szczesny, with Wenger keen to insist the decision had been made on form and not as a result of Szczesny being fined for smoking in the showers after the Southampton defeat.

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Whelan should have done better with a clear shot on goal but that was the only time Stoke threatened and Arsenal doubled their lead in the 33rd minute when Sanchez produced his latest moment of individual brilliance.

He exchanged passes with Rosicky and cut into the Stoke area from the left before deceiving Begovic with an angled shot that flew in at the near post.

A double substitution at half-time did nothing to lift Stoke and Sanchez put the game beyond the visitors’ reach when he drilled a low free-kick through an unconvincing defensive wall after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had been brought down by Geoff Cameron.

The contest was effectively over although Arsenal should have added to Stoke’s embarrassment with Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Ozil all spurning good chances to widen the margin of victory.

Click to comment


  1. Anonymous

    January 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Exactly. Nothing to add.

  2. Day-v Mburu

    January 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    go uhuru go, mi likey

  3. Herman

    January 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Is the new constitution i

  4. baraza

    January 17, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    This Icc is a white man court.No stopping you uhuru.We know who was responsible for the violence .
    Raila should respect the people of this great country and not treat them like amnesiac idiots: who was responsible for assembling and propagating the satanic murderous negative ethnicity strategy of 41 against 1, whose key agenda it was to decimate the Kikuyu/GEMA; and what is the relationship between that evil strategy and the PEV, and all the concomitant events that followed? Should the PM not bear the greatest political responsibility, as Kenyatta said at the ICC, and/or political as well as criminal responsibility, for the same?

    • Matunday

      January 17, 2012 at 7:22 pm

      Did you forget to take you medication today? You need urgent help. Does calling for mass action equal to murder in your mind?

      • Anonymous

        January 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm

        Mass looting, Mass burning, Mass rape, Mass evictions and Mass murder DOES NOT equate to Mass action. Ask Mandela.

    • Boiyot

      January 17, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      I think you should read your post again and listen to how you sound! If you were in one of the principal’s shoes, we’d still be slaughtering each other!

    • Collins_obura

      January 18, 2012 at 8:40 am

      Raila dint take Uhuru to the hague. He dint kill people in Naivasha.

      • Mwitinicholas86

        January 18, 2012 at 3:18 pm

        we are not saying that he killed my dear friend, had he followed the right legal measures instead of calling massive demostration from thear supporters, there could be no bloodshed in the country nor could there be humiliating evictions saying this is refusing to within the bounderies of reality !

        • Anonymous

          January 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm

          Well spoken. 

    • Anonymous

      January 18, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      They would rather obfuscate and muddy the issues so that discussion of goD’s role in the PEV is aborted.

  5. Boiyot

    January 17, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    And I thought we couldn’t possibly accept a person with a tainted record to run for one of the highest offices in our country!
    Mr DPM, I beg to differ, if you (or anyone for that matter) have a case, you should deal with it first, then when you’re cleared/served your time, you can ask us to vote for you. After all we don’t want out ‘President’ to be hauled to jail mid-term!

  6. Godfrey Kimega

    January 18, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Legally, Uhuru may be right. Morally, he has lost credibility. He should just sit out the election.

    • Anonymous

      January 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      Uhuru has lost no credibility with his supporters, don’t kid yourself.

  7. legacy99

    January 18, 2012 at 9:10 am

    lets stop all this we meet on the ballot

    • Anonymous

      January 18, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      Precisely. Let Kenyans decide in a free and fair election, not by barring some from the ballot or by ‘pitiaring kati kati’, or is it pitiaring juu’ this time?

  8. karisdom

    January 18, 2012 at 9:50 am

    I pitty one man, RAO.Even after writing letters to ICC and  instructing MM  to deal with  icc so that  ICC can bar UK  n WR from  contesting, the court has declined to do so.This presidency is elusive to jaduong

  9. Bishop Omunyala Amukowa

    January 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    My friend Uhuru what you ought to do is to face Kenyans by seeking forgiveness even though you may overcome the ICC but the Lord will never forgive you for the blood that was poured in the name of retaliation the Naivasha scene will haunt you forever.

    • Anonymous

      January 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      When was Uhuru found guilty for him to seek forgiveness? Are you hearing yourself ‘Bishop’? Is that how you solve disputes in your ‘Church’, by taking sides before you hear the whole truth? Bure tu.

  10. Mwitinicholas86

    January 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    why blame uhuru instead of blaming the real war morngers

  11. Mwitinicholas86

    January 18, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    what ocampo did is that he went for some of those who calmed the war down, people like uhuru infact were supposed to be recommended for helping the mayhem end

  12. guest

    January 18, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    If the verdict is on his favor then the race begins otherwise get all top lawyers, perfect drama, and may be eventually go into hiding 

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