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Arsenal’s outside chances of lifting the Premier League title for the first time since 2004 received a boost as they brushed Watford aside 4-0 at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger’s side were a class above their disappointing opponents who never looked remotely capable of repeating their FA Cup quarter-final success at the same venue last month.
Playing with a fluency associated with the best Arsenal sides when the pressure is off, they took the lead after just four minutes when Alexis Sanchez swept home from close range.
The impressive Alex Iwobi grabbed his second goal in as many games to double the Gunners’ lead seven minutes before the break.
Hector Bellerin put the result beyond doubt not long after the restart while substitute Theo Walcott tapped home from close range in the final minute to wrap up the victory which leaves them just three points behind neighbours Tottenham and eight off leaders Leicester City; with a favourable run-in Arsenal could yet muscle their way back into the title picture.
Arsenal started on the front foot and were quickly ahead when Iwobi's cross found Sanchez, whose initial header was saved by Heurelho Gomes but the keeper can do nothing to prevent the former Barcelona attacker finding the back of the net with the follow-up.
Danny Welbeck came close to a second soon after when Mesut Ozil's low cross from the right was met by him but his effort drifted just past the post.
Arsenal continued to dominate and Gomes was called into action again, this time the Brazilian did well to palm Sanchez’s free-kick away from danger.
However, there was nothing he could do on 38 minutes when Iwobi timed his run superbly into the box to meet Sanchez's cut-back, side-footing home clinically.
Any thoughts the visitors had of launching an unlikely comeback were in tatters three minutes after the break as Bellerin and Sanchez combined in the box before the former's shot was deflected over the dive of Gomes and into the back of the net.
Iwobi almost grabbed his second a minute later when collected the ball in the box and blasted a shot goalwards but it bounced off the crossbar and Ozil put the follow-up wide.
The remainder of the match was played out at a leisurely pace as Watford wished for the final whistle with Walcott eventually sealing the win when he tapped home Joel Campbell's square ball late on.