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Published: 21:53 | 21/4/16

Arsenal ease past West Brom

Sanchez double secures victory

Arsenal moved into third place in the Barclays Premier League as two goals from Alexis Sanchez saw them ease to a 2-0 victory over West Brom at the Emirates Stadium.

The Chilean put the Gunners ahead early on with a fine turn and shot before doubling the advantage with a free-kick from the edge of the penalty area seven minutes before half time for his thirteenth and fourteenth league goals of the season and his fifth in the last four games.

The result strengthens Arsenal's grip on the prospect of a top-four finish as they moved four points clear of fifth placed Manchester United with four games remaining.

The Emirates Stadium was far from full on the night as the Gunners faithful stayed away in their droves in protest against another disappointing campaign.

But that didn't stop Sanchez who, after a sluggish start to proceedings, took the game by the scruff of the neck six minutes in with a sublime turn and shot from 20 yards that gave Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster no chance.

Both Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey came close to doubling the lead as Arsenal looked to kill the game off inside the opening ten minutes.

Hector Bellerin then shot narrowly wide after combining well with Sanchez as Arsenal continued to dominate.

But the visitors slowly settled and could have been level on the half hour as Gareth McAuley headed against the Arsenal crossbar after easily out-jumping Ozil to meet an in-swinging corner.

However, Arsenal responded well and Ozil had an effort cleared off the line by Baggies defender Craig Dawson after the German's shot somehow squirmed under Foster's body.

It was 2-0 seven minutes before the break as Sanchez curled a free-kick around the wall from just outside the penalty area after Ramsey was clipped on the edge of the D, although the positioning of Foster and his wall left something to be desired as there appeared to be a huge gap for the Chilean to aim for.

The Baggies enjoyed a good spell immediately after the restart and Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech was called into action on 52 minutes to save a James McClean header after the Republic of Ireland midfielder out-muscled Bellerin to get on the end of Dawson's cross.

Ramsey then produced a timely sliding tackle to clear the danger as Saido Berahino looked to shoot from 15 yards.

But Arsene Wenger's side soon regained the upper hand and Olivier Giroud and Ozil both had shots blocked as they looked for a third goal to kill off the game.

However, the visitors should have been back in the game 17 minutes from time, but substitute Salomon Rondon failed to connect with a corner at the far post with the goal gaping.

But that was as good as it got for Tony Pulis' side who, in truth, offered very little in attack over the 90 minutes as Arsenal eased to a routine three points which lifts them to third place in the league table and closer to Champions League qualification for next season.

By: Kieran O'Daly

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