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Published: 14:48 | 19/3/16

Arsenal too good for poor Everton

First half goals seal victory

Arsenal gave their flagging Premier League title hopes a significant boost with a deserved 2-0 victory over a poor Everton side at Goodison Park.

An early Danny Welbeck goal set them on their way, the striker finishing superbly after some crisp passing in the build-up, before Alex Iwobi crowned his first league start with the second just before the break.

The win moves Arsenal to within eight points of leaders Leicester with eight games to play, while Everton remain mired in mid-table following their fourth defeat in five league outings at Goodison Park.

The home side started very positively and were almost in front within two minutes as Seamus Coleman got across his marker to turn an inswinging corner against the outside of the post.

But it proved a false dawn for Roberto Martinez's side as Arsenal responded in style and went ahead on seven minutes.

Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil combined superbly on the edge of the penalty before the German slid a deft pass in to Welbeck who took one touch to take the ball away from advancing Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles before applying a cool finish into the empty net.

It was the striker's third goal in just five Premier League games this season following an extended absence through injury.

The goal helped to settle Arsene Wenger's side and they began to dominate with some incisive passing and movement.

The Gunners might have had a penalty when Muhamed Besic appeared to catch Sanchez in the penalty area. The Chilean tried to stay on his feet but ultimately went down as referee mark Clattenburg waved his claims away.

But the visitors deservedly doubled their advantage three minutes before the break as Iwobi latched onto Hector Bellerin's ball over the top and raced half the length of the pitch before smashing the ball past Robles from 12 yards.

Substitute John Stones made amends for a poor back pass as his last ditch challenge prevented Welbeck from grabbing a third as Arsenal continued to dominate after the break.

At the other end, Gunners goalkeeper David Ospina required lengthy treatment after bravely diving at the feet of the incoming Romelu Lukaku to cut out Coleman's low cross into the six-yard box.

Phil Jagielka headed over from close range shortly after that, but that was as good as it got for the home side who huffed and puffed but failed to threaten and were roundly booed by their own fans at the end.

Indeed, it could have been even worse as Gunners substitute Olivier Giroud had a header effort ruled out for a foul in the build-up before hitting the outside of the post late on.

By: Kieran O'Daly

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