Tomas Rosicky celebrates with Olivier Giroud after scoring against Sunderland in the English Premier League, 22 February. Reuters
On a day when one of Arsenal's most aesthetically pleasing I-can-watch-him-play-all-day-long players got a statue to his name outside the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal, with the great man Dennis Bergkamp watching on, scored two goals worthy of the legend, on their way to a 4-1 victory over Sunderland in the English Premier League.
Needing a win to keep pace with Chelsea, who picked up a last-gasp victory over Everton earlier, Arsenal hit their stride right from minute one, with an awfully poor Sunderland side hardly showing up on the day.
A brace from Olivier Giroud, back to his scoring ways - on the field -- and one apiece from Tomas Rosicky and Laurent Koscielny helped Arsenal to one of their easiest wins of the season.
Manchester City made heavy weather of their own home game, but just about managed a 1-0 victory over Stoke, and with it maintaining the status quo at the top three places of the Premier League table, with Chelsea leading by one point from Arsenal, who are a couple of points ahead of City.
At the Emirates, it was an attack vs defence training drill in the first half, with Arsenal, looking to get over the disappointment from the Bayern Munich Champions League defeat as soon as possible, stepping on the gas in unrelenting fashion.
A little over four minutes was all it took for the opening goal to come, and it was a peach. Jack Wilshere, who was at his orchestrative best, picked up the ball 40 yards from goal, before passing it to Lukas Podolski, who gave the ball to Rosicky -- now stay with this -- with the Czech playing through Wilshere. The Arsenal midfielder, inside the box and surrounded by three Sunderland defenders, just poked the ball, with some help from the Black Cats defence, square to Giroud, who calmly side-footed the ball into the bottom corner.
With the early goal in and the nerves well and truly settled, Arsenal toyed with Sunderland, who seemed to have forgotten how to play football, particularly defend, in the first half, before the away side decided to gift the home team their second.
Santiago Vergini and Phil Bardsley looked to play keep ball well inside their own half, before the former looked for a back pass to Vito Mannone, only to see Giroud nip in and slot it between the legs of the former Arsenal goalkeeper just past the half-hour mark.
With three minutes remaining in the half, Arsenal put the game to OK-I'm-going-to-sleep-now bed via another wonderful, flowing passing move right from the Bergkamp era.
Four players were involved, with Wilshere again the starter of the move. Rosicky and Cazorla were also involved initially, with one-touch passes finding their way past a static Sunderland defence before Giroud laid off the final one-touch pass to Rosicky to provide a wonderful chip-over-the-goalkeeper finish.
Sunderland showed a lot more purpose in the second half, but it was Arsenal that found their fourth on 57 minutes - Koscielny planting the easiest of free headers into the back of the net off a corner.
Emanuele Giaccherini got a late consolation via a nice long-range strike, but this day was all about Arsenal putting on a show for one of their all-time greats.
At the Etihad, Manchester City endured a frustrating why-won't-the-ball-go-in 70 minutes, before their go-to man Yaya Toure popped up in the right place at the right time to bundle home a left-wing cross from Aleksandr Kolarov.
With Chelsea winning, and Arsenal cruising, City could have ill-afforded to drop points and Manuel Pellegrini will be relieved to pick up the victory on the back of a the-sooner-we-forget-it-the-better loss to Barcelona.
Results: Arsenal 4-1 Sunderland; Cardiff 0-4 Hull City; Manchester City 1-0 Stoke; West Ham 3-1 Southampton; West Brom 1-1 Fulham.
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