Arsenal keep faint title hopes alive with 4-0 thrashing of Watford
Manchester City and Chelsea also score identical 4-0 victories with the Blues piling more misery on Aston Villa, while 10-man West Ham hold Crystal Palace to a 2-2 draw
Arsenal crushed Watford 4-0 and Manchester City hammered Bournemouth by the same score yesterday as the faltering big guns breathed fresh life into their faint hopes of lifting the Premier League title on Saturday.
Not even another free kick masterpiece from Dimitri Payet could inspire West Ham United in their push for a Champions League spot as they had Cheikhou Kouyate sent off in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.
At the other end of the table, Aston Villa’s disillusioned fans made a long, loud protest as their side were humiliated 4-0 at home to Chelsea and now stand on the verge of relegation. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, told BBC Sport: “I am very happy because it was a good performance. We scored goals and didn’t concede, and kept the game having a good flow even at 3-0 up.”
After losing three home games in a row, Arsenal rebounded to dominate Watford, who had knocked them out of the FA Cup at the Emirates Stadium last month, with Alexis Sanchez, Alex Iwobi, Hector Bellerin and Theo Walcott all on target.
“Good to come back with a win after the international break. The team needed a good performance.” Arsenal’s Bellerin said.
“Nice too for youngsters to get experience. If you don’t try you never score. We will never give up on the title chase until the end of the competition.”
Arsenal took just four minutes to score through striker Alexis Sanchez whose header was blocked by Heurelho Gomes although the keeper was powerless to stop Sanchez scoring from the rebound.
Alex Iwobi doubled Arsenal’s lead after 38 minutes when he side-footed home a pass from Sanchez to confirm Arsenal’s dominance.
Watford, who conceded early in the first half, also conceded early in the second, when Bellerin’s shot took a big deflection to put the Gunners further ahead before substitute Theo Walcott made it 4-0 in the dying minutes.
Alexandre Pato scored on his long-awaited Chelsea debut as Guus Hiddink’s experimental line-up piled more misery on Aston Villa with a 4-0 win.
Interim manager Hiddink was without Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Willian, Gary Cahill and John Terry, but they were not missed as his side romped to an emphatic win at an angry Villa Park.
Youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored his first Premier League goal for the club, while a well-taken double from Pedro Rodriguez put the seal on their triumph in the second half.
To make matters worse, Villa had defender Alan Hutton sent off in the closing stages for a second bookable offence to end a week in which the club parted company with manager Remi Garde.
The victory for Chelsea kept alive their faint hopes of Europa League qualification, after a disappointing month in which they lost ground in the league and also crashed out of both the Champions League and FA Cup.
City were also comfortable winners at Bournemouth, with Kevin De Bruyne scoring on his return to the team after a two-month injury lay-off and Sergio Aguero heading in his 22nd goal of the season. Fourth-place City are three points ahead of West Ham.
Newcastle are six points adrift of safety after conceding a goal to lose 3-2 at Norwich.