Tag: Alexis Sanchez

FA Cup: Reading 1-2 Arsenal (AET)

Holders Arsenal reached a record 19th FA Cup final after two goals from Alexis Sanchez sealed victory over Reading in extra-time.

Sanchez gave the Premier League side a 39th-minute lead from close range before Garath McCleary volleyed home an equaliser shortly after the break.

Reading needed the post and keeper Adam Federici to keep the scores level as the game required an extra 30 minutes to decide the outcome.

The Australian keeper was at fault as Sanchez’s effort spilled through his grasp and rolled in and although Reading pushed for an equaliser Arsenal held on.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: QPR 1-2 Arsenal

Arsenal produced an impressive second-half display to beat QPR in a fourth consecutive Premier League win and consolidate their top-four place.

Olivier Giroud opened the scoring, poking home when on the ground after Kieran Gibbs’s shot was blocked.

Alexis Sanchez beat Robert Green at his near post to double Arsenal’s lead.

QPR faded after a strong first-half performance, although they were given late hope by Charlie Austin’s powerful strike with eight minutes left.

Arsenal remain on course for automatic Champions League qualification, sitting one point clear of fourth-placed Manchester United, and three points ahead of fifth-placed Liverpool.

At the other end of the table, QPR stay three points adrift of safety with games against Tottenham, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City to come in their remaining 11 matches.

Despite their lowly position, they clearly relished the opportunity to test themselves against Arsene Wenger’s side, and would have been worthy of a half-time lead if Austin had converted one of several attempts on goal.

QPR midfielder Sandro made his first appearance since suffering a medial knee ligament injury in November, and in combination with midfield partner Karl Henry, they gave Arsenal no time on the ball as the home side dominated the first half.

While Arsenal took time to settle, they provided a reminder of their quality when Green kept out Santi Cazorla after a flowing move that saw the Spaniard combine neatly with Giroud.

The Gunners were much the better team after half-time though, and threatened almost immediately, with Mesut Ozil insisting only a foul by Henry had prevented him from converting a Tomas Rosicky cut-back.

Soon after Giroud put Arsenal ahead, they created further chances in quick succession and, having just denied Sanchez, Green was beaten by the Chile forward at his near post from an acute angle.

Contrary to the pattern of the first half, David Ospina was a spectator in the Arsenal goal, and watched on as Green tipped Ozil’s deflected right-foot shot onto the post to keep his side in it.

Austin’s late strike gave QPR hope of a dramatic late equaliser, but the home side failed to build further momentum and Arsenal’s control of possession ensured no further alarms.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Arsenal 3-0 Stoke

Arsenal climbed above neighbours Tottenham and into fifth place in the Premier League with a dominant display against Stoke.

Laurent Koscielny took advantage of slack marking to head the hosts into an early lead from Sanchez’s cross.

The Chile international then finished off a neat move with Tomas Rosicky to double Arsenal’s lead before half-time.

Sanchez, 26, added his second goal of the game and 18th of the season from a free-kick shortly after the break.

It proved a relatively routine victory for an Arsenal side and for David Ospina, who retained his place after the 2-0 FA Cup third round win over Hull.

It was the 26-year-old Colombia international’s first Premier League start, with Wojciech Szczesny dropped to the bench following reports he was caught smoking in the showers after the New Year’s Day defeat at Southampton.

Stoke were given early warning of Arsenal’s intent when Sanchez and Tomas Rosicky forced goalkeeper Asmir Begovic into saves in the opening five minutes.

And within 60 seconds Koscielny took advantage of Arsenal’s third corner of the match by heading in Sanchez’s delivery.

Arsenal were forced to substitute defender Matthieu Debuchy when he dislocated his right shoulder in a challenge from Marko Arnautovic and collided with the advertising boards behind the goal.

Stoke created little throughout the game and their first real chance came when Glenn Whelan blazed a smart free-kick from Bojan over the bar on 25 minutes.

Peter Crouch also headed a tame effort wide from an Arnautovic cross.

Sanchez then stretched Arsenal’s lead with his 17th goal of the season – a low shot in to the bottom left-hand corner after a smart one-two with Rosicky on the edge of the area.

Soon after the break, Sanchez was among the goals again. His free-kick squeezed through the wall and Begovic was unable to stop the ball crossing the line via his body and a post.

By then, the game was over as a contest but Stoke rallied.

Geoff Cameron had a goal ruled out for offside when he strayed ahead of the Arsenal defence from Crouch’s flick-on.

And, as full-time approached, substitute Stephen Ireland forced Ospina into his only real save of note with a low right-foot effort.

Read more at BBC Sport

FA Cup: Arsenal 2-0 Hull

FA Cup holders Arsenal secured their place in the fourth round with a 2-0 win over last season’s beaten finalists Hull.

Both teams made several expected changes, as England forward Theo Walcott returned to make his first Arsenal start in a year following a serious knee injury, while Hull switched no fewer than 10 players from their Barclays Premier League win over Everton on New Year’s Day.

The Gunners took the lead on 20 minutes through a header from defender Per Mertsacker at a corner, before Chile forward Alexis Sanchez capped another man-of-the-match display with a fine curling effort on 82 minutes which ended any hopes of a late comeback from the Tigers.

Arsene Wenger’s men were in need of a response having lost 2-0 at Southampton on Thursday, and almost got off to the perfect start, but Hull goalkeeper Steve Harper made a reaction save with his feet after Joel Campbell was played into the penalty area by Sanchez.

Arsenal – who had trailed 2-0 after eight minutes at Wembley before coming back to win in extra-time – remained on the front foot, as Walcott put Sanchez in on the right, but his angled chip dropped onto the roof of the net when the better option was a square pass.

After Hull threatened from a couple of set-plays, Arsenal took the lead on 20 minutes after a corner.

Sanchez floated the ball in from the left, and Mertesacker got above Curtis Davies to head down over the line.

It was almost 2-0 moments later as some quick passing around the edge of the box as Tomas Rosicky released Sanchez, who rounded the keeper but Paul McShane slid in to knock the ball off the goalline.

Walcott exchanged a one-two with Santi Cazorla and was chipped clear into the left side of the Hull penalty area, but his sidefoot shot was straight at Harper.

On 30 minutes, Hull defender Harry Maguire sent a downward header from a corner goalwards, which David Ospina, replacing Wojciech Szczesny in the Arsenal goal, saved low to his left.

The Gunners looked to make a strong start to the second half, with Sanchez making a surging run into the right side of the Hull penalty area before sending in a low, angled drive which Harper saved.

Campbell, the Costa Rica forward aiming to earn himself a regular place in the Arsenal side, dragged a shot wide from 20 yards after more promising build-up by the hosts with Walcott then played clear into the penalty area by Sanchez on 66 minutes.

However, the England forward – who suffered a serious knee injury in the third round tie against Tottenham this time 12 months ago which ruled him out for the season and also the 2014 World Cup – showed his rustiness as he stabbed the ball well wide.

Walcott then almost got on the end of another angled ball from midfield, before Harper raced off his line to deny Sanchez with a block at the near post.

It was no surprise when Walcott was replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with quarter-of-an-hour left before, on 82 minutes, Sanchez curled in a sublime 20-yard effort to secure Arsenal’s place in the fourth-round draw on Monday evening.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Arsenal 2-1 QPR

Arsenal win despite Giroud red card

Arsenal survived the sending-off of striker Olivier Giroud for a reckless headbutt to beat QPR 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium and close back up on the top four of the Barclays Premier League.

The Gunners were in cruise control following Alexis Sanchez’s 10th league goal on 37 minutes, the Chilean having seen a tame early penalty saved.

However, a rush of blood from France striker Giroud at the start of the second half reduced Arsenal to 10 men. The Frenchman charged into Nedum Onuoha, the defender hitting the ground in front of the referee.

Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky, making a first start of the season, swept in a second on the break before Charlie Austin set up a tense finale when he converted a penalty with 11 minutes left.

Unlike at Liverpool last weekend, Arsenal held on under late pressure to move within two points of Southampton and one behind fifth-placed West Ham, whom they play on Sunday.

Arsenal, who had lost only one of their 17 previous Boxing Day Premier League matches, made an electric start and were awarded an early penalty when former Gunners defender Armand Traore tripped Sanchez.

The Chilean held onto the ball, and Santi Cazorla, who scored from the spot here against Newcastle, gave way.

However, Sanchez’s effort lacked any real pace towards the bottom right corner, and Robert Green got down to make the save.

Arsenal’s tempo dropped after the penalty miss, but the home side remained dominant in possession nevertheless as the conditions worsened.

Onuoha looked to have wrestled Danny Welbeck to the ground just inside the QPR penalty area, but this time referee Martin Atkinson was not interested.

Rio Ferdinand, making his first start since October, pulled back former United team-mate Welbeck to concede a free-kick 25 yards out in a central position and was cautioned.

Giroud whipped the ball over the wall, but Green made a smart diving save.

QPR, who had lost all eight of their Premier League away matches so far, continued to defend deep, with six men sitting around the edge of the 18-yard box.

The visitors’ rearguard was, though, breached on 37 minutes.

Cazorla pushed the ball out to Kieran Gibbs on the overlap down the left.

The defender looked up before chipping a cross back through the six-yard box, where no-one had picked up the run of Sanchez as the diminutive Chilean guided a cushioned header into the far corner.

Arsenal were reduced to 10 men on 53 minutes following a moment of red mist by Giroud.

The France striker was bundled over by Onuoha on the edge of the area as they chased a long ball forwards.

Giroud, incandescent with rage, scrambled to his feet to confront the defender, pushing his forehead into the defender’s face. Onuoha went to ground and the referee, who was right on the spot, reached for his back pocket to brandish a red card.

The Arsenal striker, who will now serve a three-match suspension, knew what was coming and headed straight down the tunnel as Gunners boss Arsene Wenger glared on.

Arsenal looked to respond by continuing their pressure, but QPR had been handed a lifeline and manager Harrry Redknapp made a change on 62 minutes as Karl Henry was replaced by Leroy Fer and Traore by Junior Hoilett.

The Gunners, though, soon doubled their lead.

Sanchez made another penetrating run to the edge of the QPR penalty area, where he played in Rosicky on the overlap and the Czech midfielder dispatched a low, first-time shot past Green.

QPR then grabbed a lifeline with 11 minutes left after Mathieu Debuchy tripped Hoilett just inside the penalty area, with the referee again expertly placed although replays suggested the defender did get a touch on the ball.

Austin made no mistake from the spot, blasting the ball down the centre for his 12th goal of an impressive season.

Wenger sent on defender Calum Chambers for the closing stages, replacing Rosicky, and Mathieu Flamini bundled a goal-bound effort off the line as the Gunners battled to victory.

Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Arsenal 1-0 Southampton

Alexis Sanchez fired Arsenal to a late 1-0 victory over Southampton at the Emirates Stadium to narrow the gap on the Barclays Premier League top four to two points.

Sanchez drilled home Aaron Ramsey’s pass in the 88th minute following a frantic passage of play with the Gunners taking full advantage of Saints having been reduced to 10 men.

When Toby Alderweireld went off injured in the last 10 minutes, Southampton had already made all three permitted substitutions and as they became stretched Arsenal pounced.

Few chances fell at either end in an uninspiring first half that did little to alleviate the chill in north London with Saints striker Graziano Pelle guilty of one glaring miss from close range.

Southampton were livelier after the interval, attacking with greater intent than their strangely subdued opponents, whose quest to narrow the gap on the top four lacked urgency on a night of high frustration for home supporters.

The 65th-minute arrival of Olivier Giroud lifted Arsenal, although the substitution was not without controversy as Arsene Wenger’s decision to sacrifice the lively Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was met with boos.

Santi Cazorla had endured an error-prone night, but it was Oxlade-Chamberlain who made way in a performance that will only provide further ammunition to critics who believe the club is stagnating under Wenger.

Giroud was denied with three minutes to go after Southampton keeper Fraser Foster palmed his header to safety, but seconds later Sanchez plundered the winner as Saints cracked under the pressure.

Arsenal had the first chance as a perfectly-weighted pass from Cazorla sent Danny Welbeck goalbound but the England marksman could only find the side-netting from a tight angle.

Southampton were then left wondering how they had failed to take the lead when Pelle blasted a close-range shot over the crossbar after combining with Steven Davis on the edge of the area.

Arsenal were playing with fire as Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Flamini combined to set up a panicky back-pass that left Emiliano Martinez with little margin for error as he cleared.

It was then the turn of Saints to panic as Cazorla opened up their defence only for Oxlade-Chamberlain to direct his shot straight at Forster.

A mix-up at the near post created the narrowest of openings for Welbeck but his backheel struck the side-netting one more.

Forster plucked a floating free-kick by Cazorla out of the air as Arsenal probed once more against opponents they were finding difficult to break down.

Cazorla, Sanchez and Oxlade-chamberlain dazzled on approach into the area, but the final pass was repeatedly blocked, while at the other end Pelle was Saints’ main troublemaker.

The strength of Victor Wanyama dispossessed Sanchez on the halfway line and the Kenyan midfielder had the wits to find Pelle, who tested Forster from 25 yards out.

Only Forster’s fingertip save of a deflected header by Welbeck kept the ball out of the net as play swept to the other end.

Southampton made the brighter start to the second half as Pelle saw a shot blocked by Laurent Koscielny before Shane Long butchered a great chance after Arsenal had opened up on the counter.

Giroud, who had been replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain in the starting line-up, stepped off the bench as Wenger sought to ignite his team and among the Frenchman’s first touches was one to force a save by Forster.

Arsenal now had discovered some energy and they fashioned another chance with Sanchez picking out Welbeck only for the alert Forster to intervene once more.

The draw looked to be within Saints’ grasp, only for Alderweireld’s exit to leave them exposed with Sanchez landing the killer blow.

Read more at ESPN

Champions League: Arsenal 2-0 Borussia Dortmund

Yaya Sanogo scored his first goal for Arsenal as they defeated Borussia Dortmund and ensured their passage into the Champions League knockout stage.

The 21-year-old broke his duck after 19 appearances when he finished off a one-two with Santi Cazorla with a low shot in the second minute.

Alexis Sanchez made it 2-0 after the break with a superb low curling shot.

Sanchez also had a shot pushed away, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struck the bar with a dipping volley.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Swansea 2-1 Arsenal

Swansea came from behind with two late goals to claim a memorable win over Arsenal at the Liberty Stadium.

Arsenal took the lead when Alexis Sanchez finished from close range after an excellent run and pass from Danny Welbeck.

But a stunning Gylfi Sigurdsson free-kick and a fine header from substitute Bafetimbi Gomis sealed Swansea’s victory.

The win sees Garry Monk’s men leapfrog the Gunners into fifth place in the Premier League table.

For Arsene Wenger’s side, meanwhile, defeat caps a miserable week after their Champions League collapse against Anderlecht on Tuesday, in which they threw away a three-goal lead to draw 3-3.

There were some nervy moments from the Gunners’ defenders, with Calum Chambers surviving a Swansea penalty appeal after appearing to shove Wilfried Bony to the ground inside the area.

Arsenal did not manage a shot on target until a minute before half time, as Welbeck combined well with Sanchez before his effort was palmed away by former Gunner Lukasz Fabianski.

Arsenal’s flashes of danger before the break were a sign of things to come, as they made the stronger start to the second half.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain wasted an excellent opportunity when his shot was saved by Fabianski, but the Gunners were ruthless with their next effort.

The visitors latched on to a poor pass from Bony and launched a counter-attack, from which Welbeck sped into the box, turned past Ashley Williams and squared the ball for Sanchez, who fired in from six yards.

Read more on BBC Sport

Clear scoring opportunities were at a premium in the first half as two slick but congested midfields cancelled each other out.

Champions League: Arsenal 3-3 Anderlecht

Arsenal moved to the brink of the Champions League’s last 16 despite blowing a 3-0 lead against Anderlecht.

Mikel Arteta’s penalty put the Gunners ahead after Danny Welbeck was fouled by Chancel Mbemba.

Alexis Sanchez doubled the lead with a stunning 20-yard volley before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added the third.

Anthony Vanden Borre reduced the deficit from close range before scoring a penalty, with Aleksandar Mitrovic equalising in the last minute.

Arsenal were set to book their place in the knockout stages when substitute Mitrovic headed Andy Najar’s 90th-minute cross past Wojciech Szczesny from close range.

The Londoners still need one point from their two remaining games – at home to Borussia Dortmund on 26 November and at Galatasaray on 9 December – to advance.

But with Dortmund five points clear, their hopes of finishing top of the group and heading into next month’s draw as one of the seeded teams are fading.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger looked furious at the end.

Though Vanden Borre was clearly offside when he scored his first goal, there can be no excuses for the lapses of concentration that allowed the Belgian champions to take a point.

Indeed there was no evidence of the drama to come at a rain-lashed Emirates when two goals in the space of four first-half minutes put the Gunners in control.

Chile international Sanchez had already been denied by a post when Mbemba felled Welbeck to gift Arteta his first goal in the competition, the Spaniard coolly chipping his 25th-minute spot-kick down the middle.

It was 2-0 four minutes later, the tireless Sanchez finding the net with a sublime low 20-yard volley after his free-kick cannoned off the visitors’ wall.

Anderlecht battled throughout but they looked beaten when Oxlade-Chamberlain put Wenger’s side 3-0 ahead by drilling home after a powerful 58th-minute run.

Vanden Borre was at least a yard offside when he began Anderlecht’s amazing fightback from close range in the 61st minute.

Nacho Monreal’s clumsy foul on Mitrovic then allowed Vanden Borre to make it 3-2 from the penalty spot.

And, just as Arsenal appeared to have weathered Anderlecht’s late flurry, the dangerous Mitrovic headed home to the delight of the 3,000 travelling fans.

Read more on BBC Sport

Champions League: Arsenal 4-1 Galatasaray

Welbeck hits first hat-trick in Arsenal romp

Danny Welbeck helped himself to a first senior hat-trick as Arsenal ripped a wretched Galatasaray defence to shreds in a 4-1 win at the Emirates Stadium.

Alexis Sanchez also netted four minutes prior to half-time when he dashed onto a Mesut Ozil pass to slide the ball beyond visiting goalkeeperFernando Muslera.

Galatasaray coach Cesare Prandelli’s ill-advised decision to operate with three defenders began to unravel on 22 minutes when Welbeck accepted an intelligent pass from Alexis to prod the ball under Muslera.

He added his second on 30 minutes as Aur©lien Chedjou failed to connect with a header allowing Welbeck to race away from Felipe Melo before finishing with some ease.

The third came from an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pass on 52 minutes before Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was sent off for a last-man challenge on Burak Yılmaz, who converted the consolation goal on 63 minutes.

Arsenal’s 10 men were never overly tested, but David Ospina did well when he replaced Szczesny. On what was a bad night all round for the Turkish club, flares were tossed onto the Emirates pitch coming from the animated 3,000 visiting fans.

They are sure to face punishment from UEFA, but Arsenal recovered well from their 2-0 mauling at Borussia Dortmund in their Group D opener to boost hopes of reaching the last 16.

Read more on Yahoo Sport