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Sanchez strikes twice to keep Arsenal in hunt for Champions League

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Alexis Sanchez scored both of Arsenal's goals in their 2-0 win over Sunerland. Reuters/Carl Recine

Alexis Sanchez bagged a brace on Tuesday night to give Arenal a 2-0 victory over Sunderland and maintain their hopes of a top four finish and a place in next season's Uefa Champions League. The Chilean broke Sunderland's resistance with 18 minutes remaining.

 


Granit Xhaka's lofted pass was squared by Mesut Ozil and Sanchez volleyed in his 22nd goal of the league campaign.

Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford thwarted Sanchez, Xhaka and Alex Iwobi as Arsenal hunted the killer blow.

But the pressure told nine minutes from the end. Sanchez headed home after Pickford had blocked Olivier Giroud's volley.

Arsenal must win their final game at home to Everton on Sunday and hope that Liverpool slip up at home to relegated Middlesbrough if they are to guarantee a 20th successive season of Champions League football.

It was not the end of season scramble many would have expected of Arsene Wenger's men. The north Londoners were among the title favourites at the start of the season especially with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United and Pep Guardiola at Manchester City wrestling with new teams.

But though their title challenge faded away just after Christmas, Arsenal were in the top four until a 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on 4 March left them fifth behind Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Guardiola's men all but secured a top-four place on Tuesday night by beating West Bromwich Albion.

Belgium international Kevin De Bruyne was the star of the show as City swept past Tony Pulis's side who have only taken one point from their last five games.

De Bruyne set up Gabriel Jesus for City's first after 27 minutes and two minutes later added the second. Yaya Touré made it 3-0 just after the pause. Hal Robson Kanu grabbed West Brom's consolation three minutes from time.

A point at Watford on Sunday will guarantee a top four place but they can secure third place and avoid the Champions League play-off round if they win.

"Now we are in third and it's in our hands to finish third," said Guardiola. "We're going to travel to Watford to win and to finish third."