Stoke City out to upset Arsenal's Champions League hopes

Alan Pardew

SKY SPORTSAlan Pardew has suggested why Aaron Ramsey didn't start for Arsenal against Stoke

"I believe when the team plays well we have individual talent and of course that always benefits from it", Wenger added. "It was tight, not like a knife", Wenger said.

Wenger also hailed the character of his side after they continued their resurgence following a awful run of form which saw them go from title contenders to sixth in the table - pointing to the FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City as the turning point.

Stoke hit back with a controversial 67th-minute goal from substitute Peter Crouch, before efforts from Alexis Sanchez in the 76th minute and Giroud 10 minutes from time wrapped up a victory that sees the gap between Arsene Wenger's fifth-placed men and fourth-placed Liverpool reduced to a point.

"That was frustrating, and then second half we were chasing a game which was hard to come back into". Anything short of a win for Jurgen Klopp's side will take their fate out of their own hands and could potentially leave them requiring city rivals Everton to do them a huge favour at the Emirates on the final day of the season.

The Chilean worldwide became the first Arsenal player to score 20 EPL goals in one season since Robin van Persië posted 30 goals in 2011-12.

Arsenal's hopes of securing a top four spot are reliant on either Liverpool or Manchester City slipping up in their final games of the season but the impossible could become closer to possible if the Gunners beat Stoke on Saturday.

Chile worldwide Sanchez, 28, has now scored 20 goals in a league season for the first time in a career that has also featured spells with Udinese and Barcelona.

"He scores important goals".

"I've got a good bunch of players here and every one of them puts in a real shift when they are picked", he said. Hopefully at the end we'll reach our goals. "But now we have three games and we have to give everything to try and get everything out of all the games".

Saints boss Claude Puel, however, was left to ponder his side's lack of a cutting edge.

"All the games the same thing. we saw our games since the beginning of the season, many games where we've had the same feeling".

"We have to show the character again", he said. Monreal is a good defender but that is where his strength lies and this system needs a more attack-minded player filling that position.

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