Gunners fire four past AZ

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Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas struck twice in a 4-1 win over AZ Alkmaar at the Emirates Stadium to put Arsene Wenger's men on the brink of the Champions League knockout stages.

Fabregas struck either side of half-time, with Samir Nasri and Abou Diaby grabbing the other goals to put the hosts in total control of Group H with two matches left to play.

By sweeping aside their Dutch opponents, the freescoring Gunners have now scored 18 goals in their last five home games. Jeremain Lens pulled one back for the visitors.

Arsenal were gifted the lead on 25 minutes when a quick break down the left freed Fabregas on the edge of the penalty area. The Gunners captain was given space to drive the ball through David Mendes da Silva's legs, and as Ranero completely mistimed his dive, it somehow crept inside the far post.

The home side continued to press, and Fabregas was somewhat unfortunate to head over after a deep cross from left-back Kieran Gibbs, in for the injured Gael Clichy, at the end of another swift counter.

The Gunners doubled their lead just before half-time when Andrey Arshavin fed Nasri down the middle. The Frenchman turned Hector Moreno inside out to burst into the penalty area, before dispatching a low effort into the bottom right corner on 43 minutes.

Before AZ could regroup at the start of the second half, Arsenal were out of sight after scoring a third goal on 52 minutes. The visitors gave away possession in midfield, and it proved fatal as Arshavin sprinted towards the penalty area, before slipping in Fabregas, who fired the ball past Romero.

It was 4-0 on 72 minutes following another flowing counter-attack with a clever back-heel from Eduardo releasing Arshavin down the right. The Russian took the ball on into the area, before squaring to Diaby, who made no mistake from 12 yards.

Arsenal had what looked a decent shout for handball against Pelle turned down before AZ broke quickly and scored a consolation when Lens held off Gibbs to fire past Almunia.

There was still time for Ramsey to hit the bar, but the hard work had already been done.

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Andrey Arshavin
Kieran Gibbs
Premier League
Gael Clichy
Vassiriki Abou Diaby
Samir Nasri

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