EPL: Giroud fires up Gunners

EPL: Giroud fires up Gunners
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (right) celebrates with teammate Lukas Podolski after scoring a goal against West Bromwich Albion during their English Premier League soccer match at the Emirates stadium in London May 4, 2014.

ARSENAL 1 (Giroud 14)
WEST BROM 0

Arsenal coasted to a 1-0 win over West Brom in their final Barclays Premier League home match of the season at the Emirates Stadium.

Following Everton's defeat by Manchester City on Saturday, the Gunners were already assured of fourth spot, and with it a chance of qualifying for the Champions League group stages once again next season.

Olivier Giroud headed in his 22nd goal of the campaign in all competitions after 14 minutes, which proved enough to see off West Brom, who are all but secure of their top-flight status with two matches left still to play.

Arsenal made just one change from the XI which had beaten Newcastle on Monday night, as Mathieu Flamini came in for Aaron Ramsey, who was rested because of a minor thigh problem but one which is not expected to keep theWalesmidfielder out of contention for the FA Cup final.

It was a bright start by Arsenal in the May sunshine, with Lukas Podolski driving just wide and then Santi Cazorla's blocked effort flying over.

From the resulting corner, Arsenal took the lead. Giroud showed great strength to hold off Craig Dawson, who was man-handling the France forward, and powered a header in at the near post for a 16th Premier League goal.

West Brom, four points clear of trouble before kick-off, looked to rally, but with only Saido Berahino at the head of a five-man midfield, they offered little penetration in the final third.

James Morrison floated a long-range effort over the bar as he looked to catch Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny off his line.

Arsenal were soon back on the offensive, with Flamini sending over a low cross which was kicked away by Baggies keeper Ben Foster.

On 31 minutes, Szczesny had his hands stung by a rasping 25-yard drive from Graham Dorrans, which the Poland keeper beat down and Berahino hooked the loose ball over the crossbar, but had been flagged offside.

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