Arsenal moved back to within a point of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Sunderland on Saturday.
Olivier Giroud ended a run of six league appearances at home without a goal by scoring twice in the first half as Arsene Wenger's side dominated against lacklustre opponents at the Emirates Stadium.
The striker opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a close-range finish and doubled his tally in the 31st minute after Santiago Vergini's ill-advised attempted backpass to Vito Mannone.
Tomas Rosicky added a third in the closing minutes of the first half after a fine team move, while Laurent Koscielny was also on target shortly before the hour mark following terrible Sunderland defending from a corner.
The win ensures Arsenal stay close behind leaders Chelsea in the race for the title, while Sunderland, who grabbed a late consolation through Emanuele Giaccherini, could hardly have had worse preparation ahead of their League Cup final meeting with Manchester City next weekend.
Wenger's side made a great start as Sunderland failed to pressurise their opponents and Giroud took full advantage.
Having controlled possession from kick-off, Arsenal found a gap in the visitors' defence when Jack Wilshere played a one-two with Rosicky on the edge of the area before squaring the ball to Giroud, who made no mistake to register his 11th league goal of the season.
Rosicky and Lukas Podolski both went close before a dominant Arsenal doubled their lead.
Sunderland gifted their hosts the goal as Vergini, making his first league start, failed to spot Giroud when making a backpass to Mannone. The Frenchman gratefully intercepted and rolled the ball into the net.
With three minutes of the first half remaining, Arsenal got the third goal that their play deserved as Rosicky completed a fine passing move with his first goal of the season.
The Czech midfielder exchanged passes with Wilshere and Giroud and calmly lifted the ball over Mannone when one-on-one.
The introduction of Sebastian Larsson and Giaccherini at the break sparked Sunderland into life but, despite their increased attacking intent, they struggled to test Wojciech Szczesny.
Any hopes of a shock comeback were ended in the 57th minute when Koscielny evaded the attention of Phil Bardsley to meet a Santi Cazorla corner and emphatically head home his first goal of the campaign.
Szczesny got down well to deny Ki Sung-Yueng in the 70th minute after Larsson had headed across goal, but the goalkeeper was unable to do anything about Giaccherini’s low shot with nine minutes to play.
The Italian controlled the ball on the edge of the penalty area and fired through a crowd of players to score the first goal against Arsenal in league matches at the Emirates for 537 minutes.
|12||O. Giroud||5' 31'|
|Coach: A. Wenger|
for Nacho Monreal 46'
for L. Koscielny 67'
for T. Rosický 73'
|Goal-shy Barkley eyes striker´s role|
|UEFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro and Russia|
|Draxler and Choupo-Moting back in training|
|Ghana v Mali: Last chance to impress before Giresse return|
|Wilson: Gibraltar getting stronger|
|Mata confident of Spain future|
|Armenia coach Challandes resigns|
|Hiddink rubbishes talk of Dutch negativity|
|Portugal v Cape Verde: Santos set to rotate|
|Loren hails Moyes for Sociedad surge|
|Cruyff brands Netherlands ´a disgrace´|
|Kick It Out backs Barnes over race comments|
|Argentina v Ecuador: Messi remains doubtful for friendly|
|Coates backs Hughes ambition at Stoke|
|Atletico able to call on Saul again|
|Zidane would accept Real job|
|Hernandez frustrated by lack of Real opportunities|
|Spartak donate money to 102-year-old fan after robbery|
|Clasie pulls out of Netherlands squad|
|Italy´s Bertolacci out of England friendly|
|Newcastle post record profit as Ashley debt stays the same|
|Al Sadd: We want Xavi to bring tiki-taka|
|Lacazette expected frosty Saint-Etienne reception|
|Barnes: I can´t get back into management because I´m black|
|Rooney praises England aggression|
|Southgate tips Kane for return to U21s|
|Mexico v Paraguay: Goals in order for Copa America aspirants|
|Peru v Venezuela: Sanvicente wants Venezuelan response|
|Carvalho confident of playing Juventus|
|Neymar demands protection after Medel stamp|
|MLS Review: RSL, Fire secure breakthrough wins|
|Firmino firmly on radar - Dunga|
|O´Neill delighted with second-half display|
|First-half dominance pleases Deschamps|
|Muller criticises Germany profligacy|
|Euro 2016 Qualifying Review: Portugal go top, Gibraltar make history in defeat|
|Liverpool the only English club I could play for - Suarez|
|France 2 Denmark 0: Lacazette off the mark in routine victory|
|Republic of Ireland 1 Poland 1: Long rescues vital point|
|Portugal 2 Serbia 1: Coentrao puts hosts top of Group I|
|Strachan hails ´terrific´ Gibraltar|
|Lafferty back playing with a smile on his face - O´Neill|
|Toure to reveal Ivory Coast future over coming days|
|Georgia 0 Germany 2: Reus and Muller on target for world champions|
|Northern Ireland 2 Finland 1: Lafferty inspires fourth qualifying success|
|Scotland 6 Gibraltar 1: Casciaro´s historic moment outshone by Fletcher´s hat-trick|
|France 2-0 Denmark: Lacazette and Giroud on target|
|Firmino hopeful of Copa America spot|
|Hummels considering options at Dortmund|
|Suarez goalless on Anfield return, but Balotelli nets stunner|
|Casciaro scores first competitive goal for Gibraltar|
|Fleetwood Town 1 Preston North End 1: Ball stunner claims share of derby spoils|
|Italy v England: Judge me on results, says Conte|
|Colombia v Kuwait: Falcao seeking another strong showing|
|Brazil 1 Chile 0: Firmino settles scrappy affair|
|Luxembourg v Turkey: Let´s kick on, urges Terim|
|South Africa 1 Nigeria 1: Zungu strikes late to earn draw|
|Smalling wants long-term United stay|
|South Africa 1-1 Nigeria: Last-gasp Zungu goal cancels out Musa strike|
|Italy call up Santon and Abate for England friendly|
|Switzerland v United States: Klinsmann eyes learning curve|
|Netherlands v Spain: Hiddink has players´ support, says Wijnaldum|
|A-League Review: Sydney end Wellington run, Adelaide suffer injury blows in Jets win|
|Henderson eyes long-term Liverpool future|
|I have nothing to prove - Bale|
|Brazil 1-0 Chile: Firmino gives Selecao battling victory|
|South Korea v New Zealand: All Whites looking to future|
|Japan v Uzbekistan: Hosts eye another win under Halilhodzic|
|MLS Review: Kaka nets in Orlando draw|
|Mexico 1 Ecuador 0: Hernandez, Corona help Herrera´s men to victory|
|Deschamps calls for France response|
|Dunga unfazed by pressure|
|Montenegro fan turns himself in after flare incident|
|Injured Messi not ready - Martino|
|Hodgson: Rooney not close to Charlton|
|Terim proud of Turkey|
|Hiddink happy with point|
|Euro 2016 Qualifying Review: Netherlands and Italy stage late escapes|
|Debutant Eder delighted with Azzurri bow|
|Argentina 2 El Salvador 0: Mancuello nets debut goal in straightforward win|
|Kovac not satisfied despite Croatia victory|
|Netherlands 1 Turkey 1: Huntelaar spares Hiddink from historic home loss|
|Ghana 1 Senegal 2: Konate brace downs Black Stars|
|Bulgaria 2 Italy 2: Controversial debutant Eder rescues Conte´s men|
|Morocco 0 Uruguay 1: Cavani spot-kick seals win|
|Al Sadd say talks with Xavi ongoing|
|McClean slams Sunderland´s handling of poppy controversy|
|Ghana 1-2 Senegal: Black Stars continue Afcon hangover|
|Cheltenham player diagnosed with cancer|
|Palace takeover talk premature - Parish|
|Odegaard becomes Euro qualifiers´ youngest starter|
|Job not done yet, Bale warns Wales|
|Israel 0 Wales 3: Brilliant Bale bags brace as Wales go top|
|Dunga backs Neymar to overhaul Pele´s Brazil goal record|
|League Two Review: Hartlepool climb out of drop zone, Cheltenham go bottom|
|El Salvador 0-2 Argentina: Martino's men triumph without Messi|
|League One Review: Canavan leaves it late to deny County|
|Freddy Adu signs with 11th team in as many years|
|Besiktas deny Cech, Danny rumours|
|Puerto Rico v Canada: Haber targets more momentum|
|Miranda not contemplating Atletico exit|
|Austin relaxed over England prospects|
|Manchester United should sign Ibrahimovic - Schmeichel|
|Ibe eyes Liverpool run-in|
|Bertrand called up by England as withdrawal of four players confirmed|
|A-League Review: Risdon nets stunner, Germano tames Roar|
|Panama v Costa Rica: Unbeaten run a secondary concern for Wanchope|
|Italy coach Conte shaken after death threats - FIGC chief|
|Barca fears over Alba eased|
|Schweinsteiger to start Germany qualifier|
|Akinfeev thanks fans after flare incident|
|Injuries offer Kane chance of first England start|
|Russian Football Union to protest following Montenegro abandonment|
|October comeback the target for injured Foster|
|Van der Vaart looks set to leave Hamburg|
|Bale focused on Wales - Coleman|
|Kluivert helps Curacao to victory|
|Hamstrung Alba returns to Barcelona|
|Macedonia v Australia: Confident visitors eye victory|
|Akinfeev to return to Moscow with Russia squad|
|Brnovic: Montenegro have no chance of qualifying|
|Russia had to resume after Akinfeev incident - Capello|
|Terim: Robben absence important|
|Brazil - Chile Preview: Winning is 'our only option' - Dunga|
|France - Denmark Preview: Olsen hits out at 'disrespectful' hosts|
|Morata keen to keep working|
|Canada 1 Guatemala 0: Haber heads Floro´s men to win|
|Difficult to find a place for Kane in starting XI - Hodgson|
|Difficult to find a place for Kane in starting XI - Hodgson|