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The dream remains alive as Gunners bid to secure Champions League ticket, win FA Cup!


Forget about the Premier League title this season, but hopes spring eternal for Arsenal.

And those hope is for the Gunners to secure Champions League qualification, and win the FA Cup title.

Those are very much alive as Arsene Wenger’s men trimmed Southampton 2-0 on Thursday, an important step towards another stint in the European Cup.

Then there’s the FA Cup trophy waiting for them to pocket. That is of course, if they beat Chelsea on May 28.

The three points claimed at St. Mary’s Stadium not only kept the Gunners in the thick of the fight, it also sent this season’s top-four chase down the wire.

Arsenal are now fifth with 66 points, passing Manchester United, and within three points of fourth-placed Manchester City, and four behind third-placed Liverpool.

Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud found the target in the second half to spark the Gunners’ win over the Saints.

Following a ho-hum first half, Sanchez lit it up to open the scoring in the 60th minute when the Chilean wrong-footed two defenders in the box before coolly firing home.

It was Sanchez’s 100th Premier League appearance, marking it with the solo strike that gave himshis 20th league goal in a season for the first time.

He celebrated his superb strike by thumping the badge on his chest as travelling Arsenal fans howled in utter delight.

Wenger was so elated with the way Sanchez pulled off his feat, saying “That’s Alexis!’’ after the match.

“In praising the Chilean, Wenger said : “He’s a player who never gives up and is always tricky to stop, he’s very good in short spaces.’’

Giroud proved to be a super sub by sealing the victory in the 83rd by heading in from close range minutes after replacing Danny Welbeck.

Mid-table Southampton were never in the match and remained 10th in the table as they were beaten at St. Mary’s by the Gunners for the first time in the league since 2003.

The Saints’ brightest chance came in the first half when Manolo Gabbiadini forced a fine save out of Petr Cech from close range.

Next up for Arsenal is an important clash with Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium where both clubs battled to a scoreless draw the last time out.

Other than that, Stoke had a previous home win in their last five meetings, while the other three games were all won at home by Arsenal.

After Stoke, the Gunners face relegated Sunderland at home (May 17) and then Everton also at home (May 21). If they get favourable results, they will get CL berth for the 20th successive season.

Sanchez, like Mesut Ozil, have expiring contracts at the end of the season.

So what’s keeping Gunners’ fans in their anxious-moment mode is whether the two stay with the team, or depart, the latter definitely to be frowned upon by their faithful.

Wenger for his part, remains under heavy pressure as he attempts to give the Gunners a trophy this season, minus of course the Premier League trophy.

A Champions League seat could ease the burden. And more so, if they win the FA Cup final over Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.

Those would be enough, we think, to put an ear-to-ear grin on the Gunners’ faces.