Soccer

Arsenal moves 4 points clear at the top of EPL

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LONDON (AP)

Olivier Giroud took advantage of a huge goalkeeping blunder to score a brace as Arsenal moved four points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 win over Southampton.

The Gunners bounced back from their defeat against Manchester United and took advantage of second-place Liverpool's 3-3 draw at Everton to increase their lead.

Arsene Wenger's team had a cautious start but gradually stamped its authority on the match and opened the scoring in the 22nd minute after Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc gifted a bizarre goal, losing the ball to Giroud in his box.

The former Montpellier striker then doubled the hosts' lead from the penalty spot, sending Boruc the wrong way after Per Mertesacker had his jersey pulled in the box.

The match was delayed by 15 minutes following problems on the London metro to allow supporters sufficient time to gather at the Emirates stadium gates.

England midfielder Jack Wilshere started alongside Germany defender Mertesacker, who scored the winning goal against England in a friendly at Wembley midweek.

The Gunners came to life after 15 minutes to camp in their opponent's half. Wilshere almost broke the deadlock with a chipped ball over Boruc that came off the post before Aaron Ramsey hit the same post with a backheeled flick.

But Boruc's lucky day was soon to end as the Saints goalkeeper lost the ball after trying to clumsily dribble past France striker Giroud in his box. Giroud pressured him and easily won the ball before scoring from close range.

''We were a bit lucky on the first goal, but I think that really helped us for the rest of the game,'' Giroud said. ''I didn't give up on my duel with the keeper. Usually I used to go too quickly ... but this time I stand on my legs and was a bit lucky, took ball and scored. It's nice for the team.''

Starting the match in 3rd place, Southampton showed a more attacking side to its play after the interval but Adam Lallana saw his powerful attempt at goal stopped by Wojciech Szczesny just before the England midfielder was replaced by Dani Osvaldo.

The Saints enjoyed good spells of possession as Arsenal struggled to win the ball before Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla spread confusion in Southampton's box as the match opened up.

Arsenal finally sealed its win four minutes from time after Jose Fonte pulled Mertesacker's shirt.

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