2015-2016 Barclays Premier League
  • Olivier Giroud (5', 78', 80')
  • Mark Bunn (90'+2' OG)

Giroud hits hat trick as Arsenal clinch second with win over Aston Villa

Olivier Giroud's first-ever Premier League hat-trick helped Arsenal beat Aston Villa in the final game of the season to secure a second-place finish at the expense of North London rivals Tottenham.

Their 4-0 victory over long-since relegated Villa saw Arsenal leapfrog Spurs to finish second to champions Leicester, with a last-gasp Mark Bunn own goal sealing the win.

The win, coupled with Tottenham's 5-1 capitulation at Newcastle, means Arsenal have not finished below their neighbours since 1995.

It could have been a simple end-of-season knockabout but, with second spot still up for grabs, Wenger's side had something to play for and needed just five minutes to breach Villa's leaky defence.

Nacho Monreal broke down the left and crossed for the unmarked Giroud to head past Bunn, although Mesut Ozil appeared to run the ball out of play in the buildup.

Villa came close to levelling soon after but Andre Ayew's ball across the Arsenal goal was cleared by Gabriel after the forward had burst past Hector Bellerin and into the box.

Alexis Sanchez arrowed a shot wide as Arsenal looked to double their advantage before the break, although arguably the loudest cheers of the half came when news filtered through of Newcastle taking the lead over Spurs.

With England boss Roy Hodgson watching, Jack Wilshere should have scored when found six yards out but the 24-year-old -- starting his first game in almost a year -- could only turn the chance into the side-netting.

The Gunners were almost made to pay as Scott Sinclair was allowed to get a shot away, but it was wide of Petr Cech's far post and Jordan Lyden's cutback could not find a Villa shirt.

The second half was a bland affair as the hosts struggled to create chances, while Villa did not look threatening on the rare occasions they committed men forward.

Wilshere's afternoon came to an end when he was replaced by Mohamed Elneny after 68 minutes and the Egypt midfielder was guilty of spurning a great chance as he lashed a volley over from close range.

But the killer goals Arsenal coveted came within a two-minute window in the closing stages as Giroud swept home Ozil's low cross before staying onside to beat Bunn to Bellerin's tantalising throughball.

A fourth goal in stoppage time, an own goal by Bunn rather than a most-fitting finale for departing club captain Mikel Arteta -- whose effort was tipped onto the bar before hitting the Villa stopper and rolling over the line -- wrapped up the afternoon.

English Premier League Standings

1 Manchester City 27 +54 65
2 Liverpool 26 +44 65
3 Tottenham Hotspur 26 +29 60
4 Manchester United 26 +17 51
5 Arsenal 26 +16 50
6 Chelsea 26 +16 50
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 26 +1 39
8 Watford 26 0 37
9 Everton 27 -3 33
10 West Ham United 26 -7 33
11 AFC Bournemouth 26 -10 33
12 Leicester City 26 -3 32
13 Crystal Palace 26 -7 27
14 Brighton & Hove Albion 26 -11 27
15 Burnley 26 -18 27
16 Newcastle United 26 -12 25
17 Cardiff City 26 -23 25
18 Southampton 26 -16 24
19 Fulham 26 -33 17
20 Huddersfield Town 26 -34 11