Soccer

Arsenal closes in on final Champions berth by beating Hull

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The Canadian Press
4/20/2014 3:04:44 PM
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HULL, England -- Lukas Podolski scored two goals for the second straight match as Arsenal beat Hull 3-0 on Sunday to move a step closer to securing the final Champions League place in the Premier League.

Arsenal's finishing was clinical at the KC Stadium, with Aaron Ramsey setting the visitors on their way in the 31st minute before Podolski picked up where he left off in the 3-1 win over West Ham on Tuesday.

The Germany international ran onto Ramsey's chest-down and rifled a low shot into the corner on the stroke of halftime and sealed victory in the 54th when Hull goalkeeper Steve Harper deflected a close-range shot from Ramsey into Podolski's path.

The result moved Arsenal to 70 points -- one clear of Everton, which beat Manchester United 2-0 later Sunday -- and will boost belief after what was a rehearsal for next month's FA Cup final.

"We have beaten Hull twice this season, but it is a cup final and you cannot take anything for granted," Ramsey said, "but we will go into that game confident in our ability.

"If we do well at the end of this season, it could be our most successful for many years."

After a winless run of six games that knocked Arsenal out of title contention, Arsene Wenger's side appears to be back in form just in time to clinch a 17th straight campaign in the Champions League.

Ramsey is back fit and Mesut Ozil returned to the starting lineup against Hull, giving Arsenal attacks more fizz and precision. Podolski is also getting a run in the starting team and he is rewarding Wenger with goals.

"We have had to cope to five six players all out at the same time and we have done as well as we can," Wenger said. "You live in the real world."

After Ramsey completed a flowing team move with a low strike from Santi Cazorla's short pass, Podolski delivered another devastating finish after Ramsey brought down a long pass from Olivier Giroud.

Ramsey gave Hull's defence no peace with his foraging runs and he was picked out by Cazorla with another, the Wales midfielder having a shot saved by Harper. The ball rebounded out to Podolski, who made no mistake.

Lukas Podolski (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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