Arsenal started the evening needing to win – preferably by a big margin – if they were to have any realistic hope of sneaking into the top four.
They knew defeat against rock-bottom Sunderland, who had managed just three away victories all season, would end their hopes if Manchester City beat West Brom.
And with City cruising to a 3-1 win in their game, even a draw would have left Arsenal struggling.
Until Sanchez’s late intervention, it looked as though Wenger’s side would be left frustrated by a lack of conviction in front of goal and some stubborn Sunderland defending.
The Gunners found the breakthrough with 20 minutes left, Granit Xhaka picking out Ozil with a clever chip over the defence that was put back across goal by the German for Sanchez to tap in.
Arsenal knew just a draw against Everton on the final day might be enough to catch Liverpool if they wiped out the Reds’ superior goal difference, and Wenger urged his side to push for more goals from the touchline.
Sanchez was lurking in the six-yard box at the right time to convert Giroud’s volleyed pass to double the lead, but despite a late flurry that saw Shkodran Mustafi hit the woodwork the hosts were unable to add to their tally.
“Sunderland did fight and that’s what you want from every team,” Wenger said.
For a better society