LONDON (AP) Arsenal ended the English Premier League season in second place after Olivier Giroud scored a hat trick on Sunday to lead Arsenal to a 4-0 victory over relegated Aston Villa.
The result, combined with Tottenham's 5-1 defeat against Newcastle, means that Arsenal finished the season one point ahead of their north London rivals.
Giroud's first goal came in the 5th minute, a header from a cross by Nacho Monreal. The Frenchman raced to his hat trick within the space of three second-half minutes with Mesut Ozil and Hector Bellerin providing the assists in the 78th and 80th minutes, respectively. Mikel Arteta added Arsenal's fourth in stoppage time.
Giroud's hat-trick meant that he finished the season as Arsenal's top Premier League scorer, with 16. Many critics have suggested that it is Arsenal's lack of a prolific goalscorer that is at the root of its inability to challenge for the title.
Arsenal finished the season 10 points behind champion Leicester.
''You have to say Leicester have had an exceptional year. It is not only us who is behind Leicester. We have beaten them twice'' said Wenger. ''We are not happy about being second but then there are 18 other teams behind us,'' he added.
For Aston Villa, it brings to an end to a miserable season for all involved with the club. Having won just 3 games all season, many fans will be relieved that the season is over.
''The players deserve a lot of credit and it is a 4-0 defeat but you take that on the chin, but I thought it was harsh the 4-0,'' said Aston Villa caretaker manager Erik Black.
Aston Villa finished the season in bottom place.