Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Monreal, Arteta, Wilshere, Rosicky, Gnabry, Cazorla, Walcott
Subs: Viviano, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Flamini, Ozil, Podolski, Ju-Young Park
Arsenal secured their passage into the 4th round of the FA Cup with a 2-0 North London derby win against Sp*s this afternoon.
Arsene Wenger made a number of changes to his starting line up. Lukasz Fabianski came in for Wojciech Szczesny, Thomas Vermaelen replaced Per Mertesacker, Tomas Rosicky was recalled in midfield in place of Mathieu Flamini and there was a place in the side for young German Serge Gnabry. Theo Walcott played up front in place of Lukas Podolski who dropped to the bench.
The game started at a frenetic pace with Sp*rs winning an early corner which saw Sagna block a Dembele shot, while at the other end Gnabry got to the byline and pulled a ball back for Walcott which was just behind the England man.
The visitors then had the first big chance of the game. A ball deflected behind the Arsenal defence into the path of Christian Eriksen but his shot to the near post was well saved by Fabianski. At the other end a swift Arsenal break saw Walcott shoot from distance and Lloris scrambled to push the ball around the post.
It was Walcott again as the Gunners piled on the pressure, this time a left footed effort curled just wide with the help of a deflection, and from the resulting corner Gnabry fizzed a shot just over the bar.
Thomas Vermaelen picked up an 18th minute yellow card for a foul on Dembele and there were hearts in mouths when he slid in on Soldado a few minutes later, but did win the ball. Santi Cazorla curled a shot a couple of feet wide before Theo Walcott had the best Arsenal chance thus far.
Gnabry showed great strength to hold off the Sp*rs defence and the home side worked the ball behind the last man. Walcott’s shot was saved as Lloris came out to narrow the angle, but perhaps if he’d looked up he’d have seen Monreal unmarked at the back post and a square ball would surely have set him up.
But a few minutes later Arsenal were ahead. Gnabry picked the ball up in midfield, drove towards the Sp*rs box and played the ball into the path of Santi Cazorla. The Spaniard smashed the ball past Lloris from angle to make it 1-0.
Arsenal were on top but failed to take advantage of some good positions, poor balls by Walcott and Rosicky might have been better, and Walcott’s snapshot from a half-cleared corner flew over the bar.
An obvious Sp*rs tactic was the rotational fouling on Jack Wilshere. Dembele got away with a backwards headbutt, and the lilywhite players took it in turns to foul the Arsenal midfielder. Soldado, in particular, was lucky to get away without a card.
Late in the half a Cazorla free kick almost found Sagna at the back post and Sp*rs did well to prevent the Spaniard getting on a bouncing ball in the box. Soldado shot wide just before the break and Arsenal took the 1-0 lead in with them.
Arsenal made a half-time change, bringing on Per Mertesacker for Thomas Vermaelen, the Belgian’s cut knee forcing the move. Sp*rs had a couple of early corners and Arsenal tried to get on top just as in the first half. Cazorla and Monreal combined well on a number of occasions, but they had their moments too.
Soldado shot wide again and Adebayor found some space in the box and looked to have turned Mertesacker but he fell over while making the shot. At the other end the impressive Gnabry fed Walcott who went around the keeper, but the angle was too tight for his shot which hit the side netting.
But in the 62nd minute the Gunners doubled the lead. Danny Rose had the ball in the centre circle. Rosicky put him under pressure, robbed the ball, ran the length of the half, into the Sp*rs box and dinked it over the keeper from close range. There were shades of Michael Thomas ‘Oh God, he’s held onto it too long!’, but the run and finish were top class.
Monreal and Walker traded penalty incidents at both ends with Mark Clattenburg, probably rightly, waving play on in either case, before Flamini came on to replace Wilshere. Cazorla tried a long range effort over Lloris which fell wide before Walcott shot just wide after careless Sp*rs play on the edge of their box.
Mesut Ozil replaced Arteta in the 75th minute and the filthy scummers were shouting for a penalty when the ball hit Cazorla’s arm but the referee rightly played on because they are filthy scummers.
Arsenal were forced to play the final 10 minutes with 10 men as Theo Walcott was stretchered off with what looked like a nasty knee injury. His studs got caught in the turf and he looked to wrench his knee. As he carried off he made a 2-0 gesture to the Sp*rs fans who pelted him with missiles, the filthy scummers.
The scummers tried to press with the extra man but because they are abject wankers they couldn’t take advantage. In fact, it was Arsenal who almost scored again, an Ozil shot tipped around the post by Lloris.
In the end, Arsenal held them at arms length and went into the 4th round of the cup. “We’ve only got 10 men”, sang the Gooners.
Better 10 men than 11 filthy useless scummers. Up the arse.