Alexis celebrates his winning goal against the Clarets
Alexis celebrates his winning goal against the Clarets

Alexis Sanchez hit the winning goal as Arsenal beat Burnley 2-1 to reach the 5th Round of the FA Cup.

The cup holders were made to battle hard for the victory by the Championship high-flyers, but Sanchez starting his first match for two months settled the tie.

He converted Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross early in the second half, after Sam Vokes had cancelled out Calum Chambers’ opener for the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.

Arsenal started brightly, with Chamberlain and Alex Iwobi looking threatening, but the Gunners were unable to create any clear-cut openings

The best of the early opportunities fell to Burnley striker Andre Gray, who controlled a knockdown from Vokes who out-jumped Gabriel, swivelled and volleyed just wide and high of the net.

Gray could well have given his side the lead in the 10th minute as he brushed past Laurent Koscielny but his shot was blocked by David Ospina.

It was the Gunners though who took the lead through the unlikeliest of scorers in Chambers in the 15th minute.

Iwobi and Sanchez combined to find him just inside the box and he hit the ball past Clarets’ keeper Tom Heaton with the outside of his foot.

Sanchez went close to doubling Arsenal’s lead soon afterwards, but his effort was blocked byMichael Keane

Burnley though hit back to equalise on the half-hour mark.

The Gunners defence failed to clear Scott Arfield’s cross away and the ball was played wide to Tendayi Darikwa .

His cross was met by Vokes, who out-jumped two Arsenal defenders to send powerful, well-directed header, header past Ospina.

Arsenal threatened to re-take the lead before half time, with Oxlade-Chamberlain forcing a save from Heaton.

But the teams went into the break level.

Arfield almost gave Burnley start to the second period, with Ospina gathering shot at the second attempt.

Alexis Sanchez delivered the decisive moment of the match in the 53rd minute.

Arsenal turned defence into attack in a lightning counter-attack that opened up the Burnley defence.

Iwobi’s pass picked out Oxlade-Chamberlain in space on the right flank and his cross was met by Sanchez who shot first time into the net.

Mohamed Elneny, who made an impressive debut, could have celebrated his debut with a goal but his powerful shot went straight into the hands of Heaton.

Tomas Rosicky made a short cameo substitute appearance for his first action of an injury hit season

Burnley pressed for an equaliser and looked threatening from set-pieces.

Skipper for the day Laurent Koscielny’s had to make a timely interception in the penalty area to deny Vokes a second equaliser.

At the other end, Elneny sent another shot whistling narrowly wide, while Heaton foiled substitute Theo Walcott in added time.

So Arsenal now await their fate in the 5th Round draw as they seek a hat-trick of FA Cup wins.

Arsenal: Ospina 6; Chambers 7, Gabriel 6, Koscielny 6, Gibbs 6; Elneny 7, Coquelin 7 (Arteta 71); Oxlade-Chamberlain 6, Iwobi 7 (Rosicky 71), Sanchez 8 (Walcott 78); Giroud 6.