Arsenal overcome plucky Lincoln City to reach FA Cup semi-finals
Arsenal beat National League Lincoln City 5-0 in their FA Cup Quarter-Final tie at the Emirates Stadium this evening.
The win sends the Gunners through to the last four of the competition.
They are joined there by Manchester City who won 2-0 at Middlesbrough this afternoon.
The last two places will be taken by either Tottenham Hotspur or Millwall, who meet at White Hart Lane tomorrow afternoon. And either Chelsea or Manchester United, who meet at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.
For non-league Lincoln they can look back on a wonderful FA Cup run. During which they accounted for Premier League Burnley and Championship duo Brighton & Hove Albion and Ipswich Town.
The Imps can now concentrate on winning promotion back to the football league and a two-legged FA Trophy tie with York City.
Lincoln, backed magnificently by 9,000 fan, gave as good as they got first half against a near full strength Arsenal side.
The closest Arsenal went to scoring was from a Theo Walcott shot that keeper Paul Farman pushed onto the post.
At the other Lincoln could have taken the lead but Petr Cech saved Nathan Arnold’s curling effort.
It took Arsenal until the stroke of half-time to make the breakthrough through Theo Walcott.
It was Walcott’s fifth goal in this seasons FA Cup. He has now scored 17 goals in all competitions this season; only in 2012/13 has he scored more for the Gunners (21).
It was cruel on Lincoln who on the balance of play deserved to go into the break on level terms.
Arsenal though started the second half with much greater intensity.
It paid dividends in the 53rd minute after the Lincoln defence was opened up down their left flank, with Olivier Giroud converting Hector Bellerin’s cross.
Giroud has now scored four goals in total in his last four FA Cup starts.
The Gunners third goal came in the 58th minute from another incisive attack this time down Arsenal’s left flank, with Kieran Gibbs cross unluckily turned into his own net by the Imps skipper Luke Waterfall.
Alexis Sanchez then scored the goal of the match in the 72nd minute. After a sol run the Chilean curled the ball into the net beyond Farman.
Aaron Ramsey completed the scoring in the 78th minute, when he was able to walk the ball into the net after more trickery and a cross from Sanchez.
Sanchez has had a hand in 35 goals this season (21 goals, 14 assists), more than any other Premier League player in all competitions.
Speaking after the match here is what the managers said.
Arsene Wenger: “There was always a level of anxiety because these boys are unpredictable. They knocked out Burnley, Ipswich and Brighton, so we have to respect them.
“It was all us in the second half but you have to congratulate Lincoln for what they have achieved in the FA Cup.
“We have been short of confidence after some disappointing results recently. When the confidence was there in the second half the quality came back.”
Danny Cowley: “I thought we did really well for the first 45 minutes. It is very hard to get negative against them because they have such world-class players. At 45 minutes I thought we had limited them in chances and we were hoping to get in 0-0 but they got the goal.
“Arsenal were frightening in the second half and for us it was a pleasure to see world-class players first hand. It felt like Arsene Wenger had brought 15 players on. If we can learn from this experience today and throughout this FA Cup journey we will be better players and better people.
“The best [in this run] was at the end, sharing a moment with our supporters. Our supporters were world-class. They were brilliant. We are winners and don’t like losing but when we can draw breath we will be proud.”
The match was Arsenal’s 300th competitive fixture at the Emirates Stadium and their 200th win in competitive games at the stadium.
But today was really Lincoln City’s day and they did themselves proud both on the pitch and with their magnificent support.
Arsenal will just be pleased to be into the ‘hat’ for Monday night’s semi-finals draw, as they go in search of a 13th FA Cup win.
Arsenal: Cech 6, Bellerin 7, Gibbs 6, Koscielny 7, Mustafi 6, Xhaka 6 (Coquelin), Ramsey 5, Oxlade-Chamberlain 5 (Ozil 8), Walcott 7, Sanchez 7, Giroud 6 (Perez)