Arsenal squeak past plucky Donny into Carabao Cup 4th Round
Arsenal beat plucky Doncaster Rovers 1-0 in the 3rd round of the Carabao Cup at the Emirates Stadium tonight.
Arsene Wenger made 11 changes to the Gunners starting line-up that faced Chelsea on Sunday.
There were starts for Calum Chambers, Jack Wilshere and Reiss Nelson.
Doncaster started brightly and David Ospina had to make a save to deny Rodney Kongolo in the first minute.
At the other end Theo Walcott was set up by Mohamed Elneny, but Donny keeper Ian Lawlor saved low down to his right.
Next Olivier Giroud was denied his 100th Arsenal goal when his bicycle kick effort came back off the crossbar. He had been played in by a clever through ball by Wilshere.
Lawlor then got down low to his right to save Alexis Sanchez’s free kick in the 9th minute.
Arsenal continued to press for the opening goal, with Elneny crossing for Giroud who headed over in the 20th minute.
The breakthrough for the Gunners finally came in the 25th minute, with Walcott neatly finishing after a pin-point pass through from Sanchez.
Giroud then had a couple of chances to double the lead, but first fired over and was then denied by Lawlor.
Rovers nearly snatched a shock equaliser on the stroke of half-time.
Kongolo’s pass found Alfie May on the overlap but his shot found the side netting.
Arsenal made a change at the break, with Josh DaSilva replacing Chambers.
Walcott fired over the bar at the start of the half with only the keeper to beat.
Donny were still carrying a threat. Matty Blair got into the penalty area, his pullback found Tommy Rowe but he miscued his shot.
Lawlor has to be alert to tip an effort from Ainsley Maitland-Niles onto a post and wide.
Doncaster kept going and pressed for an equaliser to force extra time.
A Mandeville corner found Blair, whose looping header was tipped over the bar by Ospina.
Arsenal held on to advance to the 4th round of the competition.
The Gunners have only fallen at the third-round stage once in the last 14 seasons – a 2-1 loss against Southampton at the Emirates in September 2014.
The Gunners haven’t lost to lower-league opposition at home in the League Cup since November 1983 against Walsall, winning 25 of their last 28 contests, including the last seven in a row.
In contrast, Donny have now only won once in their last 20 League Cup away trips against teams from a higher division – a 2-1 win against Watford at Vicarage Road in August 2014.
Arsenal: Ospina, Nelson (Willock), Chambers (DaSilva), Mertesacker, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Wishere, Sanchez, Walcott (Iwobi), Giroud