Job done as Arsenal advance to FA Cup quarter-finals

Arsenal beat Sutton United 2-0 at Gander Green Lane tonight to advance to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

The Gunners will now face another National League side Lincoln City at the Emirates Stadium, with the winner advancing to a Wembley semi-final.

Arsene Wenger made seven changes to the team that started in the Champions League hammering in Munich last week.

Only David Ospina, Shkodran Mustafi, Granit Xhaka and Alex Iwobi kept their places.

Theo Walcott was captain for the night.

The first ten minutes of the match passed without much incident. The main talking point the bounce, and run, of the ball on Gander Green Lane 3G pitch.

It certainly wasn’t evident though who were the Premier League or National League team.

Mohamed Elneny had the first effort on goal after fifteen minutes, but fired high over the bar from the edge of the penalty area.

A minute later former Arsenal player Craig Eastmond went down in the penalty area. Replays showed that there was no contact from Nacho Monreal and referee Michael Oliver was right to wave away Eastmond’s appeals.

Granit Xhaka picked up his customary yellow card in the 23rd minute for pulling back Eastmond in the Sutton half.

Lucas Perez opened the scoring in the 26th minute. He cut in from the right onto his left foot and his low shot beat keeper Ross Worner. The keeper was distracted by a run across him by Theo Walcott and the ball went inside the far post.

Monreal had a chance to make it two, but a poor first touch allowed Worner and the Sutton defence to scramble the ball away.

Walcott then fired high over the crossbar as Arsenal looked for a second before half-time.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide was booked in the fortieth minute for a trip on Roarie Deacon. The resultant free-kick was cleared by the Arsenal defence.

At the other end Alex Iwobi had a shot deflected wide for a corner on 41 minutes.

Sutton had their best chance to score a minute before half-time.  David Ospina played the ball straight to Adam May, but he ran in on goal and sliced his left foot shot wide. It was a let-off for Ospina who was lucky not to be punished for a casual and sloppy piece of play.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Elneny at the start of the second half.

The Gunners had another wobble in the early minutes of the second half, with Rob Holding’s back pass going past Ospina and the Gunners lucky not to concede a comical own goal.

Bedsente Gomis then burst past Monreal, only to be crowded out by the Arsenal defence.

It was Arsenal though who doubled their lead on 54 minutes.

After a series of one-twos through the middle, Monreal crossed from the left for Walcott to steer the ball home at the back post. It was Walcott’s 1o0th Arsenal goal.

Deacon almost conjured a moment to get Sutton back into the match in the 60th minute. He beat Mustafi on the right, but his teasing cross was headed behind by Monreal for a corner.

From the resultant corner Jamie Collins headed over, with Ospina struggling under the flight of the ball.

The impressive Deacon then saw a thunderbolt effort rebound off the crossbar in the 65th minute, with Ospina beaten.

Oxlade-Chamberlain then broke impressively down the left, but his cross eluded Walcott. He was also denied by Worner in the 81st minute.

Substitute Alexis Sanchez then chipped over the bar.

At the other end Bradley Hudson-Odoi shot across goal from the left, but the ball was deflected wide for a corner.

So no shock, but a fantastic achievement by Sutton to reach this round of the FA Cup. They put up a spirited performance tonight and kept playing to the final whistle.

For Arsenal it’s now a home quarter-final with another National League side Lincoln City.

Arsenal: Ospina 5, Gabriel 7, Monreal 6, Mustafi 7, Holding 7, Elneny 5 (Oxlade-Chamberlain), Xhaka 6, Reine-Adelaide 6 (Maitland-Niles), Lucas 8, Iwobi 6 (Sanchez), Walcott 7

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