Unlike Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs and Manchester City Arsenal reached the FA Cup fifth round but were forced to hang on for victory against a spirited Brighton side at the Amex Stadium. Both Theo Walcott & Mezut Ozil scored their first goals after coming back from injury, in Walcott’s case it being about a year. Walcott gave the Gunners the lead on 89 seconds when he converted Calum Chambers’ cross from the right. Mesut Ozil then made it 2-0 when he slotted in from inside the area. Tomas Rosicky volleyed home a sublime third after Chris O’Grady had reduced the deficit, before Sam Baldock’s effort set up an exciting finale. Arsene Wenger will fancy his side’s chances to defend their title with 10 Premier League sides out, including Chelsea and Manchester City.
Arsenal should have been comfortable by then, however, unlike Chelsea and Manchester City, they avoided the ignominy of going out to lower league opposition and will be strongly fancied to defend their title. As for the Seagulls, aside from the goals and some late pressure, their forays into the opposition area were few and far between with Baldock’s wayward strike from eight yards their only other clear chance. The Gunners left in-form attacking duo Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez out of the starting line-up, but replacements Walcott and Ozil justified their selection with two good displays. Once again it was the defense with Koscielny, Monreal & goalkeeper Sczechny in particular looking less than confident in dealing with the physical aspect of Brighton’s game. When Coquelin came on after Brighton scored their second, he seemed to calm things down a bit in midfield – see Wenger that is what’s been missing for us for a long time but you were too dumb to even see it. Yet almost every fan were screaming for a solid defensive midfielder.
Ozil, who himself has been hindered by injury and poor form, produced a competent display, scoring the second when he steered his shot past David Stockdale. Walcott seems to be on his way to 100% match fitness which is great news for us. Rosicky was brilliant though Giroud seemed lackluster. Things look positive.