Arsenal 2 Middlesbrough 0

FA Cup holders Arsenal produced an assured display to reach the quarter-finals and end Middlesbrough’s impressive run in the competition. Striker Olivier Giroud scored twice within two first-half minutes to wrap up the win for the Gunners, who in reality should have had another 2 or 3 more goals for the domination they showed. Gabriel Paulista makes Arsenal debut in a match that saw Giroud score his 9th & 10 goals this injury layoff marred season. Santi Cazorla split the away side’s defence with a through ball for Kieran Gibbs, who squared for Olivier Giroud to steer home the opener. Giroud added a second with a delightful volley at Boro’s near post after slack defending from a corner. Spanish striker Kike headed against the post late on but Boro created little.

Arsenal, who ended a nine-year trophy drought by winning the FA Cup last season, move into the draw for the last eight as one of five Premier League teams, with League One Preston hosting Manchester United on Monday evening. New Gunners signing Gabriel Paulista made his debut at centre-back but had little to do as the home side dominated. Albert Adomah’s shot, Middlesbrough’s first on target, was comfortably saved by Wojciech Szczesny in the 39th minute. Cazorla and Gibbs combined for the opener, setting up Giroud whose first-time strike with his left foot went under Meijas. Just two minutes later Giroud doubled his tally with a beautifully controlled volley at the near post after defender George Friend allowed the Frenchman to escape at Alexis Sanchez’s corner.

Middlesbrough managed to shore up their defence in the second half but they remained toothless in attack. Kike’s injury-time header was the only time they threatened to score. And they would have been more heavily beaten had it not been for goalie Mejias, who produced some fine saves.

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