Arsenal overcame neighbours Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at the Emirates to book their place in the Fourth Round of The FA Cup with Budweiser.
Goals either side of half time from Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky were enough to ensure the 174th meeting between the north London rivals ended in the home side's favour.
However, the first opening of the game fell to the visitors as Christian Eriksen took the ball from Bacary Sagna on the edge of the box and headed towards Lukasz Fabianski’s goal.
Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham H
The FA Cup with Budweiser
Third Round proper
Saturday 4 January 2014
Emirates Stadium, Arsenal
The Dane fired straight at the Polish keeper from an increasingly tight angle. It would be Fabianski's only action of the afternoon.
Arsene Wenger had described The FA Cup as a special competition that he holds dear to his heart in his programme notes before the game. “It’s the start of a journey – the Third Round – it’s about getting on the train and staying on the train,” wrote the Frenchman. As the first half progressed it was clear his players shared his sentiment.
As the opening exchanges ran their course the Gunners took control and peppered the Spurs goal. It felt a matter of time before the deadlock would be broken.
The outstanding Cazorla came close with a right-foot effort from the edge of the box that flew just wide, but Arsenal continued to press.
Spurs did offer a threat, albeit fleeting, on the counter-attack. Aaron Lennon’s pace was test for Koscielny, and Adebayor – who four days ago left the Old Trafford pitch on a stretcher – looked like a man on a mission, chasing down every lost cause.
Despite their industry, the visitors were unable to prevent the inevitable.
Serge Gnabry, hugely impressive throughout the opening exchanges, cut inside from the right. It looked as though the young German’s touch might have taken the ball away from him, but the seemingly stray ball drew a tackle and allowed him to get faintest of touches to lay the ball perfectly into the path of the onrushing Cazorla
The Spaniard rifled the ball across Lloris and into the net. "One-nil to the Arsenal" was the chant, and it was richly deserved.
Taking charge of his first north London derby, new Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood had named a strong side – with only one change from the eleven that defeated Manchester United just four days ago.
The toils of that encounter seemed to have taken their toll on the Lilywhites – who even after going behind looked lethargic in possession and struggled to keep up with the energy and industry of Wenger’s men.
“I think we controlled both sides of the game very well – attack and defense - and we showed good discipline throughout.”
Arsene Wenger Arsenal manager
For Spurs it was a question of making it to the break without conceding again, and regrouping. As the second period began the visitors did appear to play with the belief that was lacking in the first.
Adebayor, booed on every touch by the fans that used to adore him, ran at Nacho Monreal, while Roberto Soldado found himself a yard in the box for the first time in the game. Although neither were able to challenge Fabianksi, who remained largely a spectator.
With 63 minutes on the clock, a mistake by Danny Rose allowed Rosicky to break through and effectively end the contest.
Under pressure from Kyle Walker the Czech Republic international was coolness personified as he drew Lloris out before confidently clipping the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper to make it 2-0 to Arsenal.
It was a lead the Gunners never looked like relinquishing and they were clearly enjoying themselves.
Mathieu Flamini replaced Wilshere, and record signing Mesut Özil came on for Mikel Arteta as Arsenal sought to inflict further misery on their exhausted guests.
Walcott and Özil both went close in the closing stages and Spurs were unable to generate any momentum or trouble Fabianski in the Arsenal goal.
As the clock ran down the game did end on a worrying note for England and Arsenal when Walcott appeared to jar his knee in the turf and the forward was taken off on a stretcher.
With the World Cup now just six months away – it was the only downer in an otherwise perfect evening for Arsenal, who sail into Sunday’s Fourth Round draw.
Fabianski, Sagna, Vermaelen (C) (Mertesacker, 45), Koscielny, Rosicky, Arteta (Özil 74), Wilshere (Flamini, 72) Walcott, Monreal, Santi Cazorla, Gnabry.
Substitutes not used Podolski, Viviano, Jenkinson, Young Park
Goals Santi Cazorla (31), Tomas Rosicky (62)
Lloris, Walker, Rose, Chiriches, Lennon, Soldado (Chadli, 63) Adebayor, Dembele, Dawson (C), Eriksen, Bentaleb.
Substitutes not used Capoue, Friedel, Fryers, Kane, Fredericks, Obika.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Attendance: 59, 476