Arsenal became the first team to seal a place at Wembley in The FA Cup Semi-Finals, when they knocked out Everton at the Emirates Stadium in Saturday’s only Sixth Round tie.
An early opening goal from Mesut Ozil, the German’s first since December, set Arsene Wenger’s side on their way only for Everton to hit back through Romelu Lukaku before the break.
But a twice-taken penalty from Mikel Arteta against his former club and a late double from sub Olivier Giroud secured what was an ultimately comfortable passage through.
Arsenal 4-1 Everton
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The scoreline was a shade harsh on Everton, who had their moments and will reflect on a number of missed opportunities at crucial points in the game, but Arsenal’s second-half show means they are back in the final four of The Cup for the first time since 2009.
And with no FA Cup title since 2005, their last trophy, Wenger’s side will be looking to register their name back on the honours list of this famous competition.
It was a frantic start to the game and Arsenal struck first, when Santi Cazorla slid a perfect pass forward for Ozil, who made no mistake by drilling a first time shot beyond Joel Robles.
And Robles had to make two good saves to keep his side in it, first by beating away Yaya Sanogo’s shot from the angle and then electing to punch Thomas Vermaelen’s drive to safety.
Everton had a good chance to draw level when Kevin Mirallas did well to cut back Sylvain’s Distin’s lofted pass into the area but Steven Pienaar mis-hit his shot wide of the post.
Robles was let off the hook in the 24th minute, when Bacary Sagna’s cross caught out the Spaniard. It looked to be drifting over and out, but the Everton stopper lost his bearings and turned it back onto the bar before Seamus Coleman cleared the danger.
The visitors always looked dangerous on the break though and that was how they got themselves level just after the half-hour mark.
It was Ross Barkley who led the charge on the right, beating Kieran Gibbs before crossing to the far post for Mirallas. He really should’ve scored from close range, but his off-cue effort picked out his Belgian compatriot Lukaku, who made no mistake from a yard.
That set things up perfectly for the second half and, much like their start to the game, Arsenal were on the attack instantly as Robles was forced into an early save from Vermaelen’s bouncing shot.
But they were nearly caught out when Lukaku robbed Vermaelen on the touchline before setting up Barkley for a shot. The England man looked odds-on to score, but smashed his shot over the bar from inside the box.
And that miss proved to be costly as Arsenal re-took the lead with just over 20 minutes remaining, when Gareth Barry tripped Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the box.
Arteta stepped up and slotted past Robles, but after interference in the area, a retake was ordered by ref Mark Clattenburg.
That didn’t concern Arteta though, as he simply picked the other corner at the second attempt to put one foot in the Semi-Final for the Gunners.
And that goal led to some sparkling play from Arsenal in the dying stages, with Sagna’s cross picking out Giroud for a simple finish with just less than ten minutes remaining.
The Frenchman’s second was even better as a sweeping move from Arsenal saw two passes from the right between Tomas Rosicky and Ozil separate the Everton defence, before Giroud was left to slot home past the exposed Robles.
Arsenal will now be hoping to recapture some of that form at Wembley next month, as they begin to focus on the very real prospect of The FA Cup.
Arsenal (1-4-5-1): 21 Lukasz Fabianski; 3 Bacary Sagna, 4 Per Mertesacker, 5 Thomas Vermaelen (c), 28 Kieran Gibbs; 8 Mikel Arteta, 11 Mesut Ozil, 15, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 19 Santi Cazorla, 20 Mathieu Flamini; 22 Yaya Sonogo.
Substitutes: 12 Olivier Giroud for Sanogo, 63. 7 Tomas Rosicky for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 78. 25 Carl Jenkinson for Gibbs, 88.
Substitutes not used: 9 Lukas Podolski, 3 Emiliano Viviano, 31 Ryo Miyaichi, 44 Serge Knabry.
Manager: Arsene Wenger.
Goals: Mesut Ozil (7), Mikel Arteta (68), Olivier Giroud (83 & 85)
Everton (1-4-3-3): 1 Joel Robles; 23 Seamus Coleman, 26 John Stones, 15 Sylvain Distin, 3 Leighton Baines (c); 16 James McCarthy, 18 Gareth Barry, 20 Ross Barkley,; 11 Kevin Mirallas, 17 Romelu Lukaku, 22 Steven Pienar.
Substitutes: 21 Leon Osman for Pienaar, 76. 7 Aiden McGeady for Mirallas, 77. 10 Gerard Deulofeu for Barkley, 84).
Substitutes not used: 2 Tony Hibbert, 14 Steven Naismith, 24 Tim Howard, 36 Tyias Browning.
Manager: Roberto Martinez.
Goals: Romelu Lukaku (33).
Referee: Mark Clattenburg.
Assistant referees: Gary Beswick & Simon Beck.
Fourth official: Phil Dowd.