Arsenal weather late south coast storm to see off Brighton

Sunday 25 Jan 2015
Tomas Rosicky scored a stunning goal for Arsenal

There was to be no repeat of Saturday’s FA Cup shocks at the Amex Stadium on Sunday, as holders Arsenal saw off a spirited Brighton & Hove Albion side by 3-2.

After seeing three of the Premier League’s top four sides dumped out of The Cup less than 24 hours before this game, Arsene Wenger’s men knew they had to be in much less charitable mood and showed their ruthless streak in the first half.

And despite a second-half comeback from the Seagulls, aided by some sloppy Arsenal defending, they always had just enough to keep their hosts at bay.

Brighton 2-3 Arsenal

FA Cup Fourth Round
Amex Stadium
Sunday 25 January 2015
Winners receive £90,000

Coincidentally, the Gunners’ previous visit to the Sussex coast came in the Third Round two years ago, when they needed a late goal from Theo Walcott to secure a 3-2 win.

That was Walcott’s last FA Cup goal and he picked up just where he left off by firing Arsenal into a second-minute lead to dent any early hopes Brighton may have had of setting the tone for an upset.

Chris Hughton’s side barely had a touch on the ball following Arsenal’s kick-off, with Calum Chambers picking out Walcott in the box after just 90 seconds.

Without a challenge in sight, the England man had plenty of time to control the ball before drilling a low shot into the bottom corner past an exposed David Stockdale.

Backed by a record-breaking sell-out crowd, Brighton rallied briefly without ever troubling Gunners’ goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and they were undone again in the 24th minute when Arsenal illustrated another fine piece of team-work.

This time the move came down the left as the impressive Tomas Rosicky played a slide-rule pass into Mesut Ozil, who span in an instant before delivering a crisp finish from 12 yards to put his side in further control.

Brighton’s first chance came in the 30th minute when the Gunners failed to clear Inigo Calderon’s hoisted pass into the box. 

The ball span out to Sam Baldock on the left-hand side of the area, but after controlling well to set himself up, his eventual shot flew high and wide of the target.

Jake Forster-Caskey then tried his luck with a fizzing long-ranger ten minutes before the break, although Szczesny remained untroubled as the England Under-21s midfielder’s effort flew over the bar.

No doubt reminded of a similar scenario at Stamford Bridge the previous day by Wenger, Arsenal emerged for the second half determined to tighten their grip on the game further.

But Hughton’s team-talk must have been the more effective, as within five minutes of the re-start Chris O’Grady was allowed to turn on the edge of the area and arrow a low shot into the bottom corner past a flat-footed Szczesny to give his team hope.

With the crowd re-invigorated by that goal, there were strong appeals for a penalty soon after when Calderon attempted to latch onto Forster-Caskey’s pass only to collide with Laurent Koscielny in the box. 

The FA Cup holders won at the Amex Stadium on Sunday, watch the highlights


But with the appeals on the pitch less vigorous than those from the stands, referee Michael Oliver remained unmoved.

And Rosicky soon restored order with a glorious goal just before the hour mark. The Gunners skipper won the ball on the edge of the area before a delightfully disguised flick found Olivier Giroud to his left. 

The Frenchman chipped the ball back into the centre, where the Czech playmaker made no mistake by smashing a low volley beyond Stockdale.

Brighton were not to be overawed again though, as the Arsenal defence were caught short with a diagonal ball into the area picking out Baldock and he dinked over Szczesny to set up a grandstand finish.

With Arsenal appearing rattled by the late rally, Albion chased an equaliser and the chance of a replay and they had another strong penalty shout ruled out when Chambers appeared to handle Adrian Colunga’s flick into the box.

But with substitute Alexis Sanchez now causing new problems for the Brighton defence, he clipped the bar with a dipping free-kick and then forced Stockdale into a good, late save with a similarly hit set-piece as Arsenal looked to find their two-goal cushion again.

But it was not needed in the end, as Wenger’s men held out to take their place in Monday’s Fifth Round Proper draw.

Brighton & Hove Albion (4-5-1): 13 David Stockdale; 2 Bruno Saltor, 3 Gordon Greer, 5 Lewis Dunk, 30 Joe Bennett; 22 Danny Holla, 24 Rohan Ince, 14 Inigo Calderon, 18 Jake Forster-Caskey, Sam Baldock; 11 Chris O’Grady.

Substitutes: 27 Solly March for Saltor 63.

Subs not used: 31 Christian Walton, 4 Aaron Hughes, 7 Adrian Colunga, 12 Craig Mackail-Smith, 15 Adam Chiksen, 26 Glen Rea.

Bookings: Holla, Baldock, Dunk.

Goals: O’Grady 50, Baldock 75.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): 1 Wojciech Szczesny; 21 Calum Chambers, 5 Laurent Koscielny, 18 Nacho Monreal, 3 Kieran Gibbs; 20 Mathieu Flamini, 7 Tomas Rosicky; 14 Theo Walcott, 16 Aaron Ramsey, 11 Mesut Ozil; 12 Olivier Giroud.

Substitutes: 17 Alexis Sanchez for Walcott 70; 38 Chuba Akpom for Giroud; 34 Francis Coquelin for Ozil 80.

Subs not used: 26 Emiliano Martinez, 4 Per Mertesacker, 19 Santi Cazorla, 39 Hector Bellerin.

Goals: Walcott 2, Ozil 24, Rosicky 59.

Referee: Michael Oliver.

Attendance: 30,728.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels At the Amex Stadium