Goals from Calum Chambers and Alexis Sanchez proved enough to see Arsene Wenger’s side past the Championship high-fliers and into Sunday’s draw for the fifth round.
Arsenal 2-1 Burnley
The Emirates FA Cup
Fourth Round Proper
Saturday 30 January 2016
Emirates Stadium, Arsenal
Winners receive £90,000 from prize fund
They were made to work for their victory however, with Sam Vokes equalising Chambers’ opener with a fine header to unsettle the Gunners for a short spell, but the hosts' territorial domination and control of the ball ultimately told.
And in Sanchez, Arsenal had comfortably the best player on the pitch.
He was at the heart of all their best play, providing the assist for the opener and scoring their winner as well as being the attacking heartbeat of Wenger’s team.
With the Gunners targeting a third successive FA Cup title and remaining in pursuit of a Premier League challenge, it was an undoubted boost for Wenger to see the Chilean back in action after injury had kept him sidelined since late November.
But it was Burnley who had the first real chance of the game when Andre Gray nipped in ahead of Laurent Koscielny to take the ball into the box. He had time to line-up an angled shot but David Ospina was out quickly to make a smart save.
That block proved crucial too, as Arsenal responded and when Kieran Gibbs’ cross from the left was scrambled out as far as Chambers, the right-back’s shot was bravely blocked.
The England Under-21s defender did not have to wait too much longer though, as he stroked Arsenal ahead in the 19th minute by curling home a shot with the outside of his right foot after Alex Iwobi and Alexis had combined on the edge of the box to set him up.
Chambers must wish he could play Burnley every week, as it was his second goal for Arsenal having netted his first against the Clarets in their Premier League clash last season.
But Burnley remained resilient in the face of Arsenal’s possession and probing, and they were rewarded with an equaliser in the 30th minute.
After the hosts had only half-cleared David Jones’ corner, George Boyd kept the move alive and slipped a pass to Scott Arfield, who in turn picked out Tendayi Darikwa on the right.
And his floated cross was perfect for Vokes, who powered a header past Ospina to bring the Clarets level after losing the attentions of Gabriel.
It was Burnley who started the second half on top too, with Arfield forcing an early save from Ospina after racing clear of Koscielny onto Jones’ through ball.
Arsenal’s quality eventually shone through though and if one player on the pitch was going to make the difference, it was always going to be Alexis.
A flowing move saw Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain race through on the right before cutting the ball back, straight into the path of their talisman who arrived with perfect timing to smash the ball past Tom Heaton into the roof of the net.
It then took a stunning save from Heaton to prevent him from scoring a third, as he pawed away a free-kick which looked bound for the top corner following an earlier foul on the former Barcelona man.
The damage had been already been done by then though and despite a late effort from Burnley sub Michael Kightly flying high over the bar, a mis-hit shot wide from Gray and another fine stop from Heaton to deny sub Theo Walcott, Arsenal were happy to settle for their scoreline and progress to the last 16.
Arsenal (4-4-1-1): 13 David Ospina; 21 Calum Chambers, 5 Gabriel, 6 Lauren Koscielny, 3 Kieran Gibbs; 15 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 34 Francis Coquelin, 35 Mohamed Elneny; 17 Alexis Sanchez; 45 Alex Iwobi; 12 Olivier Giroud.
Substitutes: 7 Tomas Rosicky for Iwobi 73, 8 Mikel Arteta for Coquelin 73, 14 Theo Walcott for Sanchez 80
Substitutes not used: 33 Petr Cech, 18 Nacho Monreal, 24 Hector Bellerin, , 28 Joel Campbell.
Goals: Calum Chambers 19, Alexis Sanchez 53
Cautions: Laurent Koscielny 72
Burnley (4-4-2): 1 Tom Heaton (c ), 27 Tendayi Darikwa, 5 Michael Keane, 6 Ben Mee, 23 Stephen Ward; 21 George Boyd, 14 David Jones, 20 Fredrik Ulvestad, 37 Scott Arfield; 9 Sam Vokes, 7 Andre Gray.
Goals: Sam Vokes 30
Cautions: Scott Arfield 65
Substitutes: 13 Joey Barton for Jones 67, 18 Rouwen Hennings for Vokes 75, 11 Michael Kightly 79
Substitutes not used: 17 Paul Robinson, 4 Michael Duff, 15 Matthew Taylor, 2 Matthew Lowton,
Referee: Roger East
Emirates FA Cup highlights: Arsenal 2-1 Burnley