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24 May 2024

Arsenal outgun Spurs to advance in FA Cup

The injured Theo Walcott of Arsenal makes a 2-0 gesture to the Tottenham fans as he is stretchered off the pitch during the FA Cup third round match at Emirates Stadium on January 4, 2014 in London, England. (GETTY)


Arsenal overpowered north London rival Tottenham 2-0 to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday, a significant scalp in the quest to end a nine-year trophy drought.

Santi Cazorla swept in Arsenal's opener in the 31st minute as Tottenham was run ragged at the home of it fiercest rival.

Arsenal's derby supremacy wasn't reflected in the scoreline, with Tomas Rosicky taking until the 62nd to score the second, charging forward from the halfway line after Tottenham gave the ball away before lifting it into the net.

"We played very collectively and tactically very well," Rosicky said. "We always have the quality to score goals."

Arsenal ended the game with 10 men after Theo Walcott was carried off on a stretcher with a knee injury in the final 10 minutes when all three substitutes had been used.

Walcott used his misfortune as a chance to taunt Tottenham fans, signalling 2-0 with his fingers as he was carried around the pitch, which Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said came in response to being hit by coins.

"It does not even look aggressive, it was smiley," Wenger said of the gesture.

The victory maintained Arsenal's bright start to 2014, a year when Wenger will hope to produce the team's first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup.

The Gunners are also top of the Premier League they haven't won since 2004 and in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Tottenham, though, has only one realistic chance of ending the season with silverware in the second-tier Europa League.

In the three weeks since managerial novice Tim Sherwood replaced Andre Villas-Boas, Spurs have been knocked out of both domestic cup competitions.

But Sherwood has overseen a Premier League revival, collecting 10 out of a possible 12 points as Tottenham has climbed to within two points of the top four into sixth place.

Looking to maintain that momentum, Sherwood made only one change from the side that won at Manchester United on Wednesday, with 19-year-old midfielder Nabil Bentaleb making his first Tottenham start.

Wenger, though, had the luxury of making five switches from the side that beat Cardiff 2-0 on New Year's Day and Arsenal still was in the ascendancy throughout.

"We had good discipline and were tight at the back," Wenger said. "With quick, sharp passing we looked dangerous."

The pressure was unrelenting with Walcott at his most menacing, forcing Hugo Lloris into a low diving save, seeing a curling shot deflect off Vlad Chiriches, and another blocked by the goalkeeper's legs.

Though Sherwood insisted his team was not over-run by Arsenal, Tottenham was sliced apart for the opener in the 31st.

Serge Gnabry cut in from the right and released the ball to Cazorla, who drove it in low past Lloris.

A second goal seemed inevitable, but it didn't come in the first half with Walcott volleying over with the closest chance before the break.

Tottenham's best chance to level was squandered 10 minutes into the second half, as former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who was jeered throughout, struggled to make a clean connection with Aaron Lennon's cross.

Soon, though, Tottenham was too easily breached again.

Danny Rose, dithering on the halfway line, gave away the ball, Rosicky seized the ball, raced to the penalty area and chipped Lloris.

As Tottenham's back-line continued to crumble, Walcott was unfortunate not to score, curling a low shot wide before being forced off when he was having a great impact leading the attack.

"He had a fighting attitude," Wenger said.