Arsenal moved past Brighton and into the FA Cup fifth round draw with a 3-2 win at the AMEX on Sunday afternoon.
Lining up after Arsene Wenger made a number of changes, Arsenal were too strong for the Championship side and a goal from Theo Walcott just 89 seconds into the game set the tone.
Arsenal, playing with visibly-increased confidence on the back of their away win against Manchester City last weekend, hassled and pressed in a manner that you could have reasonably expected from the hosts.
Clearly impacted by the opening goal, when Mesut Ozil latched on to Tomas Rosicky’s reverse pass to make it 2-0, Arsenal’s total dominance was starting to show in the scoreline and Brighton could find nothing in their locker to match the Gunners.
In the second half, Brighton started slowly again but eventually made an effort to get closer to Arsenal in a bid to rescue the game.
Just five minutes into the second half they gave Arsenal a slight scare after some terrible decisions by both the officials (and offside and a foul in the build up) and the Arsenal defence, who reverted to type briefly, allowed Brighton to pull one back.
Tomas Rosicky slammed home a wonderful volley to restore Arsenal’s two-goal lead and it seemed that might have squashed any thoughts the Seagulls had of a comeback but the Arsenal defence, once again, had other ideas.
Parting with ease, the Brighton frontman was able to split the backline and as Wojciech Szczesny came rushing out the ball was simply lifted over him to make it 2-3. With just over ten minutes left on the clock, it was getting more than a little nervy for the Gunners who should have been long out of sight.
Arsenal became content to sit back and hit Brighton on the break, bringing on Alexis Sanchez, Chuba Akpom and Francis Coquelin and it was Sanchez who won the freekick on the edge of the Brighton box from which he almost put the game to bed, the wall flicking the ball onto the top of the bar.
He then tried again with another freekick in injury time, bringing a great save from the Brighton keeper.
In the end, however, despite Brighton pressure building as the game drew to a close, Arsenal held on and will be included in Monday’s draw.
Szczesny, Chambers, Koscielny, Monreal, Gibbs, Flamini, Walcott, Ramsey, Ozil, Rosicky, Giroud
Subs: Martinez, Mertesacker, Bellerin, Coquelin, Cazorla, Alexis, Akpom
Stockdale; Bruno, Greer, Dunk, Bennett; Holla, Ince; Calderon, Forster-Caskey, Baldock; O’Grady
Subs: Walton (GK), Hughes, Rea, Chicksen, Colunga, March, Mackail-Smith