Arsenal moved in to the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon as they defeated Burnley 2-1 at the Emirates to keep their FA Cup hattrick dreams alive.
The boss made a host of changes to his starting lineup, handing a debut to Mohamed Elneny, and starts to David Ospina, Francis Coquelin, Alex Iwobi, Kieran Gibbs, Gabriel, Calum Chambers and Alexis.
There were just five minutes on the clock when Arsenal had an effort cleared off the line and in the next play Alexis went close as he drove his shot wide of the keeper’s righthand post.
Arsenal were looking bright despite all the changes.
Ospina was called into action twice in succession, not long after, however; first pulling off a save after Kos had slipped and then having to be sharp to pounce on the ball immediately after. There were barely 10 minutes on the clock and it was clear that Arsenal weren’t going to get it all their own way, despite dominating the possession.
The goal, when it came with just 19 on the clock, started with the goalkeeper and finished with an outside-of-the-foot curling finish from Calum Chambers after some excellent play on the edge of the Burnley box from Alexis and Iwobi, the former laying off the deftest of passes for Chambers to sweep home. There were 17 passes in all.
It was Chambers’ second Arsenal goal, the first also coming against the Clarets.
Of course, at this point it seemed like it was all going a bit too well so Arsenal thought a little bit of penalty box pinball and leaving Sam Vokes unmarked to head home would just keep things interesting. Somehow, it was 1-1.
The defending before that goal might be the most Arsenal defending I’ve ever seen.
— Arse2Mouse (@arse2mouse) January 30, 2016
— Gurjit (@GurjitAFC) January 30, 2016
What should have been a relaxing halftime suddenly became a little more tense.
The second half started with no-one able to watch as all FA Cup streams were lost by TV companies across the globe.
The feed did return, thankfully, just in time to see Alexis Sanchez slam the ball home to give Arsenal the lead after Iwobi drove through the middle and picked out the Ox who found Al in the middle of the box. This was almost immediately followed by a third from Kos just a few yards out, but Burnley managed to clear it off the line.
— Arsenal Mania (@arsenalmania) January 30, 2016
Arsenal dominated the remainder of the match and were even able to give Tomas Rosicky his first run out of the season (and first appearance in 255 days) as he joined the growing list of returning players but they were unable to add to the scoreline despite some flowing moves and coming close a few times.
In all, it was a very confident display from Arsenal, especially from the players who have been reserved for bit part roles this season. Sure, there was a momentary defensive wobble but with 23 of their 25-man squad fit, Arsenal really do have a squad that can win the double this season.
Best work on that defending, though, just to be sure.