LONDON: No matter the competition, Arsenal keep on winning. They lead the Premier League, they are in the Champions League second round and now they have cruised comfortably into the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Beating north London neighbours Tottenham 2-0 did not even need the full-on contribution of their German contingent either.
Mesut Ozil was missing with a shoulder injury, Tomas Podolski was an unused substitute, Per Mertesacker played only the second half so it was left to Serg Gnabry to play a rare 90 minutes.
Gnabry not only played well but laid on the opening, first-half goal for Santi Cazorla. Tomas Rosicky scored the killing second goal midway through the second half. The margin could have been greater but Theo Walcott was twice foiled only by fine saves from Hugo Lloris.
The England winger also provoked the single controversial moment of the match. While being carried off on a stretch after an injury he made a ‘two-goal’ gesture to Tottenham fans – who responded with a hail of missiles which peppered not only Walcott by the medical attendants.
Walcott’s late injury reduced Arsenal to 10 men since manager Arsene Wenger had already made all three substitutions. Tottenham were unable to take advantage.
Such a clear defeat was a disappointment for new Spurs manager Tim Sherwood after the outstanding new year’s eve win at Manchester United on New Year’s Day. He also faced the taunts of Arsenal fans keen to remind him about his allegiance to the Gunners as a young fan.
Wenger said: “The game was played at a good pace and I think we controlled well both sides of it, the defensive and the offensive. We always looked to have good discipline and be tight at the back.
“Every time, when our game is based on movement and quick, sharp passing, we looked dangerous.”
Arsenal have not lost in the third round of the FA Cup since 1996, a 1-0 defeat in a replay to Sheffield United.