LONDON: Alexis Sanchez scored on his return to the Emirates Stadium as Manchester United saw off Arsenal to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup and extend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s winning start.
The two most successful sides in the competition’s history played out an entertaining Friday night game as United secured a 3-1 win an an eighth straight victory for interim manger Solskjaer.
Sanchez and Jesse Lingard had set the visitors on course for victory before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulled a goal back for the Gunners, only for substitute Anthony Martial to wrap up a comfortable win with a late strike.
Solskjaer retained his perfect record in charge of the Red Devils after making five changes for the cup tie – including starts for fit-again Sanchez and striker Romelu Lukaku.
Meanwhile the defeat could have further-reaching consequences for Arsenal, who lost central defensive pair Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Laurent Koscielny to injuries as Mesut Ozil came off the bench for his first appearance since Boxing Day.
United have won six matches in all competitions at the Emirates – more than any other visiting side has managed since Arsenal moved there at the start of the 2006-07 campaign.
In the night’s other tie Niclas Eliasson’s brilliant first-half goal proved the winner in a stirring FA Cup fourth-round tie as Bristol City edged out Bolton 2-1 at Ashton Gate.
The visitors took a sixth-minute lead when defender Mark Beevers was given the freedom of City’s penalty area to shoot home unmarked with a sweet right-footed half-volley from a Luca Connell cross.
But the advantage lasted less than two minutes. City winger Callum O’Dowda was allowed time to control a chip to the edge of the box on his chest before sending a low volley past the diving Remi Matthews.
Lee Johnson’s team went on to play some slick attacking football in the first half and took a deserved lead on the half hour just after Bolton’s Joe Pritchard and Craig Noone had seen shots blocked in a crowded box.
The break out of defence saw O’Dowda race forward and when the ball reached Eliasson, the Swede danced past two defenders before planting a sweet left-footed shot into the top corner from just inside the penalty area.