LONDON: Mesut Ozil celebrated his first start since October 5 – and a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea – by scoring Arsenal’s second goal in the their 3-2 FA Cup win at second division Brighton.
Theo Walcott struck in the second minute and Ozil in the 24th as he converted, left-footed, a through pass from Tomas Rosicky.
The veteran Czech also scored a fine goal of his own but then Arsenal forgot the lessons from all the previous day’s games.
Sam Baldock pulled it back to 3-2 so Gunners manager Arsene Wenger had to replace the tiring Ozil with Francis Coquelin to raise the midfield workrate.
They survived a late penalty appeal for hands against Callum Chambers to become the only club in the top six certain of a place in the fifth round.
Per Mertesacker was rested on the substitutes’ bench along with Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla. Mertesacker may soon have a new defensive partner. Arsenal are close to signing Brazilian central defender Gabriel Paulista from Spain’s Villarreal for £13m.