A prolific second-half display decided what had been a thrilling FA Cup quarter-final in Arsenal’s favour on Saturday.
The Gunners were 4-1 winners on a day which saw them clinch a return to Wembley for a semi-final clash next month. But their route to Wembley was not a walk in the park by any means thanks to a testing challenge from Everton.
Mesut Ozil literally passed the ball into the net to cap a fluid Arsenal move spearheaded by Santi Cazorla as the hosts went 1-0 up within seven minutes after kick-off.
As early as that goal had come, it had not even been the first sight at goal this match had produced. This was an end-to-end affair with Arsenal coming out with all guns blazing while Everton had the Gunners scared on every counter-attack.
Wenger’s men had decent chances to double their lead as Sanogo and Oxlade-Chamberlain forced saves from the goalkeeper. But on 32 minutes, the visitors were level. Barkley profited from an Arsenal giveaway to turn on a swift counter-attack which ended up with Lukaku tapping the ball home after Fabianksi had fumbled Mirallas’ shot.
It was 1-1 at the break and more unpredictable action continued in the second-half. But Arsenal seized their moment when Oxlade-Chamberlain was fouled by Barry with just over half an hour left.
Arteta was then forced to take the penalty-kick twice after substitute Giroud had interrupted play during the taking of the first kick according to the referee. But nerves did not matter to Arteta who found the net again on the second time of asking to make it 2-1.
From then on, it was all about the reaction from Roberto Martinez’s men and in truth, it was a stern one. But Arsenal weathered the blue storm from the away side and two goals in two minutes from Grioud after some fine assists from Sagna and then Ozil made a bright day even brighter.