Arsenal head for Wembley after seeing off Everton to book FA Cup semi-final spot
PUBLISHED: 14:42 08 March 2014 | UPDATED: 18:46 08 March 2014
FA Cup quarter final: Arsenal 4 Everton 1
Arsenal are through to their first FA Cup semi-final in five years after scoring three second-half goals without reply to dispatch Everton.
The sides were locked at 1-1 until the final quarter of the game, with Romelu Lukaku cancelling out an early Mesut Ozil strike as the prospect of a Goodison Park replay loomed.
But Mikel Arteta’s penalty – at the second attempt – restored Arsenal’s advantage and substitute Olivier Giroud added a late double to seal their semi-final berth.
Everton looked the livelier of the two sides in the opening exchanges and it came somewhat against the run of play when the Gunners snatched the lead in the seventh minute.
A slip from James McCarthy created the gap for Santi Cazorla to advance from the halfway line and thread a measured pass to the left foot of Ozil, who struck a first-time finish into bottom corner.
Not surprisingly, Arsenal were visibly lifted by the goal and Yaya Sanogo and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both forced saves from Joel Robles in quick succession.
The goalkeeper seemed confused by a swirling cross from Bacary Sagna, clawing it onto his crossbar, while Kieran Gibbs also went close as he let fly with a drive that struck an Everton leg and flew behind.
But Arsenal were caught out on the counter-attack just after the half-hour mark when Ross Barkley galloped clear and crossed for Kevin Mirallas, who turned the ball back for Lukaku to bundle over the line.
There were chances for the both sides to take the lead before the break, with Robles again denying Oxlade-Chamberlain and Cazorla unlucky to see his volley hit Sylvain Distin.
At the other end, Mirallas got away from Mathieu Flamini but failed to trouble Lukasz Fabianski, while Oxlade-Chamberlain ceded possession to Lukaku – only to track back and atone for his error with a crucial tackle.
Everton squandered a golden opportunity to score again 10 minutes into the second half as Thomas Vermaelen got into a tangle by the touchline and presented the ball to Lukaku, who set up Barkley, but the youngster blazed over from close range.
For the Gunners, Cazorla cut inside and produced a curling effort that looked destined for the far corner until Robles pulled off a stunning fingertip save.
But the stalemate remained until midway through the second half, when Oxlade-Chamberlain motored down the right flank and was tripped by Gareth Barry as he entered the penalty area.
Arteta converted the kick, only for referee Mark Clattenburg to order a retake because of infringement by Giroud, but the ex-Everton midfielder kept his cool to slot home his second attempt as well.
The Toffees were by no means finished and Mirallas stung the palms of Fabianski, while Barry set up Barkley for a decent attempt that fizzed just wide of the far post.
But the home side made certain of their place at Wembley seven minutes from time as substitute Tomas Rosicky set Sagna free down the right and he crossed for Giroud to turn the ball past Robles.
Giroud added the icing to the cake just two minutes later as he collected Ozil’s pass and slotted home to make it 4-1 and send the Gunners through to the last four in style.
Arsenal: Fabianski; Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs (Jenkinson 87); Arteta, Flamini; Oxlade-Chamberlain (Rosicky 78), Ozil, Cazorla; Sanogo (Giroud 61).