By Walter Broeckx
A lot of changes as could be expected for the FA cup match against Sutton.
Ospina kept his place in goal and Gabriel, Holding and Monreal came in next to Mustafi. In midfield we had the pairing of Elneny and Xhaka.
Up front in the attacking positions we had Lucas, Reine-Adelaide and Iwobi with Walcott up front.
On the beach we had Martinez as the goalkeeper and then the expierenced legs and heads of Debuchy and Mertesacker. Also on the beach The Ox and Alexis next to Maitland-Niles and Gibbs.
Starting team: Ospina, Gabriel, Mustafi, Holding, Monreal, Elney, Xhaka, Lucas, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Walcott.
On the beach: Martinez, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Maitland-Niles, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis.
Arsenal monopolising the ball in the opening 5 minutes but apart from Walcott being offside no goal mouth action. The most interesing part in the first 11 minutes is a spectator on the pitch. Reine-Adelaide with a good combination with Iwobi but he couldn’t find a teammate with his cross and Elneny fired the rebound over. 0-0 after 15 minutes.
Sutton throw a few crosses every now and then but nothing dangerous. Xhaka goes in the book for a pull deep in the Sutton half. That is really a soft one. Xhaka launches the ball to Lucas on the right flank he cuts inside he fires a low shot/cross in towards the goal and Walcott makes a dummy that beats the keeper. GOAL!!!! 0-1 to the Arsenal after 27 minutes, goal from Lucas.
Monreal is played in space on the left flank but the keeper with a fine stop and then Reine-Adelaide complete misses the ball when Iwobi won it back. Walcott then with a run and a hard shot but over the goal. Still 0-1 after 30 minutes.
Elneny goes down a minute later with what looks like a calf injury. Collins goes in with a two footed tackle that would see Xhaka being sent off, but no foul called. Iwobi limping as a result. Elneny could carry on. Sutton trying to keep the score down and with all 11 players around their own penalty area most of the time. Adelaide a bit too sloppy on the ball and then losing it and has to pull a Sutton player and is booked. Arsenal counter with Walcott after the free kick is cleared but can’t get past the last man and then Iwobi shoots but the ball is deflected. Ospina has to pick up a long ball before a Sutton player can become dangerous but the keeper always in control. Walcott chopped down from behind. No card…. Ospina then gives the ball away to a Sutton player but lucky they can’t take advantage. Please let us not make silly mistakes at the back. Arsenal go in at half time with a 0-1 lead after 45 minutes.
The Ox started in the second half and Elneny came off probably due to his injury. Sutton trying to play a few long balls over the top forcing Holding to play it high back but Ospina in control of the ball. Arsenal struggling a bit to find the rhythm again in the opening minutes. The Ox with a few attempts to what would have been great passes but just couldn’t find the right length and angle. Gomis winning the ball for Sutton but a good block from The Ox and Holding to prevent a real dangerous situation. Arsenal startto press after some 7-8 minutes and a good attack over lots of stations find Monreal on the left and his low cross finds Walcott who fires it over the line. GOAL!!!! 0-2 to The Arsenal after 56 minutes. Goal number 100 for Theo who is today’s captain. Well done!
Sutton with a shooting chance but the low shot is comfortably saved by Ospina. Lucas almost on the end of a back pass but the keeper is first on the ball. The Ox first brilliantly winning the ball, then losing it and Sutton can counter but Monreal saves with a defending header. Ospina being blocked on the corner and Sutton head the corner over. That was a foul on the keeper ref. Arsenal still 0-2 in front after 60 minutes.
Lucas away but his low cross is cleared in front of Walcott. Lucas seconds later with a shot from distance but wide. Deacon then with a cracking shot that comes off the crossbar. That was unlucky for Sutton. The Ox with a brilliant run from in his own half but his cross just was out of reach for Walcott. A pulling foul on The Ox like Xhaka got booked for…. no card given. After 72 minutes Alexis and Maitland-Niles come on and Reine-Adelaide and Iwobi go off. Sutton with a long throw in but Arsenal can clear. Still 0-2 after 75 minutes.
The Ox losing the ball but Holding comes to his rescue. Alexis and then Walcott wanting to force things on their own a bit too much instead of playing it to a teammate. The Ox with a good low shot but saved by the keeper. Then Alexis tries to lob the keeper but his effort goes just over. Meanwhile the Sutton reserve goalkeeper enjoying a pie. Collins pushing Alexis when the latter tried to take a quick free kick but yellow cards are only for Arsenal players today I think.
Odoi with a shot but Mustafi with the block. The Ox trying to set up Alexis but the ball again slipping away like it happened a few times this evening. Arsenal not really looking to risk anything to score more goals in the last 15 minutes and just being happy to play the game out.
Arsenal win 0-2 and go to the quarter finals where Lincoln will come to the Emirates somewhere halfway March.