The FA Cup third round saw the two halves of North London do battle again with both sides coming into the game in good form. Arsenal have been nothing short of excellent so far this season and they are justifiably top of the league. Tottenham came into the game after their win at Old Trafford and wanted to build ont that with a win at the Emirates.
Tottenham started the first half bravely by eagerly attempting to attack from the off. This resulted in a battle of the midfields, with both sides looking to play similar passes through and around the opponents defence. Tottenham had the first opportunity to take the lead when Christian Eriksen fortunately broke into the box, but is near post shot was well saved by Łukasz Fabiański in goal.
Theo Walcott, who was selected as Arsenal’s lone striker because both Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner were unavailable for this game, tested Hugo Lloris a couple of times. Firstly from a well struck shot from distances forcing the Frenchman to his right after moving left and then with a deflected shot that went just wide.
Arsenal then started to control possession better in the final third with Tomáš Rosický, Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta controlling the flow of the game and creating a couple of good shooting chances. The best of which was Theo Walcott being played into the box, but his shot was straight at the goalkeeper.
Arsenal took the lead when youngest player on the pitch Serge Gnabry drifted inside with the ball from wide right to then play in Santi Cazorla, who furiously hit shot from the left side of the box into the far top corner. Tottenham did have a half decent chance when Roberto Soldado had a shot from the edge of the box fizz wide. However, the Gunners were worth their lead and continued to be sharper in possession for the rest of the half.
Second half continued much like the first with Arsenal continuing to demonstrate their superior ability in possession. Tottenham had very limited chances, with Roberto Soldado having a shot from the edge of the box go well wide. Emmanuel Adebayor failed to capitalise when here bought down Aaron Lennon’s cross inside the box. He completely missed the ball when he attempted his volley on the turn. A solid contact would have at least tested Łukasz Fabiański.
Theo Walcott continued to cause Spurs defence problems with his pace turning in behind, while Jack Wilshere started to find space to dribble into. However, Arsenal’s second goal was simply a gift from their opponents when Danny Rose was caught in possession as the only Spurs man on the half way line. Tomáš Rosický nabbed the ball off the young Englishman and managed to keep the ball from the pacey Kyle Walker. The Czech footballer then superbly chipped Hugo Lloris to put his side two ahead.
A controversial incident occurred when Theo Walcott was being stretchered off after an injury. As he was being carried past the away fans end, he sat up and signalled 2-0 with his hands to the Tottenham fans. This erupted the visitors into a rage, with stewards required to keep them in the stands. Some may see this as banter and response for abuse Theo Walcott may have received during the game, but it has similarities to Emmanuel Adebayor’s Manchester City incident when he sprinted the length of the pitch to celebrate in-front of Arsenal fans after scoring against his former side.
Back to the game. Tottenham lacked any imagination, creativity or desire to get back into the game and Arsenal looked comfortable throughout. Apart from a tame shot from distance by Mousa Dembélé, Tottenham never tested Arsenal’s goal again. At the other end Mesut Özil did force a qaulity save from Hugo Lloris when he shot from the left side of the box across goal.
Arsène Wenger’s side continue their brilliant form from last year and look unstoppable in all competitions, no one will want them in the next round. Tottenham on the other hand will want to get back to winning ways as soon as possible.