Arsenal, the winners of the English FA Cup for the past two years are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup after a difficult game against Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium. A slightly weakened Arsenal team took their moments to strike, sealing the tie with second-half goals from Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud, both created by right back Héctor Bellerín who had a good game for the gunners.
19 year old Nigerian, Alex Iwobi, made a promising first start in the competition, earning praise from his manager for the timing of his passes and his willingness, to run with the ball.
Arsenal’s attempt to become the first team since Blackburn Rovers 130 years ago to win the Cup three times in a row remains on course.
Sunderland’s manager Sam Allardyce’s starting XI had seven changes, including 21-year-old Jordan Pickford who made a fine club debut in goal. His relatively strong team, with Jermain Defoe and Yann M’Vila the most obvious absentees went ahead in the game through Jermaine Lens and played with energy throughout, despite their opponents’ equalizer.
With 25 minutes to go Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey came on to give Arsenal the lead through the right as Bellerín frolicked in behind Patrick van Aanholt and produced the perfect cutback for Ramsey to angle the ball delicately from close range past Pickford. With 14 minutes to go the same route to goal sealed the game, Bellerín again cutting in with great poise and finding Giroud in the middle to side foot the ball home.
The game increasingly seemed out of Sunderland’s reach and they will now focus on staying up in the premier league as they travel away to Swansea on Wednesday and prepare to play a further two away premier league games in the space of seven days.