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Gunners K.O. old foes Spurs

Written By: Robert Halter

The third round of the F.A. Cup pitted local rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in a tie at the Emirates Stadium beginning of January and on eight minutes, Spurs tried to seize on a lap of concentration between Laurent Koscielny and Bacary Sagna but after stealing a march on goal, Christian Eriksen could only put his effort into the left outside netting. But the Gunners responded on eleven minutes as Serge Gnabry ran through the centre of the pitch to create space for Theo Walcott, who produced a telling low drive that Hugo Lloris at full stretch turned away from his near post. Arsenal continued their assault on the Spurs goal in just under the quarter of the hour mark, as Tomas Rosicky set up Walcott but his bending strike deflected off Vlad Chiriches. From Walcott’s corner, Michael Dawson’s header out was put back in by Rosicky and then Thomas Vermaelen before Gnabry curled the ball over the top from inside the box. In the nineteenth minute, after a foul by Vermaelen on Mousa Dembele, the Lilywhites were unable to convert a free kick, as Eriksen’s direct strike drifted over. But a minute later, the Gunners responded as from a touch by Rosicky, a curling effort from Santi Cazorla, struck the outside of the right stanchion. In the twenty sixth minute, Walcott spurned the best chance of the first half as with just Lloris to beat, he struck the ball against his legs, after Gnabry and Cazorla had exploited a gap in the Spurs defence. New Tottenham head coach, Tim Sherwood looked animated on the touchline in contrast to a composed Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger. But the North London derby was set alight on thirty two minutes as Sagna droved forward before Gnabry spread the ball out to Cazorla on the left side of the area and with a measured finish, Cazorla smashed a low drive into the right side of the net. A half cleared header by Danny Rose from a Cazorla corner gave Walcott the chance to stretch the lead with five minutes of normal time remaining before the break but Walcott was unable to keep his strike down. It wasn’t until the end of the half that Tottenham threatened again as Aaron Lennon found space on the right but Roberto Soldado struck his low shot wide of the left post. Vermaelen was replaced by Per Mertesacker at the start of the second half. On the hour mark, the outside of the right side netting was found by Walcott as he looked to settle the contest, after Gnabry had combined with Jack Wilshere. However, it was a fatal mistake by Rose in the centre circle that turned the game on its head, as Rose was caught in possession from a Soldado pass and Rosicky raced clean through before chipping the ball over Lloris to give the Gunners daylight in the sixty second minute. A Spurs change was in order as Soldado made way for Nacer Chadli. In a second Arsenal change, Wilshere went off for Mathieu Flamini, before Mesut Ozil appeared in favour of Mikel Arteta. On seventy six minutes, Walcott was close to adding a third but curled his shot away from the right post after Chiriches had lost the ball out to Gnabry. But Walcott’s day came to a disappointing end as he was stretchered off in the last ten minutes, following a nasty collision into Rose. At the close of play, Lloris was at full stretch to turn away a low drive by Ozil, after Gnabry had found Ozil in the area. It was fitting that Emmanuel Adebayor had the final touch of the game for the Lilywhites, as his former Gunners got the better of Spurs to progress through to the next stage of  the competition.