Arsenal: Fabianski; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Arteta, Flamini; Chamberlain, Ozil, Podolski; Sanogo
Subs: Viviano, Sagna, Gibbs, Wilshere, Cazorla, Gnabry, Giroud
Arsenal ended a difficult week with a great 2-1 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup at the Emirates today.
Arsene Wenger made a number of changes from the midweek team, handing starts to Lukasz Fabianski, Carl Jenkinson, Nacho Monreal, Mathieu Flamini, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski and a first start for summer signing Yaya Sanogo who replaced the knackered Olivier Giroud.
After opening the scoring after just a minute at Anfield, Liverpool waited until the 2nd today to have their first attempt. Daniel Sturridge’s run was brilliantly found but his shot from close range was saved by the legs of Fabianski.
Moments later, Sturridge had an even better chance, rounding the keeper but shooting into the side netting when he really should have put Liverpool ahead.
Arsenal settled a bit after that with Sanogo having some promising early touches, and the young Frenchman was heavily involved in the 16th minute opener.
Mikel Arteta’s deep free kick was cleared, it came out to Mesut Ozil who clipped it back into the centre. Yaya Sanogo took it on his chest brilliantly and hit a shot which rebounded off Gerrard, into the path of Oxlade-Chamberlain who slotted it home. 1-0.
The game then hit a kind of a lull, Arsenal looked better able to cope with Liverpool defensively, and bar a couple of corners, the Gunners didn’t really threaten.
It was a half of many bookings with Coutinho and Flanagan yellow carded for the visitors, Monreal and Flamini for Arsenal. Lukas Podolski fired an effort over the bar after good work from Mesut Ozil, and the former Cologne man had a great chance to cross for the impressive Sanogo, but overhit the ball badly.
Gerrard got a yellow card for a foul on Oxlade-Chamberlain who looked to break again, before Fabianski made a good save from a clever Suarez effort. Raheem Sterling was lucky to escape a caution, after seemingly laying hands on the referee but he escaped with a talking to from Howard Webb as Arsenal took the one goal lead into the break.
The second half began with a fantastic Liverpool chance after Suarez found space in our box, but once again Fabianski was equal to the shot, saving well with his legs.
But almost straight away Arsenal doubled the lead. Mesut Ozil set Oxlade-Chamberlain free down the right hand side, he got to the byline, pulled it back for Lukas Podolski and the German slid it home beautifully with his right foot. 2-0.
Liverpool tried to react straight away and again Suarez was the danger man, lashing a shot just over the bar after good build up play, while at the other end Jones saved well from Ozil when he’d been set up by Podolski. Fabianski had to be alert again when Sturridge shot from the edge of the box, but Liverpool were gifted a goal from the penalty spot in the 60th minute.
Lukas Podolski was the guilty man, kicking Suarez from behind in the Arsenal area, and Steven Gerrard tucked away the spot kick to make it 2-1.
Liverpool could have equalised moments later, when Sturridge was one on one but once more Fabianski made a brilliant save, scooping the ball away from the striker’s feet.
The Mugsmashers should have had another penalty when Oxlade-Chamberlain clearly fouled Suarez in the area, but with Webb looking right at it, he pointed for a goal kick.
Suarez once again found space for a shot but saw his effort saved by Fabianski, before Arsene Wenger made his first change replacing Podolski with Santi Cazorla.
The Spaniard was involved straight away. The ball fell to him in the D, with nobody around him, and he hit it first time and sent it miles over the bar. He had time to take a touch.
Howard Webb then bottled a decision to send off Gerrard for an obvious foul on Oxlade-Chamberlain before the winger was replaced by Kieran Gibbs. A Laurent Koscielny mistake almost handed Liverpool a goal, but once more Fabianski was equal to the effort of Suarez.
Liverpool spurned another chance to equalise when Fabianski came for a Gerrard free kick and missed the ball entirely. With the goal at his mercy, Agger headed wide in the 87th minute.
Olivier Giroud came on for Sanogo in the 88th minute as Arsene Wenger looked to hold on to the one goal lead, and indeed they did, ensuring a quarter-final and a tie against Everton.
A good response to a difficult week.