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Arsenal surge past Everton to book Wembley trip

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Arsenal started their tough run of March fixtures by eventually outlasting Everton to win 4-1 in an excellent FA Cup quarter-final at Emirates Stadium.

Arsene Wenger will have been delighted by the performance of his side, particularly in the second half where they stifled the visitor's attacking threat and were clinical in taking their chances.

Olivier Giroud was rested and Yaya Sanogo given a chance to shine, but the youngster was isolated and his countryman showed his worth when replacing him in the second half to bag two late goals.

Arsenal fans will also be relieved to see Mesut Özil looking like his old self again; the German shrugged off his recent troubles to put in his best performance for some time, getting a goal and an assist.

It was a breathtaking start to the match as both teams looked in the mood to end the tie after 90 minutes, a replay being no good for either.

Arsene Wenger recalled Mesut Özil to the side and it paid dividends after only seven minutes when James McCarthy was dispossessed in his own half by Santi Cazorla and plyed in the under-pressure German to side foot into the corner.

Everton responded to the the setback well and looked just as dangerous as the hosts in a contest that rarely stopped for a breath with going from end-to-end, so it was fitting that an Arsenal attack got the Blues back in it.

Cazorla had a shot blocked brilliantly on the edge of the area by Gareth Barry and the ball rebounded to the impressive Ross Barkley, who charged down the pitch and crossed low for Mirallas to scuff a simple chance, though it fortunately fell to Romelu Lukaku to tap home almost on the goal line.

Lukasz Fabianksi and Joel Robles, neither regular starters, both made a series of good stops from a series of good counter-attacks.

The second half started much the same and Lukaku should have done better when a Thomas Vermaelen air-kick presented him with the ball and the free run into the box, but the Gunners reacted quickly and the Belgium striker's pass was poor.

Both sides were cancelling each other out for most of the second period before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's drive, as it has done numerous times since his return from injury, created the opportunity for Arsenal to take the lead in the 68th minute.

The England man drove into the box and Gareth Barry's first attempt at a tackle couldn't stop him, while his second attempt was even worse and unwise int he extreme - a nothing leg hung out and you could see form the midfielder's face he knew he was guilty.

Arteta stepped up to bury the penalty at the second time of asking after second half sub Olivier Giroud had encroached at the first attempt.

That goal really knocked the stuffing out of Everton and the Gunners started to find more space going forward as Roberto Martinez's side pushed forward.

Nobody wanted to close down Bacary Sagna after he was played into the box on the right, so he duly provided Olivier Giroud with a tap in to put the game to bed on 85 minutes. Giroud pounced again just a couple of minutes later to finish off a flowing counter-attack and make it four, but the Toffees had come to accept their fate by then.

So an FA Cup semi-final for Arsenal and a trip to Wembley to look forward to as they get the best chance to break their silverware hoodoo for a long time and will go to Bayern Munich on Tuesday full of confidence.

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Topics:
Arsenal
FA Cup
Football
Everton
Premier League

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