On a weekend of FA Cup upsets in the fourth round, Arsenal managed to avoid becoming another major Premier League scalp courtesy of a 3-2 victory on the road at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Arsene Wenger's side were in control for large spells, but gave their Championship opponents unnecessary hope when Sam Baldock scored with 15 minutes left on the clock.
Theo Walcott gave the Gunners a perfect start inside two minutes when he slotted home before Mesut Ozil got his first goal since September on 24 minutes. 2-0 up at the break, and the visitors were cruising.
However, a calamitous Chris O'Grady goal gave the Seagulls hope, as the striker pounced on a wild Tomas Rosicky clearance that should have been cleared by Calum Chambers in the Arsenal defence.
Rosicky was the Gunners' star performer, apart from that indiscretion, and his sublime victory wrapped up the victory after 59 minutes. Baldock's late intervention gave Chris Hughton's side hope, but it would have been a draw they didn't deserve.
For Arsenal, it was an encouraging performance with Alexis Sanchez, Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla on the bench, although there were some issues that Wenger will want to address quickly.
Arsenal player ratings vs Brighton:
Wojciech Szczesny - 6
Calum Chambers - 6
Should have done better for first conceded goal but played his part in attack.
Laurent Koscielny - 7
Let down by defensive colleagues for two conceded goals. Did very little wrong all afternoon despite the scoreline.
Nacho Monreal - 6
Kieran Gibbs - 6
Mathieu Flamini - 4
Replaced by Wenger towards the closing stages at a time when Arsenal were looking to hold on - exactly the job Flaimini is supposed to be capable of doing. Shrugged off the ball too easily, offering little in the way of a shield to the defence. Not good enough.
Aaron Ramsey - 6
Theo Walcott - 7
Will be delighted to get on the scoresheet and looked a threat for much of the afternoon; particularly on one swerving run which eventually ended in nothing. A good run out.
Tomas Rosicky - 8 [MOTM]
Would have been a nine but for one moment of madness which led to the first Brighton goal. Ran the show at the start of proceedings and scored a brilliant goal for his side. Very encouraging for Arsenal fans.
Mesut Ozil - 7
Took his chance on return to the starting line-up, finishing well and creating opportunities with some nice inter-play alongside Rosicky. Importantly got minutes under his belt.
Olivier Giroud - 7
No goals for the striker but a team performance which helped occupy defenders, thus playing a part in a couple of the goals. Solid.
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