Arsenal’s pursuit of a hat-trick of FA Cup titles is still on thanks to braces from Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott.
The London club beat Hull 4-0 but it was a bittersweet night for the Gunners, who saw Per Mertesacker, Gabriel Paulista and Aaron Ramsey all leave the game with injuries.
But Giroud’s first goals in 12 games was a positive as Arsenal avoided embarrassment against Championship opposition. You can watch the goals by scrolling down this page.
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They will now face Watford in the quarter-finals at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Arsenal fans might have feared a potential banana-skin against Steve Bruce’s team, who are challenging for promotion to the Premier League, but that was simply not the case. Arsene Wenger’s team were a class above from the first minute to the last.
Check out the goals
Giroud opened the scoring in the 41st minute as he capitalised on David Meyler’s poor backpass to strike beyond Eldin Jakupovic, Hull’s hero from the first game.
Theo Walcott had a difficult first half but shone after the interval and assisted Giroud’s second of the game. The England forward chipped in a cross that the Frenchman neatly steered home.
That goal came in the 71st minute. Six minutes later, it was game over.
Walcott turned it around
Walcott got his first when he tucked the ball past Jakupovic following a neat pass from Joel Campbell.
And he made it 4-0 a minute before injury time, bearing down on goal before firing a low shot into the back of the net.
The 26-year-old was in need of a strong second half because he was heavily criticised by Arsenal fans at the break.
It looked to be a night to forget for Walcott, who was wasteful in possession, but he came back with a brace and assist in the final 45 minutes.
Yet the losses of Mertesacker and Gabriel will be a massive concern to the defence going forward. Laurent Koscielny missed the game against Hull and Arsene Wenger admitted he is unlikely to be back for this weekend’s game, so Arsenal are desperately short of centre-backs.
Meanwhile, Petr Cech isn’t expected to return from a calf injury until early April.
Congested fixture list
The Gunners were slated to play West Brom on Saturday in the league if Hull emerged victorious but that game must be lodged into their busy fixture list at some point. They play Barcelona next Wednesday in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie and are supposed to play Everton on March 19.
Many believe Arsenal’s most realistic chance at winning silverware this season is via the FA Cup, and it’s hard to disagree. They trail Barcelona 2-0 from the first leg and are eight points behind Leicester in the race for the Premier League title.
Normally, winning a trophy is a good thing. But Arsenal fans are probably sick and tired of the sight of the FA Cup.
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