A comfortable two nil win against championship high flyers Middlesbrough saw Arsenal go through to the FA Cup quarter final. The game saw Gabriel make his Arsenal debut after his move from Villarreal but the Arsenal side was near full strength, featuring the likes of Sanchez, Cazorla and Ӧzil.
Arsenal came out in control playing a good possession based football but also moving it round comfortable and with ease. This Arsenal performance made a very good Middlesbrough side look ordinary. Cazorla captained the Arsenal side today and played in a much deeper role than what we are used to however, he showed his ability often dictating the play when receiving the ball from the Arsenal centre halves.
Arsenal went ahead in the 27th minute after good work by Sanchez and Welbeck in the build-up before Cazorla laid a sublime pass to Gibbs in the box who cut the ball back for a neat finish by Olivier Giroud. Within two minutes Arsenal were 2 up after a bit of intelligent play. Sanchez crossed in from the corner quickly allowing Giroud to volley in from the corner. However, this looks better when you see the goal and give it the plaudits it deserves.
Arsenal had chances to score more, but Arsenal dropped down a gear and saw the game out. Gabriel had a decent game although he was rarely challenged. He showed good ability on the ball and in his passing and made a great tackle in the final 20 minutes. First thoughts on the player are that he looks like a strong no nonsense defender.
Wenger was asked his opinion at the full time whistle and had the following to say;
"I like Gabriel's performance, it was focused and determined. He played a little bit with the hand-brake on offensively."
Wenger was asked about Arsenals chances on winning the FA cup where he answered;
"We are holders of the trophy and we want to do everything to keep it”
It was a thoroughly professional performance and Wenger summed this up the best;
"They are top of the league in the Championship so it was important to start at a good pace and we did that well.
"We were in control of the game, not because Boro were weak but because we were strong.”
A good win now let’s move onto the next game and hopefully retain the cup.