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Arsenal progressed through to the next round of the FA cup thanks to a second half burst that blew Sunderland away.

It was tough to predict what our line up would be before kick off, Arsène had made his feelings known before the game via his press conference that he would not be taking the competition lightly by fielding a complete reserve side, instead using the momentum of victory as a springboard for the upcoming round of tough fixtures.

Man of the moment, Mesut Özil was given the afternoon off which was most certainly a good move. We've got bigger fish to fry Mesut, go home and get your assisting radar in perfect working order ready for our trip to Liverpool on Wednesday.

To be honest I thought we would see more rotation from the manager, I thought the likes of Giroud and Bellerin would sit this one out, maybe the latter would have sat out if Debuchy was committed longer term, who knows. In the end I am glad Hector played the match, he looked closer to his best and his last assist of two was an absolute peach but I will come to that.

A lot of pre match talk was about Jeff Reine-Adelaide but it was in fact Alex Iwobi who was the talk of the Arsenal faithful when he came off in the second half. 

Iwobi had impressed in pre season with some good performances and his showing on the weekend showed those early showings were no fluke. He plays with a calm and composure that you don't often see in a player with his lack of experience. He turned into trouble on a couple of occasions and lost a few tackles but you can see that with a few games and some further development he could really be a good player for this club in the future. He looks like the type of player who would enjoy playing with Mesut Özil and Santi Cazorla, even at this age.

You can see why Arsène may often be reluctant to buy in certain areas sometimes as he will have a better insight into the longer term options in those positions. It's not always as black and white as we think from the outside.

I seem to be in the minority when it comes to our goal conceded. Kieran Gibbs who I thought had his best game in sometime did very well to win the ball back, under pressure he did not have many options but to play the ball in the direction he was facing. Koscielny could have played a pass to his left to Oxlade-Chamberlain and the danger would have been avoided. Kos could have also put his foot through it and played it safe, it wasn't safe and we were punished but I think it is unfair to blame Gibbs for the goal.

It's strange though, the goal did not bother me in the slightest, I was that confident that we would go on and win the game. Not sure where that confidence came from, it was the type of confidence I used to feel during our unbeaten season. 

It didn't take long for us to get back on track. Walcott cutting a lovely ball back with his weaker foot for Joel Campbell to sweep in on the half volley. A really tidy finish for Campbell.

Campbell had a very good game on the right of our attack, possibly his best game in an Arsenal shirt to date. Some of his passing is really incisive and almost plays like a number 10 rather than the forward player that we are lead to believe he is. 

His pass for Bellerin in the second half was inch perfect, the weight and style of the pass reminded me of the great Dennis Bergkamp. Aaron Ramsey who came off the bench scored from Bellerin's cut back with a neat left footed finish into the far corner. Ramsey and Arteta totally transformed the game when they came on.

Will we see Arteta and Ramsey alongside Özil in the middle of the pitch at Anfield? Having a passer at the base of the midfield after weeks of Flamini and Ramsey was instantly noticeable in our play. While Arteta did not have a great deal to do defensively apart from a few tackles that he won, he looked fairly sharp considering the limited amount of football he has had of late.

As good as Campbell's pass to Bellerin was, the pass of the match belonged to Hector Bellerin who had found his attacking A game once more. Oxlade-Chamberlain scooped an outside of the foot pass to Bellerin on the flank and the Spaniard's pass through a crowded box onto the boot of Giroud to tap in from close range was a pass that Mesut Özil would have been proud of.

What on earth was Martin Atkinson thinking of when he denied us a penalty? It shouldn't matter when you win the game pretty convincingly in the end but it's hard to understand what he saw on the pitch. Surely he is the only man in this country who would have missed that decision.

Sunderland had some good chances earlier in the game, including a Fletcher header against the crossbar. Chamberlain also struck the post with an Alexis style bending strike from outside the box.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable game, one that we can take positives from. Resting some key players, having Bellerin approaching his best attacking form as well as some other younger squad members gaining confidence.

You can listen to my views on Oxlade-Chamberlain on the new Arsenal Vision post match podcast which also has plenty of discussion between Tim (@Stillberto), Paul (@PoznanInMyPants) & James (@GoonerFanatic49)

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more