Sanchez snatches the winner as Arsenal edge past Burnley in FA Cup
17:00 30 January 2016
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Arsenal 2 Burnley 1
Alexis Sanchez marked his return to the starting line-up with the winner as FA Cup holders Arsenal held off Burnley to book their place in the last 16.
Sanchez, who started for the first time in two months, swept home Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross early in the second half after Sam Vokes had cancelled out Calum Chambers’ opener at the Emirates.
The best of the early opportunities fell to Burnley striker Andre Gray, who controlled a knockdown from Vokes, swivelled and lashed a volley just wide.
Gray could well have given his side the lead in the 10th minute as he outmuscled Laurent Koscielny and advanced on goal, but was denied by David Ospina’s low save.
Yet it was Chambers who was first to get his name on the scoresheet as Alex Iwobi and Sanchez combined to find him just inside the box and the full-back bent a classy finish around the helpless Tom Heaton with the outside of his boot.
Sanchez went close soon afterwards, but his effort was charged down by Michael Keane and the Clarets fought back to equalise on the half-hour mark.
Arsenal failed to get Scott Arfield’s cross away and Tendayi Darikwa whipped the ball back in from the opposite flank, with Vokes rising to direct a powerful header past Ospina.
The Gunners ended the first half strongly, with Sanchez threatening again and Oxlade-Chamberlain forcing a sharp save from Heaton, but the scores remained level at the break.
Arfield almost edged Burnley back in front at the start of the second period, with Ospina gathering the ball at the second attempt, but instead the home side regained the lead in the 53rd minute.
Iwobi’s pass picked out Oxlade-Chamberlain in space on the right flank and his incisive cross sat up perfectly for Sanchez to hook first time into the net.
New arrival Mohamed Elneny could have celebrated his debut with a goal – and settled Arsenal nerves in the process – rattling a drive straight into the hands of Heaton after the visitors half-cleared a corner.
Spirits were lifted by the introduction of Tomas Rosicky for his first appearance of the season, but Burnley had no intention of folding just yet and it needed Koscielny’s timely clearance to deny Vokes an equaliser.
At the other end, Elneny sent another shot whistling narrowly wide, while Heaton foiled substitute Theo Walcott in added time – but Arsenal held on to ensure that their hopes of an historic FA Cup hat-trick remain intact.
Arsenal: Ospina; Chambers, Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs; Elneny, Coquelin (Arteta 71); Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi (Rosicky 71), Sanchez (Walcott 78); Giroud.