Arsenal edge past Liverpool to clinch home FA Cup quarter-final with Everton
- Credit: EMPICS Sport
FA Cup fifth round: Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored one goal and set up the other as Arsenal avenged their hammering by Liverpool to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Humiliated 5-1 at Anfield eight days earlier in the league, the Gunners did just about enough to reverse that result thanks to goals from Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski.
The home side had to survive a tense finish after Steven Gerrard pulled a goal back from the penalty spot, but they held on to secure a home tie with Liverpool’s neighbours Everton in the last eight.
It looked as if the first five minutes might be a re-run of the Gunners’ nightmare start at Anfield eight days earlier as two golden opportunities fell to Daniel Sturridge.
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First Gerrard’s pass split the Arsenal defence, but Sturridge could only fire straight at Lukasz Fabianski and then, when Luis Suarez dinked a ball over the top, his strike partner rounded the keeper but blazed into the side netting.
However, the home side soon found their feet and Per Mertesacker’s header was palmed onto the roof of the net by Brad Jones before the breakthrough came on 16 minutes.
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Liverpool half-cleared a free-kick, but Mesut Ozil slung the ball back in for Yaya Sanogo, who chested it down and took a shot that bounced off Daniel Agger and fell for Oxlade-Chamberlain to slot home.
The Gunners looked in control from then on, with the speed and drive of Oxlade-Chamberlain consistently causing problems while, at the other end, Laurent Koscielny appeared to have put his poor showing at Anfield firmly behind him.
However, Fabianski was called into action either side of the break with crucial stops to foil Suarez – a thumping volley and then a low drive that the keeper blocked with his outstretched leg.
The value of those saves became evident when Arsenal doubled their lead two minutes into the second half as Oxlade-Chamberlain exchanged passes with Ozil and cut the ball back for the onrushing Podolski to score first time.
Podolski set up Ozil for a chance to make it 3-1, but Jones made the save and the Reds refused to lie down, halving the deficit on the hour mark.
This time, Podolski turned villain as he carelessly tripped Suarez inside the penalty area, allowing Gerrard to fire past Fabianski from the spot.
Arsenal were fortunate not to concede another penalty soon afterwards as Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared to bundle Suarez over, but referee Howard Webb turned a blind eye.
There were further chances at both ends, with Gunners substitute Santi Cazorla ballooning a shot over from close range and Fabianski denying both Suarez and Philippe Coutinho.
And Liverpool came close to earning a replay in the closing stages when Fabianski came for Gerrard’s free-kick, failed to get there and Agger’s header sailed inches wide.
Arsenal: Fabianski; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Arteta, Flamini; Oxlade-Chamberlain (Gibbs 76), Ozil, Podolski (Cazorla 70); Sanogo (Giroud 88).