Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott both grabbed a brace as Arsenal returned to winning ways with a 4-0 thumping of Hull City at the KC stadium on Tuesday in a FA Cup fifth round tie.
Two strikes from Giroud who has been goals shy in recent weeks in either halves and a double from Walcott in the second half secured Arsenal a quarter final ticket as they aim to win the FA Cup for the third successive season.
With this Arsenal’s first game in a hectic 12-day period, it came as no surprise to see Wenger make changes to his side from the team that had drawn at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. There were six in total, with Calum Chambers, Alex Iwobi and Giroud – who recently became a father for the second time – all coming in. Hector Bellerin, Danny Welbeck, Alexis and Mesut Ozil were among those to make way.
Hull manager Steve Bruce had stated pre-match that his side’s “priority is the league” this season. His side showed alterations from the team that were beaten at Birmingham last Thursday but he still included the likes of Curtis Davies, Mohamed Diame, Tom Huddlestone and Ahmed Elmohamady. Arsenal loanees Isaac Hayden and Chuba Akpom were ineligible.
In a game that was tight for large periods, Olivier Giroud gave Arsène Wenger’s side the lead just before the break when intercepting David Meyler’s backpass and sliding the ball under Eldin Jakupovic for his first goal in 12 games.
The striker – who became a father for the second time on Monday night – celebrated with the ‘baby rocking’ celebration made famous by Bebeto at the 1994 World Cup.
He added his second to give Arsenal some breathing space after 71 minutes, confidently steering home Theo Walcott’s dangerous cross.
Walcott himself made absolutely sure of Arsenal’s progression soon after, opening his body to guide the impressive Joel Campbell’s pass beyond Jakupovic before adding further gloss to the scoreline with a crisp low finish late on.
The only negative from the night was the injuries picked up by Per Mertesacker, Gabriel and Aaron Ramsey. Hopefully they won’t prove to be too serious.
But in general this was a very positive evening. Arsène Wenger’s side love the FA Cup – and this win stretched their unbeaten run in the competition to 16 games.
Having gone five matches without victory, this was a comprehensive return to winning ways. It all means that Arsenal will host Watford for a place at Wembley on Sunday lunchtime. On the basis of this performance, they have a good chance of achieving just that.