Theo Walcott scored his 100th Arsenal goal as Arsene Wenger’s team booked their place in the FA cup quarter-finals with a comfortable 2-0 victory over non-league Sutton United on Monday evening, 90min reports.
The winger converted Nacho Monreal’s cross in the 55th minute to add to Lucas Perez’s first half strike and ease the growing pressure on Wenger, who knew before the game that defeat to the semi-professional side was almost unthinkable.
Despite suggesting that he may opt to play a near-full strength side, Arsene Wenger made seven changes to his team following last week’s humbing defeat to Bayern Munich. Walcott was preferred to Alexis Sanchez upfront, whilst the likes of Perez, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Rob Holding were all handed rare starts.
It was a circumspect start to the match as the visitors tried to adapt to the artifical surface and though they saw most of the possession, the hosts’ goal was never really under threat until they fell behind in the 26th minute.
Having finally found space out wide following a swift counter attack, Perez’s low cross from the right evaded both Walcott and Sutton goalkeeper Ross Worner and went all the way through to nestle into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
With the nerves eased, the Gunners started to offer a more direct threat to Sutton’s goal and nearly doubled their lead 15 minutes before half-time when Monreal saw his close range effort smothered by Worner.
The visitors continued to dominate the ball although they were unable to find a second before half-time as Walcott blazed over from the edge of the area, before Alex Iwobi wasted a clear opening by placing the ball just wide from 10 yards out.
Sutton’s only real chance of the first half came minutes before the interval when a terrible clearance from David Ospina fell to Adam May, but having been forced away from goal, the midfielder was unable to keep his shot on target.
Any hope the non-league side had of coming back into the game in the second 45 minutes were dashed 10 minutes after the break as constant Arsenal pressure lead to Walcott doubling their lead.
Having worked the ball across the pitch, Monreal was played in behind the Sutton defence and though his cross was too heavy for Perez, Walcott was on hand to put the ball into the net and bring up his 100th goal for the club in the process.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 20, 2017