Arsenal pummeled Hull City with a 4-0 win to secure a quarter-final against Watford, ending a drought of five games without a win.
Man of the match – Olivier Giroud opened the curtain when Hull’s David Meyler handed him a freebie which he diligently cashed on to start what would eventually end as a nightmare for the home side.
Giroud and Theo Walcott each scored twice to ensure Arsenal’s progression to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup at the expense of Hull City on Tuesday night.
In a game that was tight for large periods, 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.
Commenting midway into the match, Hull boss Steve Bruce said, “I don’t think it’s a fair reflection. We’ve given away two awful goals.
Little did he know that the game is far from over as Arsenal is yet to sign the last signature for the day.
Interestingly, Arsenal scored with their first shot on target in this match, which they have successfully done in three successive games.
Aaron Ramsey almost scored an own goal which could have been a boost to Hull’s dying morale but Giroud volleyed in to extend Arsenal’s lead.
Theo Walcott wrapped up the victory for the holders when he side-footed in and then rifled in a late shot.
The Gunners have now won each of their last six visits to Hull in all competitions, scoring at least twice on each occasion.
Frenchman Giroud was restored to the starting line-up, along with fellow forward Walcott, but the pair initially struggled against Hull, who had not conceded in six previous home games.
The Tigers were employing a three centre-back formation and rarely looked like being breached until Meyler’s mistake allowed Giroud to slot in his first goal since 13 January.
Walcott’s form has also been a concern and, although he looked short of confidence, he set up Giroud’s second before looking like his former self when his late double gave him his first goals in five games.
Despite a return to winning ways for manager Arsene Wenger’s side, some Gunners fans held up a banner reading ‘Arsene, thanks for the memories but it’s time to say goodbye’.
The priority for both of these teams are their league campaigns as Arsenal remain in the hunt for the Premier League title, while Hull are challenging for promotion from the Championship.
The home side made seven changes and the Gunners six, with the visitors forced into more of a reshuffle when centre-back Per Mertesacker went off injured early on after a clash of heads with Nick Powell.
Arsenal were playing their sixth game in 18 days and, with centre-back Laurent Koscielny already sidelined, the exit of fellow defender Gabriel in the second half has provided the Gunners with problems at the heart of their defence.
Gabriel’s replacement in midfielder Aaron Ramsey lasted only 16 minutes before an apparent shoulder injury ended his participation and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger now faces a selection dilemma against Watford on Sunday.
His side may be attempting to win a third successive FA Cup but, after their last-eight tie, they will attempt an unlikely Champions League comeback from 2-0 down at Barcelona before returning to league action.
Hull’s main threat came from set-pieces, with one particular free-kick causing panic in the Arsenal area before David Meyler forced keeper David Ospina into a smart save.
Powell’s effort from the rebound was parried and Ahmed Elmohamady slotted in, but the assistant referee had already flagged for an offside decision Hull may feel aggrieved by.
However, Hull failed to capitalise on Arsenal’s problems at the back and when a rare chance came their way striker Mohamed Diame sent a header wide from eight yards.
Indeed, the closest the home side came was when Ramsey sent a header wide of his own goal and Steve Bruce’s men have now scored only once in six games.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger speaking to BT Sport: “It was a shock as we lost our two centre-backs in the game and then we lost Aaron Ramsey.
“Mertesacker is not serious, just a little concussion, and I think Gabriel looks all right but for Ramsey I am little bit more concerned. It’s a thigh injury, but apart from that we have played well.”