FA Cup - Giroud double helps Arsenal into semi-finals

FA Cup, Emirates Stadium - Arsenal 4 (Ozil 7, Arteta 68 pen, Giroud 83, 85) Everton 1 (Lukaku 32)

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Mesut Ozil, Tomas Rosicky and Olivier Giroud celebrate a goal against Everton (Reuters)

Olivier Giroud came off the bench to score two late goals as Arsenal beat Everton 4-1 in an entertaining match at Emirates Stadium to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Mesut Ozil was one of seven changes to the Arsenal side and, in his first start since that infamous missed penalty against Bayern Munich, scored his first goal in three months when Santi Cazorla exploited a slip from James McCarthy to slip a pass to the German, who finished coolly into the bottom corner after seven minutes.

Everton keeper Joel, continuing with cup duties, brought a rather chaotic flavour to Everton’s performance and, having already punched unconvincingly on a number of occasions, managed to palm a harmless cross from Bacary Sagna onto his own bar after 24 minutes.

However, in what was a wonderfully open encounter, Everton equalised on 32 minutes. Ross Barkley escaped Mathieu Flamini and embarked on a wonderful 50-yard run before delivering the perfect cross for Kevin Mirallas, who had run past the culpable Sagna. His finish was comically bad, but Romelu Lukaku was fortunately placed to control the errant shot and side-foot the ball impudently over the line.

Everton were proving predictably formidable opponents, with Barkley going close with a rasping effort after the break, but Arsenal restored their lead on 68 minutes when Gareth Barry fouled Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the box and Mikel Arteta scored his penalty at the second attempt, with Giroud being booked for encroaching at the first.

Giroud then safeguarded Arsenal’s progress with two late goals: the first a fine close-range finish from Sagna’s neat pull-back and the second coming after a classic Arsenal counter-attack and a clever pass from the impressive Ozil.

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal roar into the semi-finals with Manchester City now arguably the only team capable of preventing the Frenchman from enjoying a first trophy win since 2005.

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KEY MOMENTS

PRE-MATCH: Arsenal, missing Jack Wilshere due to his latest injury, make seven changes from the side which lost 1-0 to Stoke last weekend – with captain Thomas Vermaelen making his first appearance in two months, Yaya Sanogo replacing Olivier Giroud in attack and Lukasz Fabiankski coming in for Wojciech Szczesny.

7’ - GOAL! Arsenal 1-0 Everton! A clinical counter-attack and the German has his first goal for six months! James McCarthy slipped and allowed Santi Cazorla to pick up possession in midfield. He slid a perfect pass to his team-mate, who guided it into the bottom corner.

24’ - ARSENAL HIT THE WOODWORK! What seems like an over-hit cross from Sagna is tipped onto the bar by Joel! The Everton keeper gets his angles all wrong and is lucky to avoid flicking it into his own net.

32’ - GOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Everton! Such a cool finish from Lukaku but it’s all about Barkley. The young midfielder collects the ball 30 yards from his own goal, goes on a storming run and crosses for Mirallas, whose poor finish is controlled by Lukaku then tapped in.

43’ - SUPERB DEFENDING: Oxlade-Chamberlain chases back 50 yards after losing possession to slide in and stop Lukaku from having a shot. Good recovery from the young midfielder.

54’ - CHANCE FOR EVERTON: Vermaelen with a horrid attempt at a clearance to allow Lukaku to take possession on the left. He rolls a pass off to Barkley who sends a fierce effort curling just over the bar.

68’ - GOAL! Arsenal 2-1 Everton! Arteta sweeps the ball home from the spot against his former club at the second time of asking – Giroud penalised for encroaching from the first. Barry was badly caught out by Oxlade-Chamberlain for the award as the Arsenal man raced onto an Ozil pass and was chopped down clumsily in the box.

83’ - GOAL! Arsenal 3-1 Everton! Giroud turns the ball home from close range after Sagna gets free in the box following a clever flowing move. Nice pass and finish.

85’ - GOAL! Arsenal 4-1 Everton! Giroud again! Arsenal are going to Wembley after Giroud bags another off the bench! A lovely counter-attack from the home side and Ozil gets the assist with a cute square ball.

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KEY STATS

Arsenal and Everton had only met three times before in the FA Cup with the last time being in 1981. The Toffees had won twice (1910 & 1981) and Arsenal once (1928). (Opta)

Everton have won none of their last 20 away games against Arsenal in all competitions (W0 D4 L16), but had drawn their last two visits. (Opta)

The Gunners have conceded just four goals in their last 14 domestic games at the Emirates. (Opta)

Mesut Ozil scored his first goal in 2014 and the first for Arsenal since also netting v Everton on December 8 in Arsenal's 1-1 Premier League home draw against them. (Infostrada)

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TALKING POINT

Why play reserve keepers in important cup games? Neither Fabianski nor Joel are the best goalkeepers at their clubs but they started this quarter-final nonetheless as Wenger and Roberto Martinez continued the strange modern trend for sticking with back-up keepers deep into cup campaigns. Joel looked a liability in an error-strewn first half and although neither really had a decisive impact on the match, it seems an unnecessary risk to take. Why gamble?

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND RATINGS

MAN OF THE MATCH

Mesut Ozil (Arsenal): The German playmaker got Arsenal going with his well-taken goal after seven minutes and rounded things off with the assist for Giroud's second. This wasn't Ozil at his absolute best, but undoubtedly a return to form for a player who has been under scrutiny of late.

PLAYER RATINGS

Arsenal: Fabianski 6, Sagna 5, Vermaelen 5, Mertesacker 7, Gibbs 6, Arteta 6, Flamini 6, Ozil 8, Ox-Chamberlain 6, Cazorla 7, Sanogo 5. Subs: Giroud 8, Rosicky 7, Jenkinson N/A.

Everton: Joel 4, Coleman 5, Stone 6, Distin 6, Baines 6, McCarthy 7, Barry 7, Barkley 7, Pienaar 6, Mirallas 6, Lukaku 7. Subs: Osman 6, McGeady 6, Deulofeu N/A.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

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