While the Gunners certainly deserved the win, the scoreline was somewhat flattering as Everton put together a fine display in what was a highly entertaining cup tie. But some clinical finishing late in the game and fantastic displays from Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud ensured Arsenal would progress from Saturday's fixture.
Arsene Wenger came into the game needing a result, with critics partly blaming the veteran French manager for his team's heavy loss at the hands of Bayern Munich. His decision to rest Mesut Ozil against Southampton was shot down by pundits and analysts around the globe, but as Sir Jenkinson points out, it may have been all for the best:
Powered by the brilliance of the German orchestrator and the continuous movement of Mikel Arteta, the Gunners played arguably their best game since the turn of the year. The Daily Telegraph's Henry Winter reported Wenger seemed to be happy with his decision to rest Ozil:
It was a day on which Wenger could seemingly do no wrong, and his decision to keep Giroud on the bench seemed to spark the French international after the break. Arsenal's official Twitter account shared some of the praise Wenger showered on his compatriot:
Indeed, this win belonged to Wenger as much as it did to his players. Dave Seagers put it best:
Wenger also chimed in on the health of Laurent Koscielny, as reported by Le Parisien's Julien Laurens:
Laurens also shared Wenger's quotes on the upcoming game against Bayern, with the French manager seemingly balancing optimism with realism:
Indeed, coming back from an 0-2 deficit against the reigning UEFA Champions League holders will be no easy task, but if the Gunners can put in a similar performance as the one we witnessed against Everton, an upset could be on the books.
In an interview with ITV, Roberto Martinez made it clear he felt the penalty decision leading to the Gunners' second goal was 'soft," as reported by The Sport Review:
I still think the penalty was soft but these key moments affect the game
The key moment was the second goal. I feel it was a situation when Gareth Barry is fighting for the ball.
Of course there is contact but is it enough to give a penalty? It’s a difficult decision and possibly one you need to go in your favour. It was always going to change the game and that was the case.
Some pundits voiced their criticism with the selection of backup keeper Joel Robles, whose performance was somewhat of a mixed bag. BBC's Phil McNulty was blunt in his assessment:
The Spanish manager left the FA Cup with a final salute to its format, shared here by the FA's Twitter account:
The FA Cup will resume on Sunday, with Sheffield United taking on Charlton Athletic.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!