Arsenal keep first trophy in nine years on course with decisive win against Everton

Wenger's men run out 4-1 victors in tie after Everton looked as if they might force replay

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 March, 2014, 12:45am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 March, 2014, 12:45am

Arsenal reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time since 2009 with a 4-1 win over Everton yesterday.

Two goals from late substitute Olivier Giroud and one apiece by Mesut Ozil and Mikel Arteta secured the Gunners' last-four berth.

Arsenal have dropped off the pace in the Premier League title race by winning just one of their last four matches, and are unlikely to progress beyond the last 16 of the Champions League after a 2-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich in their first leg.

When I had to retake the penalty it was just about keeping my concentration level high. It was a massive moment and I'm just happy I scored.
Mikel Arteta

That means the FA Cup has become a priority for Arsene Wenger's men, who are without a trophy since 2005, and it took the 61st-minute introduction of Giroud to turn what had been a tight contest against Everton.

Ozil got his first goal in three months to give Arsenal a seventh minute lead, after a precise through ball from Santi Cazorla.

The midfielder has been criticised by English media in recent weeks, while some Germany supporters directed anger at the playmaker during the country's midweek friendly win over Chile.

Yet Ozil found his form here, scoring, assisting and tracking back - much to the delight of Arsenal supporters at the Emirates Stadium.

After losing the early goal, however, Everton equalised following a surging run from Ross Barkely that resulted in a Romelu Lukaku tap-in after 32 minutes.

Arsenal regained the lead in the 68th minute after Gareth Barry tripped Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the box and Mikel Arteta converted the penalty.

Striker Giroud then came off the bench to score twice in two minutes, in the 83rd and 85th minutes, to keep Arsenal on course for their first trophy for nine years.

In an end-to-end cup tie, it looked for a long while as though the visitors might force a replay, but Arteta's penalty provided a turning point in the game, forcing Everton to push forward in search of another equaliser, which left them open at the back.

The Spanish midfielder, who left Everton for Arsenal in August 2011, was forced to retake his initial penalty after Giroud encroached into the box and he afterwards admitted it was a big moment for him against his former club.

"When I had to retake the penalty it was just about keeping my concentration level high," Arteta said after the game. "It was a massive moment and I'm just happy I scored.

"We dominated the game and had the better chances but Everton showed their quality when they broke in the first half, so overall we are happy to be at Wembley."

Arsenal now enter the draw for the semi-finals at Wembley with high hopes of winning their first major trophy in nine years. They won the FA Cup in 2005.

"It will be amazing if we can win it. We're in the semi-final, have a good chance and want to do it," Arteta said.

"I missed the final at Wembley with Everton [2009] when I was with them because of a cruciate injury, so playing there in the semi-final will be a good moment for me."

The remaining FA Cup quarter-finals will be played today.

Associated Press, Reuters