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Brighton 2-3 Arsenal: Gunners avoid giant killing with victory at the Amex


first_img Arsenal celebrate win at the Amex Arsenal maintained their FA Cup defence with an enthralling 3-2 victory over Championship strugglers Brighton at the Amex Stadium.Theo Walcott’s first goal of the season stunned the hosts after two minutes, before Mesut Ozil’s composed finish handed the Gunners a deserved lead at the interval.Chris O’Grady’s instinctive drive halved the deficit five minutes into the second half, but Tomas Rosicky’s exquisite volley put Arsene Wenger’s side back in control.Sam Baldock’s clipped finish caused a frantic finale, but Arsenal rode the late Brighton tide to book their place in the the fifth round for the 13th time in 15 seasons.The Gunners displayed a measured build-up approach to open the scoring, beginning with Wojciech Szczesny – recalled for the first time since the 2-0 defeat to Southampton on New Year’s Day – and ending with an emphatic, angled finish from Walcott after Calum Chambers’ composed pull back wrong footed the Seagulls defence.And Arsenal continued to probe, orchestrating moves with intelligent runs and precise passes, with Aaron Ramsey driving from deep before firing a deflected effort wide.The visitors’ studied possession created pockets of space within Brighton’s defence which Rosicky nearly exploited with a dabbed cross towards Olivier Giroud, but the Frenchman was unable to connect.However, the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder was involved in the visitors’ second on 24 minutes. The 34-year-old drifted towards the Albion area unopposed before guiding the ball into the path of Ozil, who dismissed the attention of Lewis Dunk with a neat finish past David Stockdale.But the home side could have reduced the arrears moments later following a defensive lapse from Wenger’s side, when Baldock found time and space inside the area, but the ex-West Ham striker snatched at the opportunity with a wild attempt.A flailing arm from full back Bruno escaped punishment inside the Seagulls box and Brighton’s contempt to protect their 18-yard area allowed Arsenal to play with ease, but they were unable to add a third before the break.The second half began in dramatic fashion when Joe Bennett was called into a last-ditch tackle to deny Walcott from close range, before Chris O’Grady dragged Chris Hughton’s men back into the tie with a clever turn and finish on the edge of the area moments later.But Brighton’s response was soon quelled as Arsenal resumed control of proceedings, with Rosicky’s stunning volley reinstating the Gunners’ two-goal advantage. The Czech Republic international combined creatively with Giroud deep inside Brighton’s half, before sending the ball past Stockdale with a controlled finish on the hour mark.Yet, with the FA Cup holders seemingly in control, the Championship outfit countered with pace and precision to prompt a nervy finish. Danny Holla produced the pass to send Baldock in behind the Gunners’ backline, and the 25-year-old made no mistake with a deft finish over the sprawling Szczesny.Alexis Sanchez, a second half substitute in the place of Walcott, threatened to end the match with a dipping free-kick but his effort clipped the top of the crossbar with the Brighton shot-stopper rooted to the spot.Arsenal escaped a late handball appeal against Chambers, and could have added a fourth in the dying stages when Ramsey connected with Rosicky’s deep cross. 1last_img read more