Arsenal eased into the semifinals of the FA Cup courtesy of a 5-0 home win over nonleague Lincoln City on Saturday.
It took until first-half injury time for Arsenal to make the breakthrough against a side who performed well above their level, with Theo Walcott benefitting from a fortunate deflection to go level with Ian Wright on 12 FA Cup goals for the club.
But Arsenal accelerated clear in the second half. Olivier Giroud scored after a nicely worked move in the Lincoln box, and Lincoln defender Luke Waterfall unfortunately turned the ball into his own net on a Kieran Gibbs cross. Alexis Sanchez got on the score sheet with a fine finish, and the Chilean, who has been in the spotlight after a reported training-ground bust-up, assisted Aaron Ramsey for the fifth goal on 75 minutes.
After the trauma of the 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in midweek, Arsenal needed an easy win, and after a spirited first half from Lincoln, that was exactly what they got. The front three who started the match all scored, and although a win was expected, it was just the tonic Arsenal needed after five defeats in seven games. They now have a visit to Wembley to look forward to.
Arsenal lost Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to injury in the first half, and that was really the only black mark on an otherwise profitable afternoon.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — There were fresh protests against manager Arsene Wenger prior to kickoff, but he had a much better day. The standard of the opposition meant that anything other than a big win would have been reason to condemn him — but Arsenal got one.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Petr Cech, 6 — A groin injury ruled out David Ospina, so Cech made a rare cup start, and he had to be sharp to tip away an excellent effort from Nathan Arnold on 28 minutes. Had little to do after that.
DF Hector Bellerin, 7 — He was the inspiration behind the second goal, trading passes with Alexis to unpick the Lincoln defence before crossing for Giroud. Influential.
DF Shkodran Mustafi, 6 — Took a blow from Matt Rhead early and was bleeding from his mouth, but had a much more comfortable 90 minutes after a dodgy run of form.
DF Laurent Koscielny, 6 — Was almost embarrassed by Arnold when the Lincoln man cut inside him and shot on 28 minutes, and was unfortunate to be booked for a foul on Jack Muldoon. Steady after that.
DF Kieran Gibbs, 7 — Laid the ball off to Walcott for the opening goal but was unable to engineer the opposite outcome when heading over unmarked from a Walcott cross on 50 minutes. He got another “assist” for the own goal.
MF Aaron Ramsey, 6 — It was a wasteful first half from the Welshman as he spurned the first good chance of the match by side-footing wide while unmarked and blasted another couple of shots off target. Got a goal when he walked it in in the second half.
MF Granit Xhaka, 5 — Kept the ball ticking over and made the most passes, 34, of any player by half-time. But was booked for another poorly judged tackle, on Rhead, and still looks a bit off the pace. Was replaced by Francis Coquelin to presumably avoid a red card.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 6 — His afternoon lasted only 27 minutes as an injury forced him off, with Mesut Ozil on in his place.
FW Theo Walcott, 7 — Lincoln might be low-hanging fruit, but Walcott was only too happy to have a pick, having a lovely volley from the edge of the box tipped onto the post before scoring the opener.
FW Olivier Giroud, 7 — Started up front and got his goal when finishing from close range after Bellerin had done the hard work. A useful afternoon’s work.
FW Alexis Sanchez, 8 — Was rather subdued in the first half but scored with a lovely curling effort on 72 minutes and assisted Ramsey with a cross three minutes later. Added two coats of gloss to the score line and almost had a third when he cracked a free kick off the bar with five minutes left.
MF Mesut Ozil, 6 — Had plenty of time on the ball and also went close with a header. A useful outing as he returns from illness.
MF Francis Coquelin, 5 — Didn’t add a huge amount to a game that Arsenal were comfortably dominating.
FW Lucas Perez, 4 — Dived to try to win a penalty with Arsenal 5-0 up against a nonleague side. It wasn’t even a good dive. Embarrassing.
Tom is one of ESPN FC’s Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter @tomEurosport