For most of the first half there was very little to speak about when it comes to goalmouth action. Despite the fact that both teams were keen to avoid extra time and a penalty shootout making for a fast start, there was not much penetration although Arsenal soon began to dominate the ball.
The likes of Walcott, Elneny, Debuchy and Willock were looking sharp and trying hard, the attacks did not quire come off so chances were few and far between. Like London buses, though, one was quickly followed by another and just after Theo planted his header from a great Kolasinac cross wide, Welbeck bundled his chance home to give Arsenal a halftime lead.
The Gunners then pushed for a second in the last few minutes of the half without luck. After the restart the visitors knew they could not just sit back although you would hardly know it as they continued to defend deep and with numbers. I suppose they did press a bit higher but it was still Arsenal that looked to go forward more.
Apart from one occasion when Holding may have handled there was no real danger for us and we could have had a penalty ourselves but the referee judged that Hart’s foul on Welbeck was just outside the area. Walcott just lost control when running in on goal and Willock’s shot after a great run was blocked and the rebound cleared.
Nelson replaced Giroud after his hamstring went and then Sheaf got his debut replacing Willock before Coquelin also went off with what is hopefully a minor injury as he played well. Arsenal had four minutes of injury time to see out after that and we managed to do so without any scares.
Job done Arsenal.