Nasri, Sagna & van Persie secure FA Cup win over Leeds
Arsenal have progressed into the FA Cup fourth round after a convincing 3-1 win over Leeds United at Elland Road. Goals from Samir Nasri, Bacary Sagna and Robin van Persie secured the victory for Arsene Wenger’s side.
After being held 1-1 by Simon Grayson’s Championship outfit at the Emirates 11 days earlier, the pressure was on the North Londoners.
Arsenal’s Starting XI & Subs
Sagna – Djourou – Koscielny – Gibbs
Denilson – Song – Nasri
Bendtner – Chamakh – Arshavin
However, Samir Nasri quickly eased the nerves in the 5th minute before Bacary Sagna doubled the lead half an hour later.
Bradley Johnson’s spectacular 30-yard effort before half-time lifted a 38,000 full house at Elland Road before substitute Robin van Persie killed the tie off just six minutes after climbing off the bench.
It was still a spirited performance from Leeds, who were looking to repeat their feat of 12 months ago when they eliminated Manchester United at the third round stage.
But French international Nasri took his tally for the season to 14 after a delightful pass by Andrei Arshavin had left the Leeds defence in tatters.
Only a stunning one-handed save by Kasper Schmeichel prevented Marouane Chamakh doubling the lead with an 11th minute header while Arshavin looked in the mood to add to his goal tally.
The Russian international fired one effort over the bar before failing to connect with Chamakh’s pin-point cross six-yards out, then Arshavin again fluffed a great chance after Sagna’s cross before the latter doubled the lead 10 minutes before the interval.
Sagna let fly with a ferocious effort which punished Andy O’Brien’s poor clearance soon after a move between Nicklas Bendtner and Nasri had broken down.
Arsenal appeared to be in cruise control, but Elland Road erupted after Johnson reminded the visitors that the tie was far from over after beating Wojciech Szczesny with a glorious 30-yard effort.
The pace didn’t slacken after the break, with crowd playing their part as Leeds continued to stretch Arsenal at times, although Wenger’s troops still looked dangerous whenever they attacked.
Simon Grayson’s men finally crumbled when van Persie was allowed to rise unchallenged to head home Nicklas Bendtner’s 76th minute cross.
Arsenal will now face Huddersfield at home in the fourth round.
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