LEEDS UNITED 1 vs ARSENAL 3
ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger believes his side’s defeat of Leeds in last night’s FA Cup third round replay confirms the end of a six-year trophy drought is just around the corner,
Leeds were well deserving of a second shot at Arsenal after their performance at Emirates Stadium 10 days ago, but they were emphatically second best on their own patch as the Gunners, whose goals came from Samir Nasri, Bacary Sagna and substitute Robin van Persie, cruised through in style.
But despite the trademark class and invention that accompanied victory, Wenger pinpointed hunger as the main quality his side are showing that will make the difference come the end of the season.
He said: “The team goes from strength to strength and we have shown again we are hungry.
“We got a warning in the first game and we [learnt] the lesson. That shows that my players are intelligent and that is a good sign.
“This win gives us a good opportunity to play at home against Huddersfield – of course we will be favourite and I think we had that in mind tonight.”
Nasri set Arsenal on their way with goal of typical elegance in the fifth minute. The France star collected Andrey Arshavin’s pass, waltzed into the penalty area and beat Kasper Schmeichel with ease for his 14th strike of the campaign.
Arsenal should have been further in front by the time Bacary Sagna took matters into his own hands with a blistering effort 10 minutes before the break.
Bradley Johnson offered Leeds hope with an even better goal on the stroke of half-time, but the Championship side never threatened an equaliser after the interval.
Wenger threw on Cesc Fabregas and Van Persie in search of the goal that would kill the tie, and the Dutch star provided it 14 minutes from time with a far post header.
Wenger has often been criticised for fielding weak sides in the domestic cup competitions, but has bucked the trend this season, much to the delight of Nasri, who is targeting a clean sweep of honours.
He said: “We want to win every competition and this cup is really important to us.”