Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1
Oxlade-Chamberlain 16, Podolski 47 Gerrard (pen) 59

Arsenal secured safe passage to the FA Cup quarter finals with a rousing 2-1 victory over Liverpool at the Emirates stadium. Goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski either side of the break ensured the Gunners were comfortable, but in fact that would tell only part of the story. Steven Gerrard scored a controversial penalty on the hour mark after Luis Suarez was adjudged to have been fouled by Podolski. The visitors efforts to force a replay saw Lukasz Fabianksi produce saves of the highest order as Arsenal held onto the lead. The Gunners will now play Everton at the Emirates in the quarter finals. The win partially represents salvation after the mauling at Anfield, and in a week when Arsenal’s Champions League credentials will face the midweek test from the visit of Bayern Munich, progression by dumping out the Reds is welcomed news from Arsene Wenger’s side.

Arsenal gave summer arrival Yaya Sanogo his first start in a side which included the returning Mathiu Flamini who also started. Nacho Monreal replaced Kieran Gibbs at left back with Carl Jenkinson given the nod on the right. Santi Cazorla dropped to the bench with Lukas Podolski starting. Fabianski replaced Wojciech Szczesny who unlike all the others replaced, wasn’t even on the bench with Emiliano Viviano covering.

Buoyed on from their lightening start the last time these two sides met eight days ago, Liverpool were quick out of the blocks. Daniel Sturridge tested Fabianksi with a shot that was turned around for a corner after only two minutes. Barely three further minutes had elapsed when having taken Suarez’s pass, Sturridge rounded Fabianski but saw his shot hit the side netting. The visitors intent was clear.

Arsenal’s first strike in anger came when Per Mertersacker’s corner flick on had Brad Jones scrambling to tip the ball over his bar. The forward mood suited the Gunners and when Monreal surged forwards, Jon Flanagan illegally checked his progression to earn the games’ first yellow card after 15 minutes. Mikel Arteta took the free kick which lead to the opening goal.

Oxlade-Chamberlain gave Arsenal the lead with a powerfully hit low drive. Credit must however be given to the work of Sanogo who had the strength to not only hold off Agger, but let fly with a shot, which came off Gerrard with Oxlade-Chamberlain the grateful beneficiary from the rebound for his third goal of the season.

The visitors responded with some neat passes and controlled football from Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge in menacing mood. Podolski had an chance to double the lead but having taken Mesut Özil’s pass, struck wide of Jones’ upright. The Reds swift counter attack then had Monreal unable to deal with the high ball and Suarez almost made him pay with a shot that Fabianski saved from a tight angle.

The theme was to continue moments after the restart when having tricked his way inside Monreal, Suarez was only denied by Fabianski’s save with an outstretched leg. Oxlade-Chamberlain was enjoying his sorties on the right, with his muscular pace and movement too much for Liverpool’s rearguard.

When Carl Jenkinson won the ball on the half way line, his pass to Oxlade-Chamberlain enabled the England man to race away and pick out Podolski for the Gunners’ second of the game with a clinical finish.

Two goals down, yet Brendan Rodgers side continued to ask questions from Suarez who saw a further shot dip just over Fabianksi’s bar from Flanagan’s cut back. The home side responded when Podolski surged from the centre, and as the Reds’ defence backed off, fed Özil. His shot however was eventually gathered by Jones.

Just before the hour mark, Liverpool reduced the arrears. Podolski clipped the heal of Suarez who didn’t need an invite to fall. Howard Webb pointed to the spot from which Gerrard sent Fabianski the wrong way.

Fully resurgent and sensing a leveller, Coutinho fed Sturridge but Fabianksi had come off his line to clear as the striker was about to round him. On another day, Gerrad could,have been sent off for a second bookabale offence when Oxlade-Chamberlain’s speed proved to be too much for the Reds captain.

Arsenal had a claim for a penalty when Daniel Agger caught Cazorla high on his shin, but nothing was awarded. Agger then saw a late header go wide from Gerrard’s free kick, Fabianski came out for the ball but couldn’t connect. On his afternoon’s performance the unlikely Gunners’ hero had earned that tiny slice of luck. And let’s just keep more than an eye on the talented 21 year old Sanogo and his work rate both with and without the ball. His long term future and Arsenal’s immediate FA Cup future both look assured.