Arsenal 2 Burnley 1
Chambers 19, Alexis 53, Vokes 30

They have this love affair with the FA Cup at Arsenal, and with their 2-1 win over Burnley at the Emirates on Saturday, the Gunners showed that they are not about to relinquish their grip of the famous old trophy. Burnley are doing good things in the Championship as they aim to re-join the Premier League at the first time of asking. The Clarets were bright and busy, and in Sam Vokes, they had the leveller to Calum Chambers opener for the home side. Andre Gray and Vokes then proceded to give the Gunners’ rear-guard a thorough examination, which Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny came through without further breaches. However Alexis Sanchez was on hand to finish off an intricate and exquisite Arsenal move for what proved to be a deserved winner for the Gunners.

Following the disappointing Premier League loss to Chelsea, Arsene Wenger was in the fortunate position of having the bulk of his squad available, with only Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Danny Welbeck the three players still needing time to fully recover from respective ankle and knee injuries. Mohamed Elneny was given his debut following his £7 million signing from FC Basle. The 23 year old Egyptian acquitted himself well in the middle as the more advanced to the returning Francis Coquelin who appeared as if his own personal near three month absence hadn’t happened. Coquelin had been a big miss, and as well as breaking up Burnley sorties and tidying up in front of his defence, the France midfielder even took time to guide Elneny through his positions at various times in the game.

Burnley made a lively start with Andre Gray’s turn and shot angling over David Ospina’s goal after just two minutes. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came back with immediate response hitting over the target. Earlier, Kieran Gibbs tried to play in Elneny to give him his first touch, but his under hit pass was seized on by Fredrik Ulvestad. Elneny gave chase, but clipped the Burnley man to give away free kick. Applause from the Emirates crowd to show their appreciation.

More pressure from Gray almost caught out Gabriel, but the Brazilian recovered to clear the danger. Alexis struck just wide from his first effort after six minutes, as now the Burnley defence were being tested.

Gray got the better of Koscielny, to force a fine save from Ospina, with Chambers’ drive hitting a defender after excellent work from Alex Iwobi and Elneny to win the ball back in midfield. It proved to be a sighter for Chambers. Arsenal, patient and purposeful began to pass the ball. Iwobi slipped in Alexis, whose clever through ball fed Chambers via a Ben Mee nutmeg. Chambers struck first time past a helpless Heaton for the opener after 19 minutes.

If Arsenal thought they would now just get into cruise mode, the Clarets would soon remind them that they would not lay down and give up so easily. The Gunners were unable to clear their lines as a player pinball game ensued. Burnley recycled, and Vokes headed from Tendayi Darikwa’s cross as Ospina dithered on his line. Gabriel and Koscielny seemed to switch off, but Burnley had levelled.

Three minutes before the break, Oxlade-Chamberlain fired at Heaton from an Elneny assist. Arsenal finished the half the stronger, Koscielny won possession to set up Iwobi, and an Alexis charge but that move just lead to a corner. Alexis then saw a deflected shot go for another corner, with the sides going in at one goal apiece.

Scott Arfield almost put his side ahead, as he went in on Ospina, but fired tamely as the angle narrowed. With their first telling move after the break, Alexis put the Gunners ahead again. After his two month absence, the Chile striker finished off slick move, and his clinical finishing showed us what we had been missing. Iwobi started a swift break, and fed Alexis. His quick pass to Giroud, and the ball was swept out to Iwobi, and then to Oxlade-Chamberlain. His cross fell right for Alexis to cushion in a goal of swift precision. Arsenal started to fire and only Scott Arfield’s clearance from Koscielny kept the scores at 2-1.

Burnley went in search of another leveller and the alertness of Koscielny cleared the Vokes danger with Ospina exposed.

On came Tomas Rosicky to huge cheers and his every touch was subsequently cheered too. Alexis was caught by Michael Keane and was awarded a free kick, which he took himself. Heaton was alert to push the ball away. Elneny saw a shot fly just wide of Heaton’s upright, and substitute Theo Walcott wont want to be reminded how he managed to squander a one on one with the Burnley ‘keeper after being put through by Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Arsenal were made to work for the win and remain on track to retain their FA Cup for a second consecutive time