Just 3 days after the devastating Carling Cup final, an experimental Arsenal side responded with a fine 5-0 victory over Leyton Orient, sealing progress to the quarter final matchup against Manchester United in 10 days time. 10 changes were made to the side, as only Tomas Rosicky kept his place from Sunday, with Ignasi Miquel making his second appearance and a debut given to 19 year old Conor Henderson.
Chamakh 7', Bendtner 30', 43', 62' (pen), Clichy 75'
It was not long until the London-born Irishman was involved. Coming inside from his left wing position, his pass to Bendtner was cut out by the Orient defence, but it fell to Rosicky, and he drove into the box before cutting back for Marouane Chamakh to sweep home. It's Chamakh's first goal since November, and with Robin van Persie out, it's a good sign to see him come back into form. Orient, however, would not back down, and had a chance moments later, but Revell flashed his shot wide, despite being unmarked. Like most of Orient's attack in the second half, the attack came down their left hand side, with the excellent Charlie Daniels, playing at left back, getting forward often. Emmanuel Eboue is not the best defender, and is often caught out when he's forward, and with Nicklas Bendtner, a forward by trade often found joining Chamakh in the middle, Arsenal did not have a lot of presence on the right flank. Combined with a rather high line considering the pace of the two centre backs meant that Orient had some decent half chances on the break, and they passed the ball well, attempting 499 passes, which is more than 13 of the 14 Premier League opponents this season, according to OptaJoe.
Lack of width was a problem for Arsenal in the original tie, and although Bendtner played more as a centre forward tonight, Arsenal were able to get enough width from their left flank to change the direction of the attack. Henderson, being a natural left footed player was more inclined to stay on the left wing rather than cut inside like Nasri and Arshavin do. That meant that Arsenal always had an option on the left when it became congested in the middle, and he was able to combine with Gibbs before the fullback crossed for Bendtner to head in for Arsenal's second. The third came soon after; good pressure from Rosicky won the ball back and Bendtner, taking up his favoured position cutting in from the left curled it in Henry-esque past the goalkeeper to make it 3-0.
At the beginning of the second half, Diaby made a weaving run through the Orient defence before shooting wide, but Orient started to put pressure on Arsenal, attacking down the Arsenal right. Miquel cut out one cross, but Eboue was constantly leaving space behind him, and there was too much pace for Squillaci to handle. Almunia made a good claim, and Gibbs made a crucial block to deny Orient a goal at the Emirates, and, given Arsenal's frail defence, a chance at a comeback. The possible comeback was soon over though. Gibbs' darting run into the box was cynically chopped down, and Bendtner put away the resulting penalty to get his hattrick and make it 4-0. At this point, subs were made, as Nasri came on for the injured Rosicky, and Clichy and Wilshere came on for Bendtner and Diaby. Clichy played an unfamiliar left-wing role, and preserved Arsenal's width, and after Eboue's cross evaded both Chamakh and Wilshere, he impressively fired home to score only his second ever Arsenal goal and his first at the Emirates. It was a nice moment, and no more than his 250 Arsenal appearances deserve. Orient still attacked and had a chance in the dying minutes, and Arsenal had a couple of chances on the counter attack, but they settled for 5-0 and a good response after Sunday.