1-0 Olivier Giroud 27'
2-0 Olivier Giroud 29'
I guess The Magic Of The FA Cup is a bit more effective against Manchester City than it is against Arsenal these days, because Middlesbrough did not pose the same threat in this Fifth Round matchup as they did at the Etihad Stadium last month. Arsenal had little issue dealing with Boro's occasional forays forward, and while there weren't a ton of chances created, it really didn't feel like the visitors were ever in the game.
The end product came from Olivier Giroud, all in a three minute burst in the first half. Giroud's first came at the end of a period of sustained Arsenal pressure. He and Danny Welbeck had tried a few times to combine and hadn't quite gotten on the same page, with Welbeck looking visibly frustrated. But shortly after, a combination play between (clears throat) Alexis Sanchez, Welbeck, Santi Cazorla, and Kieran Gibbs ended in a Gibbs cross that Giroud put in without a fuss.
The second was less a product of teamwork and more from poor set-piece defending and a bit of individual brilliance from Giroud. Arsenal drew a corner and for some reason, Middlesbrough left a ton of space between the Arsenal line and the goal. Alexis put his corner in that space, and no defender was able to track Giroud's run. The ball ended up on the corner of the six-yard box and although it was a tough angle, Giroud first-timed it in with his left foot.
Aside from that, there wasn't a lot to see. Arsenal pretty much ground Boro into dust and although the final score was "only" 2-0, it really never felt that close. Defensively Arsenal were sound, with Calum Chambers playing well on the right and Wojciech Szczesny handling his goal well. Gabriel also looked good in his first appearance with the team, also getting his first English yellow card in the course of stopping a late Middlesborough break. Welcome to the team!
The draw for the quarterfinals will be tomorrow at 2:30pm Eastern (that's 7:30pm in England). The possible opponents:
- Aston Villa
- West Bromwich Albion
- Bradford City
- Blackburn Rovers
- the winner of tomorrow's match between Manchester United and Preston North End