Arsenal have booked their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup after coming away from their fifth round tie against non-league side Sutton United with a 2-0 victory.
Goals from Lucas Perez and Theo Walcott concluded business for the Gunners at the Borough Sports Ground in Gander Green Lane, with the North Londoners now setting a date with Lincoln City, also from the National League, at the Emirates Stadium next month.
Despite a total of 105 league places between the two sides, Arsenal took until the 15th minute to construct their first real attack of the night, as Elneny signed off the move with a wild shot over the crossbar.
Arsène Wenger’s men took their chance to catch Sutton’s backline out when it came, as Lucas was sent down the right flank before cutting in and aiming a pass at Walcott; a ball that was missed by the forward, but subsequently led into the far corner in the 26th minute after deceiving the hosts’ goalkeeper.
Just three minutes later, the Gunners had Sutton’s men chasing their counter once more through Walcott, but the Englishman couldn’t keep his shot from range at goal-height.
Arsenal’s number 14 led the charge once more in the final exchanges of the first half, whereas this time it was Alex Iwobi who claimed responsibility to shot at goal with an effort deflected just wide of the post.
David Ospina offered the home side renewed hope on brink of half time, however, after gifting Adam May with a loose short pass, but the Sutton midfielder failed to keep his shot on target from his weaker foot.
With greater purpose in the second period, it didn’t take long for Arsenal to find success at the away end, as Nacho Moreal’s low cross was tapped in by Walcott for his 100th career goal and the Gunners’ second of the night in the 55th minute.
Sutton retaliated through Jamie Collins after their first corner of the game just five minutes later, but the captain of the U’s couldn’t direct his header at goal with Ospina obstructed.
Roarie Deacon then left the Colombian goalkeeper and much of the ground stunned with a clean effort from 25 yards, as the crossbar denied the ex-Arsenal man of any joy against his former club.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took his chance to go on a searching run from the left flank in the 68th minute, but the quality of the winger’s delivery will have let many of his teammates disappointed after evading them all inside the box.
The 23-year-old took centre stage once more as the game drew to a close when attempting to arc a shot into the far corner, but the effort was parried away comfortably by Ross Worner between the sticks, as Sutton settled for a respectable 2-0 defeat against Premier League opposition.
Arsenal will now welcome Lincoln, victorious against the likes of Oldham Athletic, Ipswich Town, Brighton & Hove Albion and Burnley, to the Emirates Stadium in approximately three weeks’ time.
By Patrick Ribeiro
David Ospina (4); Gabriel Paulista (5), Shkodran Mustafi (7), Rob Holding (6), Nacho Monreal (6); Mohamed Elneny (5), Granit Xhaka (6); Theo Walcott (7), Jeff Reine-Adelaide (4), Alex Iwobi (6); Lucas Perez (8)
Subs: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (7), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (6), Alexis Sanchez (6)