Even though Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert earlier in the week stated that playing in the FA Cup was a big inconvenience, the competition is still of importance and a source of excitement especially for fans of the two North London Premier League teams as Arsenal hosted Tottenham in FA Cup third round action. From the beginning it was clear that the game would be an open, end to end affair as both teams had some early chances to take an early lead.
Tottenham once again came out playing in the preferred 4-4-2 formation which Tim Sherwood has gone with ever since he took over for Andre Villas-Boas with Roberto Soldado and the recently inspired Emmanuel Adebayor starting upfront. For Arsenal, Arsene Wenger decided against his own reservations to start with Theo Walcott as the lone striker with Serge Gnarby on the right wing.
If Wenger had reservations about Walcott playing up the middle as opposed to down the wing, those must have been dispelled during the game as each time Arsenal went on the attack, Walcott proved to be a fine distributor and creator from a more central position as well as linking up well with Gnarby. Speaking of Gnarby, it was his fine run into the penalty area and pass that allowed Santi Cazorla to fire a left-footed shot past Hugo Lloris for the opener.
As the game entered the second half, Tottenham continued to look to get forward in an open affair where each time Arsenal were able to attack on the counter they appeared a threat to score as they were overrunning the Tottenham midfield with ease. This proved to be the catalyst for Arsenal’s second as Tottenham defender Danny Rose committed the cardinal sin of playing with the ball as the last defender only to be pick-pocketed by Tomas Rosicky who did well to keep composure to increase the Arsenal lead to 2-0 and seal a win.
While the FA Cup may have been an inconvenience for some, it proved to be anything but for Arsenal as they showed they continue to go from strength to strength in terms of confidence in their play and ability to win in any style in league or cup play. For the 18th consecutive season, Arsenal find themselves through to the fourth round of the FA Cup, and they did so by beating their most bitter rival.