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Arsenal enjoy derby win over Spurs Vila out of FA Cup

LONDON, Jan 4, (AFP): Arsenal reached the FA Cup fourth round after a fine Santi Cazorla strike set Arsene Wenger’s men on their way to a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. Cazorla struck in the 31st minute of an entertaining contest at the Emirates Stadium with a drilled left-foot shot past visiting goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Tomas Rosicky added a second for the Gunners in the second half, dispossessing Danny Rose on the halfway line before coolly beating Lloris, to seal a convincing win. By then, Arsenal were already in the driving seat courtesy of an unlikely source on this season’s evidence in front of goal. It was only Cazorla’s second goal in 22 Arsenal appearances this season, after he found the net 12 times in his debut campaign following his £15 million ($24.6 million, 18.1 million euros) switch from Malaga in August 2012. Cazorla seems to save his goals for the big occasion, however, with his other strike this term coming in a home success against Liverpool in the Premier League. The Spaniard’s firm finish gave the hosts a deserved advantage after a breathless opening half hour. There was a red-hot atmosphere for the teatime kick-off and both sides flew out of the traps in a bright opening.

But that was little surprise, given both sides’ recent form. Premier League leaders Arsenal claimed three straight wins over the festive period, while Tottenham had been boosted by their away win at Manchester United on New Year’s Day. The visitors started well, roared on by 5,000-plus Spurs fans, and thought they had broken the deadlock in the ninth minute. Laurent Koscielny could only watch his clearance fly straight into the stomach of Christian Eriksen and the Dane galloped onto the loose ball, only to see his shot deflected behind for a corner. But, as the half wore on, Tim Sherwood’s men could not get to grips with Arsenal’s extra man in midfield as well as the individual quality of Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and the impressive Serge Gnabry, with Theo Walcott also a threat in the lone striker role. Walcott, who filled the void left by injured strike pair Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner, forced Tottenham goalkeeper Lloris to make a scrambling save low to his right with a shot from outside the penalty area.

In the 13th minute, Walcott caused havoc for the Spurs defence once again as his left-foot effort deflected off Vlad Chiriches and spun wide of Lloris’s right-hand post.
Arsenal looked to drive home their increasing dominance with the opener, but Gnabry fired over the crossbar.
Thomas Vermaelen was booked for a late challenge on fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele and then had to time his tackle on Roberto Soldado just right minutes later.
Last man Rose tried to turn out of danger on the halfway line, but only conspired to allow Rosicky to nip in, race clear and clip the ball over the advancing Lloris.
The only sour point came when Walcott had to be stretchered off after a late injury and incited the Spurs fans by making a 2-0 gesture with his hands. Bottles and other objects were thrown by the visiting fans in response.

Aston Villa suffered an embarrassing FA Cup exit as Ryan Flynn’s late goal gave League One strugglers Sheffield United a shock 2-1 win in the third round.
Villa manager Paul Lambert described the FA Cup as a “distraction” in the build-up to the tie and insisted most of his fellow top-flight managers would rather do without the competition.
That scathing assessment of the world’s most famous domestic cup competition came back to haunt Lambert as United made a mockery of the 51 places separating the teams in the league structure.
Nigel Clough’s side are languishing in 18th place in the third tier, but they never looked out of their depth at Villa Park and took the lead through Jamie Murphy in the first half.
Nicklas Helenius looked to have spared Villa’s blushes when he equalised with 15 minutes left.
But Flynn’s superb strike in the 80th minute gave United their first win at Villa since January 1966 and condemned the hosts to a humiliating exit.
Lambert insisted he hadn’t meant to disrespect the Cup and made it clear he was disappointed to have gone out in such tame fashion.

That just made Villa’s defeat even more dispiriting and Lambert might have feared it wasn’t going to be their day when defender Nathan Baker had to withdraw after suffering an injury in the warm-up.
The Blades took the lead in the 20th minute when Murphy made the most of some hesitant Villa defending to cut in from the left flank and drill a hard low shot which appeared to take a deflection off Andreas Weimann on its way past goalkeeper Jed Steer.
Christian Benteke missed two glorious chances to equalise for Villa in the final minute of the first half, twice heading wide after misjudging crosses from Marc Albrighton.
Villa struggled to muster any attacking threat in the second half until the 70th minute when Albrighton set up Benteke who toe-poked his shot straight at United goalkeeper George Long.
Lambert’s team finally grabbed a scarcely deserved equaliser in the 75th minute when Weimann’s shot took a big deflection and found young Danish midfielder Helenius, who fired home for his first ever Villa goal.

But Flynn restored United’s lead in the 80th minute, cutting across the edge of the area before driving a fine left-foot shot past Steer to send 6,000 visiting fans wild and leave Villa to face a chorus of boos from their own supporters.
In the day’s two other all-Premier League ties, goals from Dwight Gayle and Marouane Chamakh gave Crystal Palace a 2-0 win at West Bromwich Albion and Fulham drew 1-1 at Norwich City.
Everton crushed Championship high-fliers Queens Park Rangers 4-0, with Nikica Jelavic claiming a brace, while Southampton edged Burnley 4-3 in an entertaining game at St Mary’s.
Hull City won 2-0 at Middlesbrough and Stoke City defeated Championship leaders Leicester City 2-1.
Wigan’s trophy defence began in uncertain fashion as they were held to a 3-3 draw by third-tier Milton Keynes Dons.

Goals from Roger Espinoza and Jordi Gomez put Wigan 2-0 up, but Ben Reeves struck twice in two minutes to draw MK Dons level and, after Callum McManaman restored the hosts’ lead, Patrick Bamford scrambled home a late equaliser.
Millwall, semi-finalists last year, crashed out of the tournament after an embarrassing 4-1 defeat at fourth-division Southend United.
Bolton Wanderers belatedly exacted revenge for their 4-3 loss to Blackpool in the 1953 final by beating their Championship rivals 2-1, while Leeds United fell to a shock 2-0 defeat at Rochdale.
Meanwhile, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, non-league Macclesfield Town, claimed a 1-1 draw at home to second-tier Sheffield Wednesday thanks to a 72nd-minute equaliser from Steve Williams.   

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