Perez, Walcott help Arsenal see off spirited Sutton in the FA Cup
As expected Arsenal progressed into the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, but a hard-working performance from a committed Sutton United side ensured it wasn't plain sailing. Lucas Perez opened the scoring in the first half, and Theo Walcott got his 100th Arsenal goal early in the second period, but there were moments of danger from the non-league side.
Former Gunner Roarie Deacon was a constant threat, and he rattled the crossbar with a fizzing drive from outside the box, while uncertain goalkeeping from David Ospina meant there were times when Arsenal looked a bit exposed.
The Premier League side struggled with the artificial surface at times too, but ultimately had enough in the tank to progress where they'll meet another non-league side, Lincoln City.
Another goal for Perez shows just how effective he can be, and amidst reports that he's unhappy it was another reminder that he's a player with real end product. At the back, Rob Holding was quietly assured throughout, the young centre-half hasn't played much this season but looks very promising every time he does.
Arsenal's overall performance wasn't particularly fluid, they still look like a side struggling for confidence. Ospina's goalkeeping was unconvincing at times, but beyond that nothing particularly stood out as a negative. They were just a bit flat.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- A routine enough win for Arsene Wenger with a team with a fair few changes to it.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK David Ospina, 4 -- He made some wonderful saves in Munich last week, but his performance tonight is why people have doubts about him. Got away with a terrible mistake late in the first half when he simply passed to an opponent on the edge of his own box.
DF Gabriel, 7 -- Did well, got forward down the right, and defended solidly throughout.
DF Shkodran Mustafi, 6 -- Really needs to work on his passing, he gives it away too often, although it's generally when he's trying something ambitious to get the team going.
DF Rob Holding, 8 -- Quietly impressive, just got on with his job, used the ball well, was aware of danger and looks very composed for a young man.
DF Nacho Monreal, 7 -- Defended bravely at times, and was involved in the second goal, his ball from the left was turned in eventually by Walcott.
MF Mohamed Elneny, 6 -- Fell victim to the artificial pitch, picking up a calf injury during the first period and was replaced at half-time by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
MF Granit Xhaka, 6 -- Kept things ticking in the centre of the park but a silly first-half yellow card meant he had to be a little reserved. At least he showed he could do that.
MF Jeff Reine-Adelaide, 5 -- A bright prospect but caught on the ball too many times when he had simple options to take instead. That will come with experience.
MF Alex Iwobi, 5 -- He's such an exciting player but looks a little short on confidence at this moment in time. Could probably do with sometime out of the spotlight.
MF Theo Walcott, 7 -- Got a landmark goal, his 100th in an Arsenal shirt, and it was a simple but tidy finish.
FW Lucas Perez, 8 -- The Spaniard really deserves to play more. There was a touch of good fortune to his goal, but he has a positive effect on the team almost every time he's on the pitch.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 6 -- He was bright at times, and produced one superb run which saw a Sutton defender mime a head-butt at him as he hurtled beyond him into space. A surreal but funny moment.
MF Ainsley Maitland-Niles, N/R -- Tidy in midfield when he came on, he works hard.
FW Alexis Sanchez, NR -- There wasn't any real need to give him playing time, other than for the home fans to say they saw a player of his calibre at their ground.
Andrew Mangan is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter: @arseblog.