FA Cup, England, March,3-2011 – Arsenal set up a clash against Manchester United in the last eight of the FA Cup with a 5-0 thrashing of Leyton Orient.
The Gunners showed no sign of a hangover from the shock of losing to Birmingham at Wembley on Sunday as the Npower League One side were brushed aside in clinical fashion.
Marouane Chamakh set Arsene Wenger’s men on their way in the seventh minute with his first goal since the end of November, before Nicklas Bendtner’s well-taken double put the result beyond doubt ahead of the interval.
The Denmark striker completed his treble to boost his hopes of playing against Barcelona in the Nou Camp this time next week from the penalty spot, with full-back Gael Clichy netting a rare effort with 15 minutes left.
Only Tomas Rosicky, who would later become another untimely Arsenal injury casualty as he limped off, remained from the starting XI left crestfallen at Wembley. Teenage defender Ignasi Miquel made his first home appearance and 19-year-old winger Connor Henderson a senior debut.
Centre-back Laurent Koscielny was, officially at least, rested because of a minor hamstring problem, while keeper Wojciech Szczesny – the other guilty party in Sunday’s dramatic and costly mix-up which gifted the Blues a last-gasp winner – warmed the bench to give him a break from the spotlight.
Samir Nasri, Jack Wilshere, and Andrey Arshavin were also among the substitutes should they be needed to help get the job done at the second time of asking.
Tonight’s replay – earned after Orient forced a last-minute equalizer at Brisbane Road 10 days ago – was expected to bring in around £700,000 for the League One side, who are set for a trip to Las Vegas on chairman Barry Hearn at the end of a season which could yet finish with promotion via the play-offs.
The Os were cheered on by some 9,000 fans, most having traveled more in hope than genuine expectation of a cup shock which would be off the scale compared to Sunday’s result at Wembley.
Chamakh was deployed in Robin van Persie’s role at the spearhead of the attack, with the Dutchman set to be out for around a month with a knee injury picked up in scoring the equalizer against Birmingham.
The Moroccan settled any early nerves when he put Arsenal ahead from close range.
Rosicky darted into the right side of the Orient box before cutting the ball back to the penalty spot, where Chamakh guided a shot into the bottom left corner to take his tally to 12.
Orient almost produced a response when Ben Chorley, a former Arsenal trainee, sent an angled volley goalwards from a corner that was deflected over.
The away fans behind the far Clock End thought Alex Revell had steered in an equalizer from Charlie Daniels’ cross, but the ball only rippled the side-netting.
Arsenal was soon back on the offensive and doubled their lead on the half-hour when Bendtner sent Kieran Gibbs’ cross back into the top-left corner with a looping header from 12 yards.
It was 3-0 in the 43rd minute when Bendtner cut in from the left and curled a low strike into the far corner, for his sixth goal of the season.
Abou Diaby should have made it four at the start of the second half when he waltzed through the Orient defense but dragged his low shot wide.
Orient refused to lay down and caused more than one moment of panic in the hosts’ six-yard box.
However, Arsenal was then awarded a penalty on 61 minutes when Gibbs was tripped by Revell.
During the break-in play, Rosicky, who had picked up an injury, was replaced by Nasri. Bendtner smashed the spot-kick into the bottom-left corner to complete his hat-trick, a second for Arsenal.
Wilshere and Clichy were given run-outs for the final 24 minutes, replacing Bendtner and Diaby.
The French full-back drilled number five into the bottom corner for his first goal since November 2008 as Arsene Wenger’s men booked a mouth-watering clash against their Barclays Premier League title rivals at Old Trafford on March 12.