Premier League leaders Arsenal showed their class as they comfortably beat north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 to book a place in the FA Cup fourth round in an electric atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Goals from forward Santi Cazorla and midfielder Tomas Rosicky, after 31 and 62 minutes respectively, sealed a smooth passage for the 10-times winners after an open contest in which the visitors played their part in a stirring contest.
Arsenal joined fellow top-tier sides Everton, Southampton, Stoke City, Crystal Palace, who won 2-0 at West Bromwich Albion, and Cardiff City, 2-1 victors at Newcastle United in their first outing under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, in progressing.
But seven-times winners Aston Villa crashed 2-1 at home to third tier Sheffield United in their third round tie.
Cup holders Wigan Athletic, relegated from the top flight last term, were held to a 3-3 draw by League One (third tier) MK Dons, while losing finalists and league title favourites Manchester City drew 1-1 at second tier Blackburn Rovers.
Arsenal, missing several first-choice players, took control against Spurs with some typically fast-flowing attacking play before Spaniard Cazorla scored his first FA Cup goal.
Arsenal’s French right back Bacary Sagna initiated the move with a surging run and pass inside to 18-year-old German winger Serge Gnabry who, after a run that drew three defenders, set up Cazorla for a thunderous left-foot drive from 20 metres.
Tottenham, urged on by their pocket of fans in a noisy crowd, rallied but their response stalled when Rosicky caught left back Danny Rose in possession and ran clear before scooping the ball over advancing French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
It was the Czech’s first goal of the season.
“I always try to put the opponent under pressure and it paid off – my first goal and against our main rivals, so it feels very good,” said Rosicky.