Date: 9th January 2016 at 5:24pm
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Arsenal began their challenge to become the first club in the modern era to win 3 successive FA Cups with a home tie to Sam Allardyce`s Sunderland today with both teams ringing the changes for completely different reasons.

Whilst the Gunners challenge for the Premier League the Mackems fight for league survival and both clubs wanted to protect their assets to a little extent, most notable Mesut Ozil got himself a well earned rest. Arsene Wenger was unable to make his usual cup goalkeeper changes as David Ospina apparently came down with a little niggle of some sort.

Petr Cech took his place.

The Gunners looked sluggish from the start, perhaps it was the midfield combination of Chambers, Ox and Iwobi unused to playing with each other, perhaps it was the weather, perhaps it was something they ate, whatever the reason they never got going and ultimately paid the price with Kieran Gibbs and Laurent Koscielny conspiring to make a complete balls of a routine clearance to allow Sunderland`s Lens in to smash the ball past Petr Cech. Lens found the inspiration in his goal to spend the next 75 minutes falling over every time he was touched.

The goal shook Arsenal out of their slumber and 8 minutes later drew level after some neat work from Theo Walcott saw his cut back met with precision by Joel Campbell to guide the ball into the back of the net.

Campbell`s Arsenal career took a while to get going but he seems to look more at home in this tea the more he plays, he would have been my MOTM if it wasn`t for the excellent Hector Bellerin.

In the second half Arsenal were relentless, pressuring Sunderland for almost the entire second half aside from when Sunderland hit the bar with a header not long after Oxlade-Chamberlain had hit the post from range.

However Arsenal took the lead after a lovely passing move saw Aaron Ramsey make a run into the box and got on the end of a Bellerin cut back to ease the nerves and give Arsenal the chance at making the 4th round. Funnily enough from that moment Sunderland stopped time wasting.

Three minutes later and it really was all over as that man Bellerin again laid on a wonderful assist with a slide-rule pass that took out 4 Mackem defenders leaving Giroud with the simple task of slotting home.

It was a well deserved victory to put Arsenal in the hat for the next round with the added bonus of putting odious runt, Sam Allardyce back in his box once again.

Next up, Liverpool!