Arsenal were made to work hard for their place in the FA Cup fifth round before finally beating Brighton & Hove Albion 3-2 at the Amex Stadium.
In-form Oliver Giroud twice put the Gunners in front only to see
Brighton hit back first from Wayne Barnes and then Leonardo Ulloa.
The rested Theo Walcott though came off the bench to give Arsenal the
victory five minutes from time although he needed a huge deflection
from Adam El-Abd to score what ultimately proved to be the winner.
Arsene Wenger took the risky decision to rest a number of his in-form stars such as Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla.
Brighton must have taken heart from that as they started brightly and
they almost took the lead in the 15th minute when David Lopez played in
Barnes but Wojciech Szczesny made himself big and made a great save to
deny the striker.
The Seagulls were punished for that mistake just a minute later as
Arsenal took the lead. They attacked with pace and Lukas Podolski then
laid the ball off for Giroud on the edge of the area. There was still
plenty for the Frenchman to do but he expertly curled a powerful shot
into the corner of the net to give Arsenal the lead.
Brighton did not panic and stuck to their footballing principals. New
signing Ulloa had the ball in the net in the 31st minute but he had
strayed offside. However, two minutes later Brighton were back on terms.