Arsenal outclassed Middlesbrough 2-0 to secure a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday night at the Emirates Stadium in a dull affair. Gabriel Paulista got the nod in the starting eleven for his debut while Tomas Kalas and Daniel Ayala were unavailable for Boro. A clash between the holders and Championship leaders was meant to be mouthwatering as both sides were out to stamp their authority.
The Gunners combined well going forward inside the opening ten minutes of the match however they failed to utilise possession to their advantage. All the failure was put to dust by two quick goals from Olivier Giroud in the 27th and 29th minutes. The 28-year old goal poacher was a sleeping giant in the early exchanges but made his mark to put Boro on the back foot.
The Championship side was outclassed throughout the half and headed to the tunnel trailing by two goals to nil leaving Aitor Karanka with a lot of talking to do at half-time. As was the case in the first stanza, it was Arsene Wenger’s men who were running the show with Boro chasing shadows in the second period. The Gunners threw everything at the visitors but lacked killer instinct in front of goal, however the question as to how many goals would come from their superior play was still hanging.
A rare Boro attack came in the 65th minute but it was nowhere near the goal. Debutant Paulista’s sloppy play in the 74th minute gave the visitors a corner but nothing came of it, instead it inspired the home side to push forward. The visitors hit the woodwork later in the match but that wasn’t enough to see them making a comeback or denying the Gunners a place in the quarter-finals.