Arsenal avoided an FA Cup giant-killing and spared manager Arsene Wenger further pressure with a hard-fought fifth-round victory over non-league Sutton United at Gander Green Lane.
Wenger made seven changes from the side thrashed 5-1 at Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie – and his players had enough to see off a team 105 places below them on English football’s ladder.
Lucas Perez’s cross-shot gave Arsenal the lead after 26 minutes and Theo Walcott doubled the advantage from close range 10 minutes after the break with his 100th goal for the club.
Victory set up a home quarter-final with another National League side, Lincoln City, who beat Burnley on Saturday.
Sutton had their moments, particularly when Adam May wasted a first-half chance from keeper David Ospina’s poor clearance, and Roarie Deacon’s fierce 25-yard drive struck the bar in the second half.
The result may have gone against them but the hosts emerged from this tie, and this FA Cup run, with huge credit.