Arsenal set to face Norwich after seeing off Doncaster
Theo Walcott strike is enough to send Gunners through to the next round of the Carabao Cup
21 September, 2017 — By Paul Cowling
Carabao Cup Third Round
ARSENAL 1 (Walcott, 25), DONCASTER ROVERS 0
ARSENAL comfortably saw off League One side Doncaster Rovers last night (Wednesday), despite only managing a narrow 1-0 scoreline.
A Theo Walcott goal mid-way through the first half was enough to set the Gunners up with a fourth round meeting with Championship side Norwich City.
The sparsely occupied upper tiers meant this was the lowest crowd to watch a first team game at the Emirates Stadium, with just over 44,000 at this low-key match.
After the game manager Arsene Wenger said his side “started well”, but failed to build on their early momentum.
“We had a good pace to our game, and played well for the first 35 minutes,” he said.
“Then we decreased and we just couldn’t get that second goal. But we still did our job.”
Unsurprisingly there were 11 changes from the side that drew at Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday.
Alexis Sanchez was a surprise inclusion, while Calum Chambers made his first Gunners start for over two years. Jack Wilshere also made the line-up, his first start in 493 days.
Olivier Giroud had the first real chance. Wilshere flicked on to the French forward, but his spectacular bicycle kick hit the cross bar.
Doncaster keeper Ian Lawlor then stuck out a foot to deny Walcott, while minutes later he palmed away a swerving Sanchez free kick.
The inevitable opening goal came on 25 minutes; Sanchez providing the pass of the night for Walcott, who’s one touch control allowed him to neatly lob over the keeper and in to the net.
Walcott should have doubled his, and Arsenal’s tally, at the start of the second half. But the winger showed his inconsistency as he hesitated before sending a meek effort over the bar.
By the hour mark, the South Yorkshire side were enjoying their brightest attacking spell.
But when clean through on goal, striker Alfie May’s lower league pace was exposed by the speed of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who chased and gathered the ball effortlessly despite giving May a good head start.
Doncaster kept going to the end. David Ospina was called into action when he tipped over a speculative header from Matty Blair as the game approached its conclusion.
But Arsenal were never in any real danger of a shock equaliser, and will now set themselves up for Monday night’s Premier League visit of West Brom.
ARSENAL: Ospina; Chambers (Dasilva, 46′) Mertesacker, Holding; Wilshere, Elneny; Nelson (Willock, 84′), Maitland-Niles; Walcott (Iwobi, 75′), Sanchez; Giroud
Substitutes not used: Monreal, Akpom, Macey, Nketiah
DONCASTER: Lawlor; Blair, Wright, Butler, Mason; Whiteman, Houghton (Alcock, 62′), Kongolo, Rowe, Coppinger (Mandeville, 62′); May (Marquis, 75,)
Substitutes not used: Williams, Marosi, Toffolo, Garratt