London: Arsenal put on a fine display of flair and discipline to beat Chelsea 3-1 in their FA Cup quarter final replay on Tuesday, helped by an own goal from John Terry and fine strikes by Sylvain Wiltord and Lauren.
Chelsea, who came from behind to draw 2-2 at Highbury in the teams’ first meeting three weeks ago, pulled one back 11 minutes from time when Terry scored with a diving header.
In a keenly contested tussle, Chelsea enjoyed most of the possession but Arsenal used all their guile and speed to rip the home midfield to pieces twice within 10 minutes in the first half.
Arsenal, who remain on course to repeat their league and Cup double of last season, made light of their numerical disadvantage in the final 24 minutes after defender Pascal Cygan was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Chelsea’s eagerness to make amends for their 0-2 Cup final defeat by the champions last season often left them exposed at the back and the league leaders exploited the weakness.
It was France striker Sylvain Wiltord who broke free in the 24th minute and accelerated through the middle before passing to compatriot Pattrick Vieira. Hapless Chelsea captain Terry, selected 48 hours ago for the first time for England’s senior squad, turned Vieira’s penalty-box through ball into the net.
Vieira, who had been doubtful for the game after nursing a nagging knee injury, was instrumental in Arsenal’s second goal too. He picked up the ball well into his own half and left the Chelsea midfield standing with a blistering run down the centre. He slipped a pass to Wiltord on the left and the striker had no trouble tucking his shot past ’keeper Carlo Cudicini in the 34th minute.
Arsenal striker Thierry Henry was injured by a coin thrown from the crowd towards the end of the match, manager Arsene Wenger said.
“Henry was hit by something. He said it was a coin and he told the official,” Wenger said after the match at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground.
“There were cameras and maybe they can isolate the incident,” Wenger said. “You have to ban these people because one day they will throw something different.”