Arsenal made it through to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with a 1-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers on Wednesday, with a Theo Walcott goal enough to ensure progress to the next round.
The visitors came close to taking the lead virtually straight from the kick-off. The ball was launched forward and Kongolo hit an effort from around 25 yards out that David Ospina had to get down low to save.
The home side went up the other end soon afterwards. Mohamed Elneny played the ball into the box for Theo Walcott. The winger beat his defender before attempting to fire back across Ian Lawlor, only for the Rovers goalkeeper to save the effort with his legs.
The Gunners were slightly unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty when Butler wrestled Olivier Giroud to the ground in the Rovers penalty area. Arsenal continued to press forward and Giroud came close to scoring a superb opener, as he attempted an audacious scissor kick that smashed back off the bar.
On ten minutes, Lawlor was in action again saving a long-range free-kick from Alexis Sanchez. Giroud headed an Elneny cross off target in the Gunners latest effort on goal. The home side got the goal that their play had deserved on the quarter hour mark.
Sanchez played a superb ball over the top of the Doncaster defence to Walcott, who took a touch and then flicked past the helpless Lawlor. Arsenal continued to dominate possession and create chances.
Jack Wilshere was the next to try his luck for the Gunners just before the half-hour mark. The midfielder hit a powerful effort from the edge of the Doncaster area that went just over Lawlor’s bar. Sanchez also saw an attempt on goal from 25 yards out fly wildly over the visitor’s bar.
Walcott saw a shot blocked by the Doncaster defence, as Arsenal looked for the second goal that possibly decisive goal. Doncaster had their best chance of the first half on the stroke of half-time, as May hit a first-time effort into the side netting from 12 yards out.
The Gunners had the first attempt of the second period very early on as youngster Reiss Nelson hit an effort that was always rising and heading over the bar.
Walcott missed an excellent opportunity five minutes into the second period. Giroud played the England international through on goal, but his effort hit Lawlor before going over the bar.
The visitors then actually started to work themselves back into the game and Rowe miss-hit an effort from the penalty spot. Just prior to the hour mark the home side threatened again, though, as Giroud attempted an acrobatic effort that was rather hit into the ground then and then headed away from goal.
The Frenchman was involved again a few minutes later, as he hit the deck in the penalty area after a challenge from Wright. However, the referee waved play on much to the striker’s anger. The Gunners kept searching for a second goal and Lawlor produced a good save at his near post from Maitland-Niles.
The visitors started to become more confident in the last twenty minutes and Butler headed over from a Mandeville corner kick. Substitute John Marquis had a chance to equalise just seconds after his introduction, but the striker could only fire over the bar with a first-time shot.
The side became increasingly nervous and with just five minutes left on the clock, Mandeville saw a shot deflect just wide of the far post. A minute later the visitors came even closer to levelling the scores, as Blair saw a header form a corner kick tipped over the bar by Ospina.
Arsenal broke up the other end, though, Sanchez found Giroud over the top of the visitor’s defence, but the striker fired straight into the side netting as the Gunners looked to put this game to bed. Wilshere also saw a shot blocked by Butler’s head.
There was still time for Alex Iwobi to hit a shot straight at Lawlor, which turned out to be the final shot of the game. The Gunners made it to the fourth round in the end, but at least Doncaster made a game of it at times in the second half.
Who was Arsenal’s man of the match against Doncaster Rovers?