Nicklas Bendtner’s classy hat-trick booked an enticing FA Cup quarter-final at Manchester United as Arsenal swatted aside Leyton Orient in simple fashion.
League One Orient were routinely swept aside in this fifth-round replay, but Arsenal’s crushing disappointment from Sunday’s failure to collect their first trophy since 2005 – after losing the Carling Cup final to Birmingham – was hard to hide at a muted Emirates Stadium.
The hosts initially looked like they lacked a spring in their step, but fears of further agony evaporated in the seventh minute with a goal of typical Arsenal quality.
With Irish debutant Conor Henderson – another ball-playing midfielder – probing for a gap through the back-line, the 19-year-old’s deflected pass was pounced on by Rosicky who swiftly sped to the bye-line to clip a square ball through the legs of Charlie Daniels across the box.
Moroccan striker Chamakh held his position to coolly side-foot the through the legs of Terrell Forbes from eight yards out, right into the corner of the net, for his first goal since the end of November.
Orient hit back soon after as Ignasi Miquel’s poor headed clearance fell for Ben Chorley. But his full-blooded volley was blocked a team-mate who had crouched in front of Manuel Almunia, who nevertheless had it covered.
Bendtner had appeared marginally disinterested, but that illusion was shattered over the course of an illuminating 20-minute spell from the Danish forward before half-time. His first goal, in the 27th-minute, was a superb effort as he leapt high to outmuscle Daniels before guiding a looping header past the reach of O’s keeper Jamie Jones from a floated Gibbs cross. With that, Arsene Wenger’s team took complete control.
The second from Bendtner, who insists he has the talent to eventually become one of the world’s best strikers, was even better that the first. Pouncing on a loose ball, he stalked into the area while teasing the ball just in front of Andrew Whing to find a gap before curling a low shot perfectly past Jones into the far corner.
The hosts remained in second gear after the break although Orient, with impressive Daniels a constant outlet down the right, did at least try to conjure a sense of adventure. Abou Diaby should have added Arsenal’s fourth in the 50th minute after he danced round host of defenders on a charge towards goal. But, after a fine on-two with Chamakh set him free inside the box, he dragged his low shot just wide.
It finally came in the 62nd minute when Gibbs shimmied his way into the area only to be felled by Revell, who looked uncomfortable defending.
Bendtner’s penalty finish was true and unerring as he completed his hat-trick before being taken off, though not before nearly gifting a goal to the east Londoners as he dallied while covering at right-back.
Emmanuel Eboue’s testing ball across the box evaded O’s defenders, was dummied by Chamakh, and just eluded substitute Jack Wilshere. But French left-back Clichy ran onto it like a stream train to propel a powerful low finish just inside the far post past over-worked Jones.