Arsenal beat Hull comfortably to progress to FA Cup fourth round

When his number finally went up, the Emirates Stadium rose as one. There were 84 minutes on the clock when Alexis Sánchez was permitted the rare luxury of a short breather, but by then the Arsenal striker had done his damage. As he walked past Arsène Wenger to take his place on the bench, the Arsenal manager offered him a casual hand-shake. He ought to have bear-hugged him.

Sánchez set up the first goal and he scored the second one late on, a sharp spin on the edge of the area and trademark curled finish for his 16th goal of the season, as Arsenal began the defence of their FA Cup by shrugging aside the team they had beaten in the final last May. But it has come to the point where Sánchez’s excellence has come to feel like the norm. Time and again he has made the difference since his arrival from Barcelona last summer. Where would Arsenal be without him?

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