Arsenal cruised into the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 5-0 win over Leyton Orient in their fifth round replay at the Emirates Stadium.
Marouane Chamakh opened the scoring after just seven minutes before Nicklas Bendtner added a brace to put the Gunners out of sight before half-time.
Bendtner completed his hat-trick – Arsenal’s first in the FA Cup for 18 years – from the penalty spot just past the hour mark, before substitute Gael Clichy struck to complete a routine victory and set up a quarter-final trip to Old Trafford which is likely to be anything but.
After their Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham City on Sunday, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger made 10 changes to his team, with reserve team captain Ignaci Miquel resuming the place at centre-back he was handed in the 1-1 draw at Brisbane Road and 19-year-old midfielder Conor Henderson making an accomplished first-team debut.
A decent early showing from Orient, who came into this match on the back of a 13-match unbeaten run, was halted by Chamakh’s first goal since November. Tomas Rosicky, the only survivor from Sunday’s loss at Wembley as Arsenal struggle with injuries to several key players, surges down the right and squared a pass for the Moroccan to sidefoot into the far corner.
Orient made a quick and notable response, with Thomas Carroll’s volley from a corner rebounding off one of the bodies in the crowded box, before Alex Revell steered Charlie Daniels’s low cross from the left wide of the near post.
After that, however, Arsenal’s class came fully to the fore, and they barely needed to move out of second gear as they starved Orient of the ball.
Orient came back from a goal down to force this replay, but Bendtner made their task twice as hard on the half-hour mark when he rose to meet Kieran Gibbs’s cross with a looping header that beat keeper Jamie Jones.
The Dane made it two for him and three for the Gunners just before the break when he worked half a yard of space on the edge of the box past Andrew Whing and fired a low, clinical strike inside the far post.
Arsenal resumed their authority over proceedings at the restart, with Abou Diaby flashing a strike just wide after a one-two with Chamakh and a mesmerising dribble into the box.
There was no way back for the cross-town visitors when Revell tripped Kieran Gibbs inside the area on the hour mark and Bendtner fired home from the spot to score his eighth of the season and the first Arsenal hat-trick in the Cup since Ian Wright’s third-round hat-trick at Yeovil Town in 1993.
That goal hailed a raft of substitutions. Arsenal switched Rosicky for Samir Nasri after the Czech took a nasty blow to the head before Jack Wilshere and Clichy came on in place of Bendtner and Diaby, the latter leaving the field with a 100 per cent pass completion rate.
Orient manager Russell Slade brought on Jonathan Tehoue – scorer of the equaliser at Brisbane Road – but any hope of a miraculous comeback had long since evaporated.
Clichy had been on the pitch less than 10 minutes when he rifled back across the keeper and into the far corner after Eboue’s cross was dummied by Chamakh and missed by Wilshere.
Cox almost gave the 9,000-strong away crowd something to cheer when he played the give-and-go with Carroll and got past Squillaci, but Manuel Almunia tipped the effort over the bar.
Orient owner Barry Hearn rewarded his players with a trip to Las Vegas by forcing this replay, but the club’s fans left North London hoping that what goes at the Emirates stays at the Emirates.