Nicklas Bendtner’s hat trick helped Arsenal rout Leyton Orient 5-0 in a fifth-round FA Cup replay and Manchester City eased past Aston Villa 3-0 to also make the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Marouane Chamakh and Gael Clichy were the other scorers at Emirates Stadium for Arsenal, which bounced back from its defeat to Birmingham in Sunday’s League Cup final to set up a last-eight match against Manchester United on March 12.
City will host second-tier side Reading next after the Premier League big spenders brushed past a weakened Villa side thanks to goals by Yaya Toure, Mario Balotelli and David Silva.
Stoke-West Ham and Birmingham-Bolton are the other fixtures in the quarter-finals of the knockout competition.
Orient, which plays in England’s third tier and was the lowest-ranked club left in the FA Cup, earned a deserved 1-1 draw in the first game between the teams on February 20, but the replay couldn’t have been more one-sided.
Chamakh netted his 12th goal of the season — and first since the end of November — when he slipped home a neat finish in the seventh minute following a surging run from Tomas Rosicky, who went off injured in the second half.
Cup for City?
Bendtner opened his account for the night by looping a header into the corner from left back Kieran Gibbs’ cross in the 30th and made it 3-0 by curling in a low finish from 20 yards in the 43rd.
The Denmark striker completed the second hat trick of his Gunners career from the penalty spot, converting low to his left after Gibbs was fouled by Alex Revell.
Clichy, on as a substitute for Gibbs, drilled in the fifth goal to wrap up victory in the 75th.
With City facing lower-league opposition in the last eight, the FA Cup may be the team’s best opportunity for silverware this season.
The team was helped by Villa making eight changes to the side that was in starting action in the Premier League at the weekend.
Toure pounced quickest when Patrick Vieira’s header hit the shoulder of Ciaran Clark and popped up invitingly for the Côte d’Ivoire midfielder to ram home from six yards in the fifth.
Toure turned provider in the 25th, passing to Balotelli who produced a superb finish with the inside of his right foot from 15 yards.
Silva, back in City’s side after missing the league draw at home to Fulham because of injury, completed the win by shooting a low, left-footed drive past Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel.
City, third in the Premier League and has made it through to the last 16 of the Europa League, haven’t won a trophy in 35 years. — Sapa-AP