Robin van Persie Puts Arsenal Into the Fourth Round, def. Plymouth Argyle, 3-1

Martin BentleyCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2009

Arsenal progressed into the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win over Championship side Plymouth Argyle at the Emirates Stadium.

Robin van Persie, given the captain's armband in the absence of stand-in captain Manuel Almunia, scored twice for the Gunners, with an own goal from Plymouth's David Gray completing the scoring. Karl Duguid scored the only goal for the Pilgrims.

After a goalless first half which featured an impressive showing from Plymouth goalkeeper Romain Larrieu, Arsenal struck just a minute into the second half when Samir Nasri's corner found Van Persie, who headed the ball into the Argyle net.

Arsenal were 2-0 up three minutes later, when Van Persie crossed in for Nicklas Bendtner, only for Gray, on loan from Manchester United, to turn the ball into his own net.

Three minutes later, Plymouth grabbed a goal back, as Duguid scored after Arsenal failed to clear Argyle's free kick, and the ball fell to Duguid to slot it past Lukasz Fabianski, leading to a nervy 20 minutes for the home side.

However, Van Persie calmed things down on 85 minutes when after his chip was knocked down by Larrieu, he collected the rebound and put the ball into the empty net.

Arsenal had more bad news, however, as Mikael Silvestre limped off near the end of the first half, and he has been ruled out of action for three weeks with a thigh problem. With Kolo Toure also out of action, Arsenal may do well to secure an extra defender during the transfer window.