I really enjoyed that. The performance was almost delayed from Tuesday's match against Leicester. The players on the pitch did not match what we saw on the pitch for the most part on that night but it was very different at home to the side that knocked out Manchester City in the last round.
Boro came to the Emirates full of confidence as you would expect from a team that hasn't lost in a long while. Not only that but they have been keeping clean sheets for fun, including a shut out against Manchester City.
Arsène has regularly been criticized for being too rigid in his approach to games but I'm not sure that is justified criticism, especially this season. We've played a number of systems, playing different styles of football. Yesterday we played a fun attacking 4-2-3-1 with Mesut Özil moving back into the middle but it was not at the expense of Santi Cazorla, the player of the second half of this season played in the number 8 position. It's a central pairing I've wanted to see all season but didn't think I'd see it happen very often. Perhaps that explains the choice of the two hard working wide attackers.
I thought it worked a treat as we swarmed all over the championship team, our football was fluid and creative on the ball yet we were aggressive when we did not have it.
Middlesbrough could not get out of their half and it is difficult to know if that was by design or just by our quality on the day.
Özil and Cazorla were pulling the visitors all over the place, especially with Alexis driving at their players from all areas of the pitch. It must have been a nightmare to defend against. It was certainly enjoyable to watch.
We were knocking on the door before our goals, some of our interchanging to get into scoring positions was nice. Unless your team is able to play with that fluency and speed, it is very difficult to break down a defensive minded team like Boro but we made it look easy at times.
The first Giroud goal was very pleasing on the eye. It didn't register at the time that the entire team had a touch of the ball before Giroud's finish. The passing in the final third was played at a speed we rarely saw during the first half of this season. Minutes later Giroud scored his second and killed off the game as a contest. Alexis spotting his early movement towards the near post from a set piece and the Frenchman swept home his brace on the volley.
From that point on, it was just about controlling the game and we did that. We were happy to have the ball and keep it, rather than continuing to push on. With the players on the pitch that may have been enjoyable but safety through to the quarter finals without risking tiredness or injury may not be exciting but it is certainly sensible.
I am intrigued to know if we will see a similar set up at Crystal Palace this weekend. I'd expect the likes of Ospina, Bellerin and Mertesacker to come back into the team and I guess we'll see what Arsène thinks about the balance of that team away from home against Premier League opposition.
New boy Gabriel didn't put much of a foot wrong even if he wasn't tested a great deal. Interesting to note that he was the centre back primarily with the task of playing the ball out from the back while Koscielny sat deeper of the two. Bigger tests await him, perhaps even in the next round of the cup which takes place tonight.
I'd love another home draw but something tells me we'll get a tricky away tie this time.
I am hoping we see more of that football served up to us yesterday. The games will be coming thick and fast and we look like we are capable of playing very creative football. Oh how I'd have loved to have seen this Arsenal come off pre season closer to what we see today. It's taken a while to get there due to many reasons but hopefully we'll show that there is plenty to play for this season.
For more on the game check out last night's Q&A. The post match podcast is being recorded shortly, so check but tonight for that.