Arsenal scored four second-half goals as they ended non-league Lincoln City’s outstanding FA Cup run with an emphatic 5-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium.
The National League visitors, roared on by 9,000 supporters, began at a high tempo, pressing Arsenal’s defenders at every opportunity.
But the home side had the first clear chance of the evening when Hector Bellerin found Aaron Ramsey, who steered a first-time effort wide.
And on 14 minutes they came even closer when a well-struck Theo Walcott effort was tipped against the post and away by Lincoln goalkeeper Paul Farman.
The visitors’ superb organisation, however, was making life tougher for Arsenal than they might have expected.
Arsene Wenger’s side could have eased the nerves after 17 minutes but Alex Woodyard made a fine challenge to keep the ball away from the lurking Alexis Sanchez inside the penalty area.
Lincoln forward Matt Rhead won a free kick when Shkodran Mustafi made a clumsy challenge on him deep inside the Arsenal half, but the ball in failed to cause any problems.
Kieran Gibbs tried to spark Arsenal into life with a low cross that was cleared by skipper Luke Waterfall, and after 27 minutes Arsenal made a change, bringing off Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who had an apparent hamstring problem, and replacing him with Mesut Ozil.
But Nathan Arnold gave Arsenal a real scare as the half-hour approached, cutting inside Laurent Koscielny before firing in an effort that Petr Cech tipped wide.
As the first half headed towards its closing 10 minutes Walcott scuffed a shot that took a deflection and was held by Farman, with the Gunners struggling to create sustained pressure against their hard-working opponents.
Their frustration was summed up in first half injury time when a loose ball fell to Ramsey, who could only curl an aimless effort high over the top, before an Ozil cross almost crept inside the far post before Farman scooped it clear.
But Walcott broke through seconds later when the ball came back to him via Giroud and Gibbs and he steered a low finish into the corner with the help of a slight deflection.
Alex Woodyard was booked for a foul on Gibbs in the early stages of the second half, and Ozil saw a curling shot deflect wide.
A fine save by Farman denied Olivier Giroud after he had found space and unleashed a low effort, with Gibbs somehow heading over from Walcott’s follow-up cross.
Arsenal were beginning the half strongly and pinning their visitors back — but the visiting defence stood firm until Giroud struck after 53 minutes.
A neat move involving Alexis Sanchez and Bellerin saw the ball cut back to the France international, who steered it home.
That was the cue for Arsenal to take complete control, and Bellerin was only just wide of the target as the game approached the hour.
But after 58 minutes it was 3-0, Sanchez and Gibbs linking up on the left for the latter to send in a low ball that ricocheted into the net off Waterfall.
It could have been 4-0 when Sanchez conjured a fine cross for Ozil but the Germany international got his header all wrong and the ball sailed over the top.
Sanchez did make it four when Bradley Wood failed to cut the ball out and the attacker raced away to curl a fine finish into the corner from the edge of the D.
Four became five soon after as Lincoln gave possession away to Sanchez on the left of the area and as the ball arrived with Ramsey on the right-hand side he took it around the keeper to smash home.
Substitute Adam Marriott curled a 25-yard free kick over the bar for Lincoln as the game entered its final few minutes, and Cech dived to stop and hold a Power effort a few seconds later.
Sean Raggett cleared a low Walcott cross as Arsenal went looking for a sixth.
When the Lincoln man was booked soon afterwards for a bad challenge on Ozil 25 yards out, Sanchez almost inflicted further punishment but his effort crashed back off the bar.
And when the final whistle blew, home and away fans joined forces to applaud Lincoln off the pitch after their memorable cup campaign.