Bendtner grabs hat-trick to set up tantalising tie in Manchester

Arsenal 5 Leyton Orient 0

So to Old Trafford where, a week on Saturday, Arsène Wenger's team face Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals for what will be the first game in a two-part skirmish for the spoils of English football this season. After a brief interlude Wenger v Sir Alex Ferguson is back on.

It has been a while since United and Arsenal have been carving up the major trophies between them. Not much has changed for United over the past five years but Wenger admitted last night that for Arsenal it felt good to be back at the sharp end again with two games against United that will go a long way to deciding the destiny of the Premier League and the FA Cup.

After the disastrous defeat to Birmingham City in the Carling Cup final on Sunday it has been a much better three days for Wenger. He saw Chelsea beat United in the league on Tuesday – which means that if Arsenal win every one of their remaining 11 games they will be champions, simple as that. And there was the small matter of a thrashing for Leyton Orient last night and a Nicklas Bendtner hat-trick.

The Arsenal manager said that while Chelsea's win at Stamford Bridge was welcome he still felt his side, four points behind United in second place, would have stayed in the race whatever the score. "It's down to our results," Wenger said. "I have said that for a long time, it depends how consistent we will be with our results. That will decide the league.

"I know that we play Manchester United at home [on 1 May] and of course we will see where we stand when we play against them. What is important is that we are strong at home. Since November our results have been very consistent at home. It is not special that we are playing United, what is important is that we are in the race."

He admitted that it would be "difficult to say" how he and United would approach the FA Cup tie in nine days' time. "For us it will be after Barcelona [in the Champions League] and for them it will be before the Champions League [second leg against Marseilles]. Of course the result against Barcelona will have an effect."

There will be no Cesc Fabregas playing in Saturday's game against Sunderland, Wenger said, though the captain has a chance to play against Barcelona next week. "I don't think he will be involved on Saturday – no chance," Wenger said. "But we will try with him on Sunday and Monday and have a final test on Monday morning."

There was more detail on the injury to Robin Van Persie, which is to a ligament at the back of his right knee. Wenger said he was optimistic about Van Persie's recovery but that it will not be healed before the international break towards the end of this month.

For Bendtner it was a strange night. He did not look bothered at the start and some of his more careless touches were greeted with groans from the home support. He left the pitch to a rapturous applause on 66 minutes having wrapped up his third goal from the penalty spot and put himself in contention to start against Barcelona on Tuesday.

Certainly Bendtner impressed more than Marouane Chamakh who, having score the first goal, did precious little else to tell Wenger he is the natural replacement for Van Persie. Was Bendtner the favourite to start in the Nou Camp? "It puts him in contention to play against Sunderland," Wenger said. "Frankly for us that is a vital game. If we beat Sunderland we are in a great position so all our focus is on that game."

Leyton Orient, for their part, were never in this tie. By the time their supersub Jonathan Tehoue came on after 65 minutes his team were four goals down. The captain Stephen Dawson and the impressive Dean Cox worked hard but this game had gone in the seventh minute when Chamakh turned in Tomas Rosicky's cross.

"They were ruthless really with the first three goals," said Russell Slade, the Orient manager. "Three attacks, three opportunities and three goals."

Bendtner's first was a header from Kieran Gibbs's cross for which the striker had to generate all the power to get the ball up and away from Jamie Jones in Orient's goal. His second was a shot curled in at the far post with his right foot just before half-time.

A foul on Gibbs by Alex Revell provided the penalty for Bendtner's third after the hour. On as a substitute Gaël Clichy scored only his second Arsenal goal. There was an Arsenal debut for the 19-year-old Conor Henderson on the left side. The next nine days will provide much tougher tests.

Arsenal (4-3-3): Almunia; Eboué, Squillaci, Miquel, Gibbs; Diaby (Clichy, 66), Denilson, Henderson; Bendtner (Wilshere, 66), Rosicky (Nasri, 62), Chamakh. Substitutes not used Sagna, Djourou, Arshavin, Szczesny (gk).

Leyton Orient (4-1-4-1): Jones; Whing, Forbes, Chorley, Daniels; Carroll; Revell (Mpoku, 79), Crowe (Spring, 65), Dawson, Cox; McGleish (Tehoue, 65). Substitutes not used Omozusi, Chambers, Butcher (gk), Cestor.

Referee L Mason (Lancashire).

Four memorable United v Arsenal FA cup ties

1979 Final: Man United 2-3 Arsenal Terry Neill's side were 2-0 up with four minutes left before United levelled. Alan Sunderland then scored a late winner.

1999 Semi-final replay: Arsenal 1-2 Man United Peter Schmeichel's penalty save forced extra time. Then Ryan Giggs ran half the pitch for the winner.

2003 Fifth round: Man Utd 0-2 Arsenal Giggs missed an open goal as Edu and Sylvain Wiltord settled matters.

2008 Fifth round: Man Utd 4-0 Arsenal Goals from Wayne Rooney, Darren Fletcher (two) and Nani earn revenge.

Revised sixth-round draw

Saturday 12 March

Birmingham City v Bolton Wanderers

Manchester United v Arsenal

Sunday 13 March

Stoke City v West Ham United

Manchester City v Reading

general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before