By STEVE DOUGLAS
2014-03-08 11:22 PM
LONDON (AP) -- Arsenal reached the FA Cup semifinals for the first time since 2009 with a 4-1 win over Everton and Manchester United kept alive its faint top-four hopes in the Premier League by beating West Bromwich Albion 3-0 on Saturday.
Substitute Olivier Giroud scored two of Arsenal's three goals in the final 22 minutes as his team became the first to advance to the last four of the cup.
Mesut Ozil got his first goal in three months to give Arsenal a seventh-minute lead, Romelu Lukaku equalized in the 32nd before Mikel Arteta put the hosts back in front with a twice-taken penalty in the 68th.
Phil Jones, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck scored for United at The Hawthorns to move the beleaguered champions up to sixth, provisionally nine points behind fourth-placed Manchester City.
In one of four other Premier League games later, Chelsea can extend its lead to seven points by beating Tottenham.
Arsenal has dropped off the pace in the Premier League title race by winning just one of its last four matches, and is unlikely to progress beyond the last 16 of the Champions League after a 2-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich in their first leg.
That means the FA Cup has become a priority for the Gunners, who are without a trophy since 2005, and it took the 61st-minute introduction of Giroud to turn what had been a tight contest against Everton.
The France striker, on for inexperienced and ineffective compatriot Yaya Sanogo, gave Arsenal more presence up front to allow the team's attacking midfielders to shine.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was tripped by Gareth Barry for a penalty, which Arteta needed to convert twice -- the first was ruled out for encroachment by Giroud -- to give Arsenal the lead for the second time in the match.
Giroud sidefooted home Bacary Sagna's cross from close range in the 83rd and, after another flowing move, Ozil supplied a center for Giroud to apply another simple finish two minutes later.
Ozil has been criticized by English media in recent weeks while some Germany supporters directed their ire at the playmaker during the midweek friendly win over Chile. Yet Ozil found his form here, scoring, assisting and tracking back -- much to the delight of Arsenal fans at Emirates Stadium.
A defeat to West Brom surely would have left United with too much to do to qualify for next season's Champions League but the result wasn't in doubt from the moment Rooney headed in Rafael da Silva's cross in the 65th, adding to Jones' opener in the 34th.
Welbeck made the three points completely safe in the 82nd.
City, which plays Wigan in the FA Cup on Sunday in a repeat of the 2013 final, has two games in hand over United in the league.