LONDON (AP) — Tottenham fans pelted Arsenal forward Theo Walcott with coins as their team was overpowered 2-0 in a hotly-contested London derby in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Arsenal had already scored its goals in the third round fixture when the fierce rivalry turned ugly in the final ten minutes as Walcott was being carried off on a stretcher.
Despite his knee injury, Walcott used his predicament as a chance to taunt the Tottenham fans, signaling the 2-0 score with his fingers as he was carried around the Emirates Stadium pitch.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insisted that the gesture came after — not before — Tottenham fans hurled coins and bottles at Walcott and the medics carrying him.
"The doctors said to me that the coins had been raining over (Walcott's) head and they had to protect him, maybe that is why he did that (gesture)," Wenger said.
"After that, what he did is not offensive. You look for every single incident, I can understand that, but it is an action that didn't offend anybody."
Arsenal had already done enough to book its place in the fourth round by that stage, seeing out the final minutes with 10 men as its three substitutes had been used before Walcott was injured.
Santi Cazorla swept in the opener in the 31st minute, and the second goal came after a further 31 minutes when Tomas Rosicky charged forward from the halfway line before lifting the ball into the net.
"We played very collectively and tactically very well," Rosicky said. "We always have the quality to score goals."
The victory maintained Arsenal's bright start to 2014, a year when Wenger will hope to produce the team's first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup.
The Gunners are also top of the Premier League they haven't won since 2004 and in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Tottenham, though, has only one realistic chance of ending the season with silverware in the second-tier Europa League.
In the three weeks since managerial novice Tim Sherwood replaced Andre Villas-Boas, Spurs have been knocked out of both domestic cup competitions.
But Sherwood has overseen a Premier League revival, collecting 10 out of a possible 12 points as Tottenham has climbed to within two points of the top four, in sixth place.
Looking to maintain that momentum, Sherwood made only one change from the side that won at Manchester United on Wednesday, with 19-year-old midfielder Nabil Bentaleb making his first Tottenham start.
Wenger, though, had the luxury of making five switches from the side that beat Cardiff 2-0 on New Year's Day and Arsenal still was in the ascendancy throughout.
"We had good discipline and were tight at the back," Wenger said. "With quick, sharp passing we looked dangerous."
Tottenham's best chance was squandered 10 minutes into the second half, as former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who was jeered throughout, struggled to make a clean connection with Aaron Lennon's cross.
As Tottenham's back-line continued to crumble, Walcott was unfortunate not to score, curling a low shot wide before being forced off when he was having a great impact leading the attack.
"He had a fighting attitude," Wenger said.