Arsenal 4 (Podolski 15, 27, Giroud 84, Cazorla 89) – Coventry 0
Man of the Match – Lukas Podolski (Arsenal)
It was rather easy-peasy stuff for the Gunners as they thumped League One Coventry comprehensively to move into the 5th round of the FA Cup. With an opportunity to rest players in a hectic upcoming schedule, Arsene Wenger blooded in Lukasz Fabianski, Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski and Niklas Bendtner in the starting line up. Young Gedion Zelalem, was named on the bench.
Struggling Coventry, going through financial woes, and currently playing their home games, er, away from home, due to ground leasing issues, came into the game having beaten AFC Wimbledon, Hartlepool and Barnsley in the previous rounds.
It was business as expected, as Arsenal pounded Coventry from the word go. Lukas Podolski had the first attempt of the game, when his effort went over the bar from close range off a Carl Jenkinson cross. The German had another effort blocked, having been set up by Jack Wilshere, before Chamberlain’s effort went wide from outside the penalty area.
It however did not take long for the Gunners to strike, as Mesut Ozil delightfully set up his compatriot Podolski, who rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home. Coventry soon had their first attempt on goal, forcing Fabianski into an acrobatic save. Captain Carl Baker ran a long distance, before ferociously shooting. It was the only chance the visitors would create in the first half.
Niklas Bendtner was at best average on the night, and he saw a shot being blocked out for a corner, while the impressive Serge Gnabry bamboozled the Coventry defence, before skying his effort. It was 2-0 within minutes as Per Mertesacker headed a corner into the path of Podolski, who had the easy task of bundling the ball home.
Coventry fans, despite being 2-0 down, held up placards as signs of protest against the current status of the club, and found great support from the Arsenal fans, as they applauded the plight of the visitors. On the field, Chamberlain set up Gibbs, but the keeper came out quickly enough to block.
More efforts went begging, as first Serge Gnabry couldn’t convert a cross from Kieran Gibbs, and then Carl Jenkinson’s cross went unharmed across the goal. It should have been 3-0 and a hat-trick for Podolski, after a right wing cross from Jenkinson, but his effort off his long foot went over the bar.
The Emirates then was a view to behold, as everyone held up their phones to make up for the loss of floodlights in some corners of the ground. Jack Wilshere had the chance to set up Podolski, but choose to shoot, an effort which went wide, as Arsenal took the 2-0 lead into the break.
Coventry looked to hit back, early in the second half, with top scorer Leon Clarke, who recently handed in a transfer request, beating the Gunners’ defence, but not Fabianksi as the Gunners’ keeper made a good save. He had another effort moments later, as Chamberlain lost the ball in midfield with Coventry managing to quickly set up Clarke, but this time his effort struck the bar, with Fabianski in no position to make the save. Mertesacker gave Chamberlain a earful after his miss pass.
Arsenal managed to steady the balance of play, and looked to get a 3rd goal themselves, with some fine passing in midfield, with no end product. When they did manage to play in the final ball, they were usually met with disappointment, with Bendtner shooting wide on one occasion, having failed to control the ball.
Coventry carved out another chance through Daniels who shot over, as Arsenal failed to build on good attacks. Podolski, on one such moment, decided to cut back when shooting was the better option. It more of looked like a training exercise, with Arsenal opting not to exert themselves too much, and Coventry already looking beaten.
The manager decided to bring on Cazorla and Zelalem in place of Chamberlain and Bendtner. Zelalem made history by becoming the first player to play under Wenger, having been born after the manager took over the reigns at the club in 1996.
The impressive Lukas Podolski was replaced by Giroud, who had an instant impact on the game. Ozil released Gibbs on the left hand side, whose pass was effectively finished by Giroud to make it 3-0. The home side then quickly created more chances, with both Giroud and Cazorla shooting over. It was 4-0 soon enough, as Cazorla slotted home a rebound off a Jenkinson shot. It could’ve been 5-0, but Ozil’s effort struck the bar.
So, another comfortable victory taking us to the next round of the FA Cup, which sees us now hosting Liverpool which makes for a tough stockpile of fixtures in February/March.
8th February – Liverpool (A) – Premier League
12th February – Manchester United (H) – Premier League
16th February – Liverpool (H) – FA Cup 5th Round
19th February – Bayern Munich (H) – Champions League Knockout Stages 1st Leg
22nd February – Sunderland (H) – Premier League
1st March – Stoke (A) – Premier League
8th March – Swansea (H) – Premier League
11th March – Bayern Munich (A) – Champions League Knockout Stages 2nd Leg
15th March – Tottenham Hotsp*r (A) – Premier League
22nd March – Chelsea (A) – Premier League
29th March – Manchester City (H) – Premier League
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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