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FA Cup

  • January 24, 2014
  • • 2:45 PM
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: R. Madley
  • • Attendance: 59451

Arsenal 4-0 Coventry: Podolski hits double as Gunners cruise into FA Cup fifth round

Arsene Wenger's side made light work of the Sky Blues with the German scoring twice in the first half as the hosts eased to victory against the League One side.

Arsenal cruised into the fifth round of the FA Cup with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Coventry City at the Emirates Stadium.

Lukas Podolski opened the scoring for the Gunners, slotting home after being sent through by Mesut Ozil before adding a second with a far post header just before the half-hour mark, before Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla added late strikes.

Arsene Wenger named a strong lineup for the clash against League One opposition with Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Lukas Podolski all featuring, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his first start since August.

By Liam Twomey
Arsene Wenger's team selection suggested he is taking the FA Cup deadly seriously this year, and his players produced a performance to match his intentions. Arsenal jumped all over Coventry City from the start, built on its dominance with two first-half goals and never looked back.

Lukas Podolski was sharp in a rare start while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain showed promise through the middle and Gedion Zelalem got his senior Arsenal career underway with a low-key 20 minute cameo.

Despite a second-half rally Coventry never threatened a serious comeback, and well before the final whistle their fans were more concerned - and understandably so - with staging a protest against the club's owners for their ongoing dispute with the administrators of the Ricoh Arena.

For Wenger, the most important thing is his team never looked in real danger and has cruised its way into the next round. On the evidence of the season so far it will take a very good team to beat them.
The hosts showcased their superiority in the opening stages, with Carl Jenkinson looking particularly threatening at right back, and it was no surprise when Arsenal took the lead in the 15th minute after a wave of attacks.

Podolski collected Ozil's nicely weighted pass and calmly rounded Murphy before firing into an empty net.

After being a spectator for the early part of the match, goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianksi had to be on guard to maintain Arsenal's lead when tipping Carl Baker's 20-yard strike over the crossbar following a fine solo run.

Yet things worsened for the visitors 27 minutes in when Per Mertesacker flicked Ozil's corner to the back post and Podolski headed home from close range.

From there Arsenal was queuing up to try and get on the score sheet.

Jenkinson dragged an effort across goal, while Podolski spurned a chance to secure his hat trick by blazing high and wide from the edge of the box.

After being overrun in the first half, Coventry almost halved the deficit early in the second when Clarke broke free on the right — only to shoot straight at Fabianski.

Clarke came even closer in the 57th minute. Franck Moussa finished a surging run by laying into the path of the striker, whose left-foot effort from the edge of the box hit the woodwork.

Looking to restore calm, Arsenal could have pulled further clear after the hour mark when Nicklas Bendtner shot wide from 8 yards after strong buildup play.

With the game petering out, Wenger replaced Oxlade-Chamberlain with 16-year-old Gedion Zelalem, the first player to feature for Arsenal having been born after the Frenchman took over at Arsenal in October 1996.

Fellow substitute Giroud - who replaced Podolski - made it 3-0 in the 84th minute when he met Kieran Gibbs’ cutback to drive home from 8 yards.

There was still time for Arsenal to score again, Cazorla on hand to finish after Jenkinson's initial effort had been saved, while Ozil hit the post in injury time.

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