Arsenal 4-0 Coventry : Match Report
After the lights went out at the Emirates, Coventry could do nothing to dampen Arsenal's mood as the Gunners progressed into the fifth round of the FA Cup as their bid to end their nine-year wait for silverware continued.
It seemed as if Arsene Wenger was taking the competition seriously with the selections of Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscienly. The Frenchman had made six changes from his side's 2-0 win over Fulham last weekend, but it was still a strong and intimidating eleven who came out onto the slick, perfect Emirates turf.
Arsenal began the game exceptionally well, overwhelming their League One opponents with relentless waves of sustained attack. After fifteen minutes, the Sky Blues resistance was broken. Lukas Podolski fired the hosts ahead, collecting Ozil's beautifully-weighted pass, evading the keeper and finishing clinically.
Steven Pressley's side came very close to equalising after the captain Carl Baker followed up a powerful 40 yard run with a fierce shot to test Polish keeper Lukasz Fabianski.
The Gunners soon doubled their advantage with a goal strictly Made in Germany. It was as simple and old-fashioned as you like, after Gnabry's corner was flicked on by Mertesacker with Podolski heading in at the far-post.
It was much-distinguishable story in the second-half, with the visitors pressing higher up and causing Arsenal a few adversities. Leon Clarke, who had handed in a transfer request after interest from Wolves, was through on goal and saw his effort thwarted by Fabianski, and then hit the woodwork a couple of minutes after, prompting animated reactions from Pressley on the Coventry touchline. With Arsenal's tempo having dropped, the Sky Blues had wasted two fantastic goal-scoring opportunities.
With the League One side in the ascendancy, Wenger was forced into changes. The introductions of Gedion Zelalem, the first player to feature for Arsenal who was born after Wenger took charge, and Santi Cazorla for Chamberlain and Bendtner respectively was swiftly followed by the introduction of Olivier Giroud for Podolski. The trio brought some much-needed fresh-legs and intensity back into the game of the hosts.
Their place in the fifth round draw hat was ensured by Giroud after the French international converted Gibbs's inviting cross. Cazorla, scoring after Jenkinson's shot was saved with the rebound, added gloss to a score-line which refused to tell the full story.
Coventry, particularly in the second period, posed Arsenal problems. Cyrus Chrisite was a constant threat on the right-side, with midfield trio of Baker, Fleck and Thomas playing well. Franck Moussa came searching for the ball at times while Clarke had his chances in what could be his last game in a sky blue shirt.
It was also an opportunity for the travelling Coventry supporters to vent their frustration on the big stage at having to play "home" games 35 miles away at Sixfields in Northampton. With the clock on 35 minutes, sheets of paper and banners were held up with the word "Why?", followed up with "When?" after 61 minutes while singing the Sky Blues song which was written by Jimmy Hill, who became Coventry manager in 1961. A pitch invader protesting against Sisu, the owner of the League One outfit, rounded off a mixed night for the Sky Blues.
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