Lights Out for Sky Blues: Arsenal 4 – 0 Coventry – Report & Player Ratings

Final Score
Arsenal 4 – 0 Coventry

After overcoming Fulham in the Premier League, Arsenal turned their attention to the FA Cup. Troubled Coventry were the opponents, and they were looking to put up a fight. [quote_right]”Baker actually managed to completely turn Mertesacker outside the box, and pulled off a great shot, which Fabianski had to tip over…”[/quote_right]

As expected, The Gunners started the game very much on top.

Ozil, Gnabry, Wilshere in particular were pinging the ball around with ease. Back heels, dummies and cute passes around Coventry’s box were becoming easier and easier.

For a while, chances were being created, but not finished. Some truly immense crosses from both Gibbs and Jenkinson went begging as Bendtner kept static, and Podolski put one over the bar.

But eventually, the goals came. In the fifteenth minute, Ozil picked the ball up in the hole and beautifully played in Podolski. The German rounded the goalkeeper and finished with ease.

Coventry responded though, through Baker. The plucky midfielder picked up the ball in his own half, wiggled past Wilshere and Chamberlain, and continued on towards goal. Baker actually managed to completely turn Mertesacker outside the box, and pulled off a great shot, which Fabianski had to tip over.

It didn’t take Arsenal long to increase their lead though. In the twenty-seventh minute, Gnabry took a corner, which Mertesacker headed on towards the back post. Lukas Podolski was in the right place once again, where he was able to nod the ball into an open net.

Chances were few and far between leading up to half time, with both teams accepting the scoreline as fair.

A few minutes before the half time whistle, the Floodlights at the Emirates turned off, with only a handful returning to full power. There was still plenty of light, but all the fans in the stadium saw the funny side, and whipped out their mobile phone torches, shining them towards the pitch. The result was actually rather beautiful.[quote_left]”[Following floodlight failure] fans whipped out their mobile phone torches, shining them towards the pitch. The result was actually rather beautiful…”[/quote_left]

The second half wasn’t as lively as the first by any margin.

Coventry were the better team for most of the second period, as they produced some energetic runs in behind Arsenal’s back four. They got their full-backs forward, closed Arsenal down, and kept their passing tight across the pitch.

Arsenal weren’t ever in a state of panic though. Coventry came close after dispossessing Chamberlain and hitting the post, but never made Fabianski work otherwise.

The game remained steady for a while, before Wenger made all three of his subs. Zelalem, Cazorla and soon Giroud all came on to replace Bendtner, Chamberlain and Podolski.

It took until the eighty-fifth minute for Giroud to add to Arsenal’s lead. A good low cross from Gibbs found Giroud, who held his run to ind space. The Frenchman put his foot through the ball first time, putting it into the bottom corner.

Just five minutes later, Cazorla made it four for Arsenal.

Jenkinson found himself through on goal after some clever play around the box from Zelalem, Wilshere and Cazorla, but his shot was parried. Thankfully, the miniature Spaniard was there to smash the ball home.

The second half wasn’t great for Arsenal in terms of their general play, but it was a highly-professional performance, sealing a solid win.

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[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]

Fabianski: [7/10]
Saved brilliantly from a long-range effort in the first half, and kept out a very late consolation goal too. Mis-controlled a back pass and gave away a corner, but no harm done.

Jenkinson: [7.5/10]
Put in a couple of excellent crosses, none of which were pounced upon properly. Linked up with the midfield very well all game, and worked hard all game.

Mertesacker: [7.5/10]
Had little to do, but did it well, for the most part. Baker managed to turn him in the first half to get his shot away, which was weird, seeing as he’d survived such moves from the likes of Suarez and Van Persie. Apart from that, no problems. Did very well to get the assist for Podolski’s second too.

Koscielny: [7.5/10]
Coventry were using their pace to get in behind Arsenal’s back four, but Koscileny was always alert to the danger. Defended very well in general.

Gibbs: [7.5/10]
Had a pass or two go astray in the first half, but Gibbs grew into the game. He made intelligent runs and overlaps behind Podolski, and managed to grab an assist for Giroud. Went missing at the back once or twice though.

The Ox: [6/10]
Not a great game for Chamberlain. He didn’t defend particularly well, and he lost possession in a dangerous area, leading to a shot off the post for Coventry. In fairness, he is fresh back from a four-month injury, in a defensive midfield position, so it’s not terribly surprising that he didn’t do too well.

Wilshere: [7/10]
Jack wasn’t great defensively, getting skipped past once or twice, and earning a yellow via a late sliding tackle. His passing was average at times, but he soon picked up the pace and pinged some beautiful balls across the pitch. Looked a little more comfortable in the second half.

Podolski: [8.5/10] – MOTM
Lukas was energetic, intelligent in his movement, and finishes off two good moves with two good finishes. He could have got himself a hattrick, but nevertheless, he was Arsenal’s most effective attacking theat all game. He also defended very well. Let’s see more of him, Arsene.

Gnabry: [8/10]
Serge really looks to be a player. He made good runs on and off the ball, and played some really impressive passes and crosses, and tried to help Jenkinson defend when needed. Supremely comfortable on the ball, and wasn’t afraid to shoot either.

Ozil: [7/10]
No goals again? Is this guy as good as they say? Is what the typical football fan is saying. What they aren’t seeing is the epic first touches that find space, or the cute passes which lead to chances indirectly. Oh, and the assist for Podolski’s first, of course.

Bendtner: [6/10]
Let’s be honest, he’s just not that good. He missed the ball twice whilst trying to shoot this evening, and didn’t attack a single one of the great crosses put in by Gibbs or Jenkinson. Plus he missed from around ten yards out. Spend the cash, Arsene.

Subs:

Zelalem: [7/10]
First player to play under Wenger who was actually born after Wenger became Arsenal manager. He did well, too. Played a nice pass or two, looked comfortable on the ball, and kept things moving nicely. 

Cazorla: [8/10]
Came on and had a blinder to be fair. Little tricks and clever passes here and there, plus a good spell of play leading up to his own goal, which was albeit an easy finish. Could (and should) have had two, but he blasted another chance over.

Giroud: [7.5/10]
Came on, lashed a cross into the bottom corner, looked good, went home. Same again on Tuesday lads.

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[title]Lights Out for Sky Blues[/title]

It was pure professionalism from Arsenal tonight. There was no panic, just four fine goals worthy of putting The Gunners in the hat for the next round of the FA Cup.

Podolski played very well, but the real event of the night – for me at least, was the dodgy floodlights. The mobile phone torch show from the fans was genuinely a spectacle. Worth watching the highlights just for that, if the four goals haven’t intrigued you.

In the end though, it was lights out for Coventry,quite literally. The win from Arsenal was expected, and delivered. But now, we need to take the confidence into Tuesdays away game at Southampton, where the win will be significantly harder to achieve.

Image: Arsenal

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