Arsenal: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Gnabry, Podolski, Bendtner
Subs: Viviano, Sagna, Monreal, Zelalem, Flamini, Cazorla, Giroud
Arsenal went through to the 5th round of the FA Cup with a 4-0 win over Coventry City at the Emirates tonight.
There were starts for Jenkinson, Fabianski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski and Bendtner as Arsene Wenger shuffled his pack, with youngster Gedion Zelalem on the bench.
The Gunners had the first shot on goal in the 3rd minute, a short corner routine saw Wilshere find space at the edge of their Coventry box but his effort was skewed wide.
As expected Arsenal had most of the ball and Lukas Podolski might feel he should have opened the scoring in the 9th minute when he skied a good Jenkinson cross over the bar from close range.
Podolski saw another effort blocked after good build-up play from Jack Wilshere, while Oxlade-Chamberlain flashed a half-volley over the bar from just outside the area.
The goal was coming and after the away fans spent time Oléing a spell of possession, they lost the ball in midfield, Wilshere played it Ozil, he fed his compatriot who went around the keeper and buried it into the far side of the net from a tight angle.
Despite Arsenal’s dominance, Lukasz Fabianski was forced into a fantastic 18th minute save, tipping a fizzing drive from Coventry captain Baker over the bar. Bendtner saw a shot blocked out for a corner, before Serge Gnabry did some stepovers then whacked a left footed shot over.
Arsenal kept pressing and Gibbs got forward to win a 27th minute corner. From the set-piece Mertesacker flicked it on to the back post, Podolski arrived and headed it in from close range to make it 2-0.
It was all Arsenal and as the Coventry fans held up signs to protest at the state their club is in, they were generously applauded by the home fans. Oxlade-Chamberlain then played antastic pass through the defence to find Gibbs but the first touch was too heavy and the keeper came out well to claim.
Serge Gnabry should have scored from a good Gibbs cross before a Carl Jenkinson cross shot fizzed across the face of goal. And in the 38th minute, Podolski missed a glorious chance to seal his hat-trick. Jenkinson stormed down the right, pulled a great ball back which the German came onto, but he fired his right footed shot over the bar from inside the area.
There was some off-field high jinks when a good number of the floodlights failed, but with enough light to continue after consultation with the captains. Wilshere might have set up Podolski after a storming run but shot wide, much to the frustration of the former Cologne man, and with the lights still dimmed, Arsenal took the two goal lead into the half-time break.
The second half began with the visitors determined to make a game of it and they had the first chance of the second period. Leon Clarke beat the offside trap, got in behind the Arsenal defence, surged towards goal, and took a shot from the right of the goal but Fabianski stood up well to make the save.
He came even closer to a goal a few minutes later when Oxlade-Chamberlain lost the ball in midfield. It came to Clarke just outside the Arsenal area, and his first time shot rebounded off the outside of the post with Fabianski rooted to the spot.
Arsenal responded with a flowing move from back to front with Gnabry, Bendtner, Wilshere and Gibbs all involved but there was no joy with the final ball. Great passing between Wilshere and Ozil set up a half chance for Nicklas Bendtner, but the Dane couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet and shot wide.
Coventry had another site of goal when Daniels shot over after finding space at the edge of the Arsenal box, before another Arsenal move ended when Podolski chose to cut the ball back rather than shoot.
The game became a bit flat with Arsenal conserving energy ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League clash with Southampton, captain Per Mertesacker grew frustrated, however, at the lack of movement ahead of him.
Arsene Wenger decided it was time for a change and brought on Cazorla and 16 year old Gedion Zelalem for Bendtner and Oxlade-Chamberlain. The youngster became the first player born after Arsene Wenger took over at the club to make his debut for Arsenal.
Podolski was then replaced by Giroud as Arsenal continued to play with the handbrake on, and another handbrake on top of that just to make sure. Despite that, Arsene Wenger’s men extended their lead in the 84th minute.
Mesut Ozil held the ball up well down the left hand side, he played it to Gibbs, who drove into the box. He got to the end line, cut it back and Giroud was there to apply the finish and make it 3-0.
It sparked some life back into the Gunners with Cazorla and Giroud shooting over after good work from Jenkinson and Gnabry respectively, and the Spaniard made it 4-0 just a few moments later.
Lovely movement through the midfield saw Cazorla set up Jenkinson for a shot. The keeper saved but Santi was there to slam home the rebound to make it 4-0. It might even have been 5-0 but Ozil hit the post with the goal at his mercy in injury time.
It was a ruthless end to an indifferent half, and despite a brave Coventry effort in the second period, Wenger’s team were worth winners on the night.