After handling Tottenham in the third round of the FA Cup, Arsenal was rewarded with League One Coventry City in the fourth round at home. In true Arsenal fashion, the Gunners brushed aside their lower level opposition with ease.
Before the match, it was assumed Arsène Wenger would field a fairly weaker squad in order to rest his starters. Six changes were made from the starting XI seen in the Gunners’ last match against Fulham, with only Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Özil and Serge Gnabry staying in the squad. Gedion Zelalem, a potential future United States Men’s National Team member, was amongst the substitutes for the Gunners.
It didn’t take long for Arsenal to take the lead when Lukas Podolski fired home in the 15th minute after receiving a pass from Özil and dodging Coventry’s goalkeeper. Not long after he gave his club the lead, Podolski doubled it in the 27th minute. A perfectly served in corner kick from Gnabry met Mertesacker’s head, who then flicked it on to Podolski to nod home for his brace. Chance after chance could not be converted and the Gunners entered halftime with a 2-0 lead.
The opening half hour in the second half was fairly lackluster in comparison to the first, which is to be assumed after taking a commanding lead into halftime. In the 71st minute, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was replaced by Zelalam, earning the promising young midfielder his first senior cap. Ten minutes later, Olivier Giroud added yet another goal after Kieran Gibbs found the Frenchman in the middle of the box. Just minutes later, Santi Cazorla capped off the Gunners’ night scoring the fourth and final goal of the contest.
Another convincing FA Cup win for the Gunners can only give them momentum moving forward into the round of 16 and onward. Brace from Podolski also signifies his return to form just when Arsenal need him the most after losing Theo Walcott in the last round and the club’s current transfer activity seemingly nonexistent. The Gunners will have to wait until the weekend matches are completed before finding out who they’ll meet in the fifth round.