FA Cup - Arsenal thrash Coventry City to make fifth round

Lukas Podolski bagged a brace as Arsenal progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup with a routine 4-0 victory over League One play-off hopefuls Coventry City.

Second-half goals from substitutes Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla ensured the Gunners sealed the game in style.

It took the hosts just 15 minutes to break the deadlock when Mezut Ozil played a brilliant pass to Podolski who found the net with a cool finish from an acute angle.

The German international found the net again 12 minutes later to double his side’s advantage. His fellow countryman Per Mertesacker rose highest at the near post to flick on a header and Podolski was in the right place at the right time to nod home.

The visitors came out fighting in the second-half and produced a much better showing to give the Gunners a scare. Coventry's unsettled striker Leon Clarke found himself one-on-one with Lukasz Fabianski but the Arsenal goalkeeper made a good stop with his legs. Clarke also struck a post as the Sky Blues pushed for a goal.

But Giroud killed off all hopes on 84 minutes when he slid the ball past Joe Murphy after he latched onto Kieran Gibb’s cut back pass.

And Cazorla added extra gloss as he scored Arsenal’s fourth of the night with a spectacularly volley after Murphy had parried the impressive Carl Jenkinson’s shot.

KEY MOMENTS

15’ - GOAL - Arsenal have the lead through Podolski! Coventry give the ball away cheaply in midfield, Ozil plays a wonderful pass to Podolski who takes his goal really well from an acute angle. Very cool.

27’ – GOAL - And it's Podolski again who heads home at the back post after Mertesacker flicked on a corner delivery!

50’ – CHANCE - Clarke takes advantage of Arsenal's high line and a through ball from Fleck finds him in a great position but he brings the ball slightly wide before forcing a good save from Fabianski.

56’ – CHANCE - CLARKE! This time the post denies the forward! Moussa wins the ball for the visitors before laying off Clarke who fires a shot against the post.

84’ – GOAL - And that's that. Giroud finishes the game off after a latching onto a cut back pass from Gibbs. Sloppy defending from Coventry.

89’ – GOAL - Arsenal are taking advantage of Coventry's tired legs as they finish the game off in style. Jenkinson sees his shot saved and Cazorla spectacularly volleys in the rebound.

KEY STATS

Lukas Podolski has now recorded five goals in his last six appearances in all competitions.

Arsenal have now scored at least once in 27 of their last 29 home FA Cup games.

Arsenal have won their last five meetings with Coventry in all competitions, scoring 16 and conceding just twice in the process.

Gedion Zelalem has become the first player to play for Arsenal and be born after Arsene Wenger took charge.

TALKING POINT

Could it really be Arsenal’s season? There’s something different about the Gunners this season. In previous years, the Gunners were susceptible to surprise defeats (they were knocked out of the FA Cup last season by Championship side Blackburn) but this campaign they look in control and in fact, ruthless. They currently lead the way at the top of the Premier League and they’re currently in great form having won their previous seven matches. Coventry fans also deserve a mention as they were immense tonight. They showed the world how much their football club means to them tonight with a very dignified protest against their owners. MAN OF THE MATCH

Lukas Podolski (Arsenal) – It was very difficult to pick out a man of the match award tonight as there were several impressive displays on show. The German striker shone brightest however and two goals in the opening half hour put Arsenal in firm control. Coventry City’s Cyrus Christie also deserves a mention – he was a real menace from right-back and defended immaculately as well.

PLAYING RATINGS

ARSENAL: Fabianski 7, Jenkinson 8, Koscielny 7, Mertesacker 7, Gibbs 8, Wilshere 6, Oxlade-Chamberlain 6, Ozil 7, Gnabry 6, Podolski 8, Bendtner 6. Substitutes: Zelalem 6, Cazorla 7, Giroud 7.

COVENTRY CITY: Murphy 6, Christie 8, Webster 7, Seaborne 6, Adams 7, Baker 8, Thomas 7, Fleck 8, Daniels 7, Moussa 7, L. Clarke 7. Substitutes: J. Clarke 6