Arsenal 4 Coventry 0

Arsenal eased into the FA Cup fifth round thanks to Lukas Podolski’s two goals against Coventry City. In a match where 5000 away fans from Coventry were displaying their displeasure at having to see their home games played 35 kms away from Coventry. The 32,609 capacity Ricoh Arena was opened in August 2005, but following a rent dispute with the ground’s owners the club opted to play their home games at Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium starting in the 2013–14 season.

Mesut Ozil fed Podolski, who rounded keeper Joe Murphy to fire home, and the striker added a close-range header from Per Mertesacker’s flick-on. League One side Coventry rallied in the second half, with Leon Clarke hitting the post, but Olivier Giroud ended any doubt with a third from 12 yards out. Santi Cazorla got a late fourth from a similar range. Arsenal have not won a trophy since 2005 but remain in the hunt in three tournaments this season – the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup. They lead the league table by one point from free-scoring Manchester City, and face holders Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League. Podolski, who wasted chances to score a hat-trick, made his second start since August following a hamstring injury, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was starting for the first time since the opening day.

For the first half of the game Coventry barely saw the ball as the Arsenal players setup camp in their opponents side of the field. Towards the end of the first half, some of the floodlights went out but both teams agreed to play on until half-time, when the problem was fixed. After the break, Coventry were much improved and 18-goal top scorer Leone Clarke wasted two golden chances. Wenger blooded for the future when 16-year-old Gedion Zelalem replaced Oxlade-Chamberlain for the final 19 minutes but it was another two substitutes who added gloss to the scoreline.

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