The title sums it all up for me, a four-nil cruise into the fifth round which was only slightly less troublesome than the previous round against Tottenham.
It had been reported that Coventry had been playing some decent football recently and that they were likely to come to the Emirates to give us a game. No doubt they would have been hoping for a helping hand from Wenger’s team selection but no such generosity was shown. It is easy to imagine the sigh of disappointment in the Coventry dressing room as the Arsenal team, with so many big hitters, was read out: Ozil, Mertasacker, Koscielny, Podolski. This smacked a bit to me of using a sledge hammer to crack a nut.
I was trying to work out why Ozil had been picked when an injury to the most talented player at the club would have had such a seriously detrimental affect on our season. The only answer I could come up with goes back to the much talked about conversation Wenger was supposed to have had with Ozil – in German — that persuaded him to move from Real Madrid.
Summed up I suspect by: If you come to THOF you will play.
What ever the reason the gulf in quality took very little time to show itself, Arsenal were passing the ball around as slickly as a hockey puck glides over the ice, leaving Coventry chasing shadows. Podolski was the star of the first half skilfully rounding the goalkeeper before slotting home for his first and then heading in at the far post for his second. There was a lot of rustiness in the likes of Bendtner, Jenkinson and Fabianski but this is not meant to be critical it is simply what happens to players when they do not play regularly.
It was unusual to be watching Arsenal on a Friday evening, I think it is the first time ever, I certainly can’t think of anther occasion, so it was a bit confusing when the lights went down towards the end of the first half, the question was asked: is this normal, is this mood lighting all part of the Friday evening experience, can we expect this in the future? The mobile phones being turned on to help light the pitch were fun.
Arsenal were bored and it showed in the beginning of the second half as they struggled to stay focussed. Coventry realising that the tie had gone started pushing forward and it has to be said that they created a couple of chances that they should have scored from.
Wenger was prompted to make changes, Cazorla came on for Bendtner and we got our first glimpse of Zelalem who I must say looked very slick. This gave Podolski a chance to play CF but he was tiring by then so we didn’t really learn too much.
Did you count how many German speakers were on the pitch at this time – 5. Who would have ever imagined that Arsenal’s lingua franca would become German?
Giroud came on and having just seen Bendtner and Podolski we all got reminded of just how much a superior option he is up front. It took him seemingly no time to fire home a quality pass from Gibbs. Coventry were a spent force, they couldn’t even muster the energy to protest, all that was left was for Cazorla to make it four and send us all home with smiles on our faces in the pouring rain.
Onwards and upwards.
Fabianski: a clean sheet always says that a Keeper did well enough, but there was the odd moment when we were forced to remember how lucky we are having Szezceny. 6
Jenkinson: same applies really, hadn’t had too many first team minutes recently and it showed. Any player who grew up with an Arsenal duvet on his bed gets a lot of leeway with me. I hope he turns into the player good enough to eventually fill Sagna’s boots. 6
Mertasacker: immaculate. 9
Koscielny: this really is turning into a Batman and Robin act, a plyer may on occasions be able to out run Per but they are not going to outrun Kos. 8
Gibbs: I suppose last night was evidence that he has now slipped down the pecking order with Monreal although I regard him as being more advanced in claiming the LB spot than Jenkinson is in claiming the RB spot. Some excellent runs down the wing. 6
Wilshere: So we had Arteta out and Flamini rested, who did Wenger turn to for a bit of defensive cover? This young man has trigger issues, when a shooting chance is begging he will always opt for a pass. That said he did a perfectly decent job. 6
Oxlade-Chamberlain: Given the role of supporting Jack just in front of the back line, stayed there for two minutes, got bored and was last seen augmenting the attack. 6
Ozil: to question this players ability is to question Bergkamp’s ability when he was playing alongside John Hartson. I haven’t got time to go into this in detail but the knowledgeable should know what I mean. By far the most talented player on the park, I’m going to start gushing so I will stop. 9
Bendtner: still playing with the halo of saving our bacon against Cardiff with his last minute goal. The bar had been raised too high last night, I don’t want to start being rude save to say I hope he gets his big move in this transfer window. Good luck Nicky. 6
Gnabry: with Walcott’s injury this player is being fast tracked now, not as impressive as he should have been against such poor opposition but hopefully he will get there, if not the Ox will snuffle up his place quicker that you can say acorns. 6
Podolski: hungry, wanting, seemingly determined to get his place back – I like it, excellent player to have in the armoury. 8
Written by LB