OLIVIER GIROUD SCORES AS ARSENAL SURGE THROUGH.
The Frenchman gave the hosts the lead five minutes before halftime with a chip over the goalkeeper and other strikes, from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Andrey Arshavin, a double from Theo Walcott and one for Ignasi Miquel, settled the game, with substitute Callum Bell notching a consolation strike for the visitors.
Arsene Wenger, as expected in the League Cup, named a young lineup though some bigger names, including Giroud, Walcott and Arshavin, also started, while Oxlade-Chamberlain was in midfield with Nico Yennaris and Francis Coquelin.
Damian Martinez started in goal, while Miquel, Johan Djourou and Andre Santos were joined by Martin Angha. On the subs bench, promising youngsters Serge Gnabry and Thomas Eisfeld were accompanied by Marouane Chamakh and Emmanuel Frimpong, in his first match of the season.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors, after Frank Moussa got down the line before clipping a cross into the box. Stephen Elliot headed wide, with teammate Gary McSheffrey appearing to get in his way.
But the hosts weren’t on the back foot for long, and really should have been ahead through contract rebel Walcott. The ball fell kindly for the winger inside the area, but he totally missed the ball after a wild kick at it.
Arsenal, and Arshavin in particular, began to step it up a gear – though the final ball was still lacking. Shots from the edge of the box were blocked or crosses were overhit, while Coventry were forcing Martinez into some work, though most of it was fairly routine stuff for the Gunners man.
But in the 39th minute, Arsenal did take the lead, with Giroud scoring his first for the club. The French striker was played in with a great ball from Coquelin, and after taking touch he elegantly chipped the ball over the onrushing Joe Murphy.
The Gunners almost had an acrobatic second minutes later, when Giroud flicked on Walcott’s cross for Miquel to send an overhead kick just wide of Murphy’s goal, but they had to be content with a one goal lead at half-time.
Five minutes into the second half, the hosts had a great chance to extend their lead from the penalty spot after Arshavin was bundled over by Jordon Clarke after the defender misplaced a header back to Murphy.
After a momentary pause following two pitch invaders from the crowd, Giroud stepped up from 12 yards, but his effort was well saved by Murphy, low to his right-hand side.
From the resulting corner, Miquel again came close, hitting the top of the bar with his header from Walcott’s cross. But again, the Gunners were not to be denied, as they extended their lead in the 57th minute.
Oxlade-Chamberlain cut in from the left before playing a nice one-two with Santos, and hit a scorcher from 25 yards into the top-corner past the helpless Murphy.
And Arsenal soon put the game beyond doubt, with Arshavin being played in by Giroud before hitting a low shot past Murphy to all but seal progression into the next round with half an hour to play.
With a little over 15 minutes to go, Walcott also got on the scoresheet, cutting in from the right-wing, driving at the defence before lashing a shot into the far corner.
Coventry did get something for its travelling fans to cheer, sneaking a consolation as substitute Ball got in between Miquel and Djourou unnoticed to tap home from six yards.
But the Gunners responded immediately, with Miquel making amends for his sloppy play at the back to nod home Arshavin’s cross.
Walcott completed the rout into added time, this time cutting in from the left in a similar fashion to his first before curling a shot into the far corner to the delight of the home fans still in the ground.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a Ugandan writer and blogger. Studied information technology with major interests in Journalism.He is passionate about sports but at times ventures into other fields
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