Arsenal stormed home in comfortable fashion to advance to the fourth round of the League Cup thanks to a 6-1 thrashing of Coventry at the Emirates Stadium.
It was the second straight home game where we put six past the opposition, and it was Olivier Giroud who got both the team and his Arsenal account off and running with a clipped finish past the keeper.
The goal was set up by some quick thinking by Francis Coquelin, who nicked the ball Giroud’s way with a sliding effort. Giroud would have a second chance from the penalty spot after Andrey Arshavin was bundled over in the box, but his effort was well saved.
Arsenal was 2-0 up soon after after a spanking effort from 25 yards by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, before Nico Yennaris won possession high up the pitch to service Giroud, who dinked a pass into Arshavin’s path in the box. The little Russian scored his first Arsenal goal in a year with a lovely volleyed finish.
Theo Walcott made it 4-0 with a 5-2 Spurs-esque finish when put through on the right. Coventry responded to make it 4-1 thanks to a great cross on the right wing put away by substitute Callum Ball, before Ignasi Miquel responded almost immediately for the hosts with a thumping header to reclaim the four-goal cushion.
Walcott rounded off the evening with a great finish from the left hand side, Henry’ing the ball around the keeper.
The most I’ve seen from the game are some extended highlights, which you can help yourself to here or see below.
Getting up at 4:30am made no moral difference to the footballing gods as I was doomed to listen to a Sky radio stream where they cycled through all the matches ad nauseum, Soccer Saturday style. As a result, I cannot really offer much in the way of player ratings. If you want some of that action, head on over to Gunnerblog’s first-hand account.
Immediate impressions are that Oxlade-Chamberlain’s shot can sting like a bee from distance, and that Walcott’s still got it when it comes to his finishing ability. His gripes about play centre forward seem totally irrelevant after this showing. He must surely know that we need a more physical presence up front as the centre forward, and in this regard even Marouane Chamakh is ahead of him in the pecking order. But there is absolutely no reason why he can’t provide 15 goals a season from the right or left flank, which in our system is close-ish to his ‘favoured’ position anyway.
Nico Yennaris looked busy and made a few vital interceptions that led to goals and Coquelin looked his better self than we’ve seen in his few appearances prior.
Ignasi Miquel looked like the star in defence and he looks a hell of a lot stronger than his frame suggests.
It’s good to finally get the monkey off of Giroud’s back now that he’s off the mark. I don’t care too much about the missed penalty. It was well struck and denied only by an even better leap from the keeper.
Andrey Arshavin by all reports had a mixed game – sluggish in the first half and a little bit magical in the second. It looks like there’s enough in his game last night that could bode well for competition for places. But to put the debate over his position to one side – yes, the absence of defensive responsibility when played behind the striker suits him so much more.
We’ll play Reading at the Medejski in the fourth round at the end of October. Another winnable fixture you’d have to think.
That’s all, really. The week’s attention now shifts to Saturday’s early match against Chelsea. As nice a distraction as this cup match provided, that’s one that will really get the heart racing.
Until next time.