Match Report


Thu 09 Jan 14

Coventry City's FA Cup run was brought to an end by Premier League leaders Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

In the end it was a relatively comfortable win for the home side with late goals from substitutes Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla adding to Lukas Podolski's first half double.

The scoreline could have been seen as slightly harsh on the Sky Blues though who rallied for much of the second half and at times looked as though a way back may have been a distinct possibility with Leon Clarke denied twice, first by Lukasz Fabianski's legs and then his post.

City boss Steven Pressley named jusat one change to his side for the cup clash, bringing Billy Daniels into the midfield at the expense of Jordan Clarke.

The opening stages were not the attacking onslaught from the home side that many neutrals expected although it was the Gunners that had the first effort at goal after three minutes when Jack Wilshere received a short corner from Mezut Ozil but sliced a shot wide from the edge of the area.

It was Blair Adams that launched City's first skirmish into Arsenal's half just a minute later, breaking down the left before playing a ball inside to Franck Moussa, the Belgian's clever first touch taking him around Per Mertesacker and enabling him to put in a low cross for Leon Clarke although the striker was beaten to the ball by Laurent Koscielny.

The home side went close after eight minutes when Carl Jenkinson got to the byline on the right and whipped a ball into the area for Podolski who could only head over at the back post.

Arsenal did enjoy the majority of the attacking possession in the opening 15-minute spell though with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain going close with a 20-yard half volley which rose just over Joe Murphy's bar.

The opening goal came immediately after City's best passing spell of the game when a ball into midfield from Dan Seaborne, aimed for Moussa, was intercepted by Wilshere who played Podolski through to chip a finish past a grounded Joe Murphy after 16 minutes.

Carl Baker nearly levelled the game in simply stunning style when he picked up the ball on the halfway line and dribbled his way passed four players before unleashing an effort from the area which Lukasz Fabianski had to tip over his bar.

Arsenal then doubled their lead on 26 minutes when a corner from Serge Gnabry got a flick on at the near post from the head of Mertesacker, the ball looping to the back post to find Podolski who shrugged off the attention of Daniels and nodded down just inside the foot of the woodwork.

The German international nearly completed his hat-trick seven minutes before the break when Jenkinson again got down the right and flashed in a low ball which Podolski took a touch with to take him past Cyrus Christie before he lashed a shot just over then bar from 12 yards.

The Sky Blues nearly had a dream start to the second half though when Leon Clarke was picked out by a through ball from Baker, the striker racing through on goal at an angle only to be denied by a leg save from Fabianski.

Clarke went closer three minutes before the hour when Moussa dispossessed Kieran Gibbs and raced into the area before cutting a ball back for his strike partner who tried to place a finish past Fabianski from ten yards only to see his effort smack the post.

The Sky Blues were clearly enjoying the better of the second half exchanges leading up to the hour mark and they went close again on 61 minutes when a cross from Baker found Clarke to touch the ball back to Daniels who held his head in his hands after blazing his finish over the bar.

City's bravery going forward in search of a goal that might give them a chance meant that Arsenal's third with five minutes to go felt so cruel.

It came in the form of substitute Giroud who was left with one of the easier finishes of his career after a cutback at the byline from Gibbs, the Frenchman then swinging a boot from close range which guided the ball past Murphy and put the tie beyond any doubt.

Arsenal's fourth as the game entered stoppage time then capped the scoring off, the goal again coming from a substitute, this time Cazorla. There was no doubting the quality of lead up play to the goal which saw Giroud's attempt finely saved by Murphy only for Cazorla to fire home the loose ball.

Attendance: 59,451


CoventryCity: Murphy, Christie, Adams, Webster, Seaborne, Baker (c), Daniels, Fleck, Thomas, Moussa (J Clarke 88), L Clarke
Subs: Burge (GK), Slager, Barton, Phillips, Willis, Haynes

Arsenal: Fabianski, Mertesacker (c), Koscielny, Podolski (Giroud 79), Wilshere, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Zelalem 72), Bendtner (Cazorla 72) , Jenkinson, Gibbs, Gnabry
Subs: Viviano (GK), Sagna, Monreal, Flamini

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