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With what was largely a second string side, Arsenal managed to comfortably progress to the fourth round of the League Cup after sweeping aside League One outfit Coventry City in a six goal rout. Goals to Olivier Giroud, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Andrey Arshavin, Ignasi Miquel and a brace to contract rebel Theo Walcott rounded off what eventually became an expected easy win for the Gunners.
First of all, it was great to see that Frenchman Olivier Giroud opened his goal-scoring account at Arsenal. His goal just before half-time was that of a composed striker, lifting the ball over the on-rushing keeper. While somewhat negatively he missed a penalty shortly after half-time, the big Frenchman also grabbed a great assist for Andrey Arshavin who slotted Arsenal’s third. Hopefully he can take some confidence out of this performance into the Premier League.
Talking of Arshavin, it was great to see the little Russian finally play in his preferred position. In the middle of the park the little Russian almost had a Cazorla-like performance being the creative hub of many of Arsenal’s attacking moves. Picking up a goal and two assists, Arshavin definitely took his chance to impress. We all know that the little Russian can be hot and cold, but after this performance you feel that he should definitely get his chance on a bigger stage in his preferred position.
Rounding off the first-teamers is Theo Walcott, who looked a mission to show his ability to perform as a striker. The pacy Englishman scored a well-taken brace, the second of which reminded me a bit of Thierry Henry. Obviously he is not at that level at the moment, but part of me feels his finishing in front of goal could push his case ahead of Gervinho, who we know lacks composure in front of goal.
Now onto the youngsters and it is fair to say that we have a fair few gems waiting for their chance. Aside from Chambo, who had a great performance and is essentially a first-team regular now anyway, I felt that today Miquel, Yennaris and Coquelin put in well-rounded performances. Particular mention should go to Miquel who looked very composed and was defensively solid. The future is looking bright for Arsenal.
on the performance…
I think we did our job. In the first half we were tested, defensively mainly. In the second half our offensive potential made the difference when they tired a little bit. From then on of course you had Arshavin, Walcott, Chamberlain and Giroud, who were always a threat. That made the difference, the difference of quality made a big impact on the result in the end.
But you have to respect Coventry because they gave a lot, they never gave up and they did fight for every single ball from the first to the last minute. When they got tired it became easier for us. It was a classical tie when you need to be serious, and we were serious.
on Giroud’s first goal…
It was in everybody’s mind that the sooner he gets it the better. Certainly in his mind much more than in others’ minds. That is positive of course. It was a good finisher and he is a good finisher, Olivier. At the moment I believe he is looking for confidence again and that goal will help him. I expect him to take that confidence into the Premier League.
on Walcott playing up front…
I am not against it, not at all. We will try. At the moment we have a big competition up front, we have a different formula and the team is doing well. His time will come for that and at the moment we have to be a bit patient. He is a great finisher now, Walcott, in front of goal he is absolutely amazing.
on contract talks…
We all want him to stay. I always said exactly the same. I always said let’s hope that we can sign up and extend [his contract]. I speak to Theo of course. To his agents? We are always in touch with them and you have to give us some time to sort that out.
on Arshavin’s central role…
Arshavin’s best position looks to be behind the striker now because that’s where his vision, the creative side of his game, can be very efficient. When he has to work on the flank it is sometimes working against him because he has to work too hard up and down. But when he’s central he always had an influence on the game.
Angha Djourou Miquel Santos
Walcott Arshavin Chamberlain
Damian Martinez | 6.0: Although he largely dealt with what little Coventry had to offer on attack, will probably be a little disappointed he did no get a clean sheet after failing to smother the cross the lead to Coventry’s only goal.
Martin Angha | 4.5: A poor game from the young defender, who let himself down with poor crossing and passing at times. Will hopefully learn from his mistakes.
Johan Djourou | 6.0: Had a decent game, but a momentary loss in concentration led to Arsenal conceding. Perhaps should have been more alert to the cross coming in.
Ignasi Miquel| 7.0: The young Spaniard had a great game for the Gunners and looked very composed in possession and on defence. Scored a great header to round off a good individual performance.
Andre Santos | 5.5: A so-so performance from the Brazilian who definitely looked a little rusty. Had some forward play, but didn’t really penetrate the Coventry defence.
Francis Coquelin | 7.0: The Frenchman has a pretty good performance, showcasing both his ability to be physical in the middle of the park as well as his skill with the ball. Used a combo of the two when he set-up Giroud for the opening goal.
Nico Yennaris | 6.5: I felt it was a solid performance by the youngster who was involved in the build-up of a couple of Arsenal’s goals, including
Andrey Arshavin | 8.5: The little Russian showed he still has some tricks up his sleeve and was the creative hub for most of the Gunners attacking plays. Grabbed a few assists and scored a great goal of his own. Definitely took his chance to impress.
Theo Walcott | 7.5: Showcased his ability when given space. Used his pace will and more importantly had the composure to finish in dangerous positions.
Olivier Giroud | 7.0: The Frenchman finally opened his goal-scoring account for Arsenal with a composed chip over the on-rushing keeper. While he missed a penalty, he turned provider for Arsenal third with a great assist for Arshavin.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | 8.0: A superb performance by the Ox who was unlucky not to score more. Looked dangerous at every opportunity and scored a cracker of a goal!
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