Sport Football Podolski puts Arsenal into FA Cup last 16

Podolski puts Arsenal into FA Cup last 16

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Lukas Podolski struck twice as Arsenal eased into the FA Cup fifth round with a comfortable 4-0 victory over League One side Coventry at the Emirates Stadium on Friday.

In Friday’s only other FA Cup game, Nottingham Forest was held to a 0-0 draw at home against Preston, forcing a rematch to be scheduled later.

With 54 league places separating Arsenal and Coventry, an upset was unlikely and late goals from substitutes Olivier Giroud – his 13th of the season – and Santi Cazorla confirmed Arsenal’s superiority.

And Arsene Wenger’s intention to avoid any risk of a shock was reflected in his team selection with Germany’s Mesut Ozil, the club’s record signing, included in a strong starting line-up – and it soon became clear the Premier League leaders would prove too hot to handle for their third tier opponents.

Arsenal dominated from the opening moments, moving the ball around freely and giving a clear signal this would be a long evening for the visitors.

Jack Wilshere had already fired wide and Podolski missed a glaring opportunity by firing over from six yards before the German found the target to give Arsenal a 13th minute lead.

This time the forward showed much more composure, collecting a pass from Ozil and rounding Coventry goalkeeper Joe Murphy before slotting home left-footed.

It was largely one-way traffic and there was little surprise when the Gunners doubled their lead in the 28th minute.

Serge Gnabry whipped in a corner from the left towards Nicklas Bendtner, who was allowed to flick on towards the unmarked Podolski who headed home from close range.

Coventry returned for the second half showing much more purpose and twice threatened to force their way back into the game early in the second half through Leon Clarke.

But Wenger’s side soon regained control of the game.

Giroud added a third goal after appearing as a late replacement for Podolski, sweeping home in the 85th minute from Kieran Gibbs’ low cross.

And Cazorla followed up a Murphy save to make it four in the final minute of normal time.