Film Focus: Reviewing Arsenal vs. Coventry City

Charlie MelmanCorrespondent IIJanuary 25, 2014


Arsenal took care of business in a clinical and professional 4-0 victory over League One side Coventry City in the FA Cup.

The Gunners banged four goals past Coventry and asserted themselves immediately. None of the complacency that creeped into last year's humiliation against Blackburn found its way into the players' minds.

In the latter match, Arsenal let Blackburn assert themselves and therefore found it difficult to push forward and attack. Here, Arsene Wenger's men immediately let it be known which side is leading the Premier League and which is toiling in League One.

To further examine the match, let's look at some of its most interesting facets.


Lukas Podolski makes his case

The German needed to show Wenger that he is worthy of usurping Santi Cazorla and playing in the starting XI on a regular basis, and his two-goal performance did just that.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 24:  Lukas Podolski of Arsenal celebrates as he scores their second goal with a header during the FA Cup with Budweiser Fourth round match between Arsenal and Coventry City at Emirates Stadium on January 24, 2014 in London, Engla
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Podolski's movement was consistently excellent, as he found his way into the many pockets of space that Coventry left him and was able to latch onto inch-perfect passes from Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere.

via FredSports

His second goal can be dismissed as a simple case of being in the right place at the right time, but Podolski was obviously intelligent enough to shake his defender and anticipate the ball's exact location so that he could poke it into the back of the net.

Cazorla was also excellent after he arrived in the second half, adding a goal of his own. But Arsene Wenger certainly has something to think about, both on the left flank and at striker, where Podolski prefers to play.


Gedion Zelalem impresses on his debut

Zelalem has not yet signed his first professional contract because he is still 16 years old (he turns 17 on Sunday). Yet Arsene Wenger handed him a much-deserved debut and the youngster shined like the prodigy he obviously is.

The Guardian reported a priceless anecdote before the game, saying that Wenger had only watched Zelalem play for a few minutes before pulling the boy's father over and telling him that his son would play for Arsenal.

A casual observer need only do the same today to reach the conclusion that the soon-to-be professional will be a star in the years to come.

Zelalem's composure on the ball and effortless ability to do exactly what he wants with the ball belie his age. It does not matter that his debut was not spectacular—his incredible talent and vast potential are plainly obvious.


Coventry's fans help light a dark Emirates Stadium

I'm not talking about the really cool scene created by thousands of people holding up their cell phones after the Emirates' flood lights died. It was, rather, Coventry fans' solidarity in using the game to appeal to the hearts of all football fans that touched most.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 24:  Coventry City fans hold signs in protest during the FA Cup with Budweiser Fourth round match between Arsenal and Coventry City at Emirates Stadium on January 24, 2014 in London, England. Coventry City fans held banners after
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The club is currently playing its home games in the city of Northampton, over 30 miles away from Coventry. An organization with a small and proud fan base is the subject of a dispute between its owners and the proprietors of the Ricoh Arena, where it usually plays its home matches.

Of course, the fans suffer.


The Arsenal faithful allowed the Coventry supporters their protests, and the club was very courteous in defeat on Twitter. Good on both sides for their respective class in the matter.


Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain click in midfield

Arsene Wenger was surely keeping an eye on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in one of the few games the latter has played in central midfield. Wenger has said on multiple occasions that The Ox will eventually play there routinely.

Oxlade-Chamberlain impressed with the precision of his passing—especially many pinpoint long balls—and his instant chemistry with Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil.

As usual, Wilshere got stuck in on several occasions and was very active around the penalty box with little passes and flicks. Ozil, though still a little more languid than some would like, ran Coventry ragged using his excellent vision to spray the ball around in dangerous areas.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 24:  Santi Cazorla of Arsenal (R) celebrates with Jack Wilshere of Arsenal as he scores their fourht goal during the FA Cup with Budweiser Fourth round match between Arsenal and Coventry City at Emirates Stadium on January 24, 20
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The German's pass to Podolski for Arsenal's first goal was excellent, and that combination could very well prove fruitful in the future.

These are all interesting things for Wenger to consider, though the quality of the opposition should qualify any observations.