On to the fourth round of the Capital One Cup we go after we handed League One side, Coventry City a beating at the Emirates Stadium last night. 6 goals were scored by us and it was spread around 5 players. Indication that even with the second string side, we have able quality all around. The solitary consolation goal conceded was the only dent in a good night’s workout but it hardly mattered considering the final score.
As expected, none of those who started on Sunday against Manchester City were used. In came the players we expected to play and the only real surprise was the inclusion of Martin Angha at right back. The young Swiss acquitted himself well on that side but given the control we had on the game, he had very little to do to be honest. Another youngster in keeper Damien Martinez had even less to do. While he will be undoubtedly delighted with his debut, will have hoped to have more to do to show his quality.
Olivier Giroud did managed to get off the mark in the scoring charts for The Arsenal and it was a sumptuous finish as well. A delicate lift over the advancing keeper after being put through by Francis Coquelin. You wonder if the “experts” will keep on banging about his ability and say that this is only Coventry. In any case, hopefully the goal will give him a little bit of a confidence booster. Which was evident when he failed to convert the penalty but later laid the perfect assist for Andrey Arshavin to score.
That Arshavin goal was the best goal of the night. It started when Nico Yennaris intercepted a ball in the middle of the park and set Giroud racing down the left. Without a further touch, the Frenchman played the reverse pass to the onrushing Russian. Arshavin picked the ball from the sky and coolly placed the ball beyond the reach of Joe Murphy in Coventry’s goal.
That capped off a wonderful night for Arshavin who was involved in almost all the goal we scored. A return to the central role, the one usually occupied by Santi Cazorla, and without the responsibility of tracking back, he was at his best. Two separate but similar situations summed up everything you need to know about Arshavin. Playing the poorest of pass in one second before receiving the ball again and plays the super pass. Capable of both extremes, it encapsulates the love/hate relationship he has with fans.
Two former Southampton prodigies also added goals to their season statistics. First, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hammered one from the outside the box with a wicked swerve that sailed past the Murphy. Then it was Theo Walcott’s turn with a brace. Again, Yennaris won the ball in midfield and played it on for Walcott inside of the right flank. That shot across goal and into the bottom corner has become somewhat of a trademark goal for the “contract rebel”. His second had that Henryesque feature about it. It came off the back of his own solo run from midway inside of Coventry’s half.
No question about the validity of the two goals. Both expertly taken and both very enjoyable to watch. However, that only mean that he’s a very competent finisher but adds little to his quest to play the central striking role for us. The first goal would never have happened, if he was playing centrally. In fact, neither would the second. The license to drive in field and the flexibility to switch flanks got him those two goals. Frankly, it’s hard to understand why he wishes to switch position when he’s obviously reaping the rewards of playing where he is at the moment.
The other goal of the night was headed in by Ignasi Miquel, who continued his good work in pre season with another assured performance at the centre of defence. Together with Johan Djourou and Andre Santos, just like the rest of the defenders, had very little to do. Santos looks as rusty as you would come to expect from a player who has not played all that much. Constantly found wanting when in possession but otherwise kept to his position because of the lack of match fitness and the there was no real need for him to burst forward.
Coquelin and Yennaris were tidy in midfield while Emmanuel Frimpong got the cheer he deserved after coming back from his 2nd long term injury spell out. Marouane Chamakh also got some game time, coming in for Giroud. Only serve to remind us that he is still an Arsenal player. One exciting talent who did come on though, was Serge Gnabry. The young German reminds me of AOC when he first arrived at the scene. Willing to take on every single player in front of him and attempting shots at goals. Let’s hope we’ll see more of him, if not this season, then the next.
The draw was made subsequently after the game and it’s a trip to Reading for the next round. With Chelsea and Manchester United drawn together, another possible challenger to the cup will be eliminated in the next round. It’s almost as if stars are being aligned for us to do well in this competition. Let’s see how this pans out.