Olivier Giroud breaks his duck as Arsenal beat Coventry 6-1
And Theo Walcott backs his claim to play at centre forward with two goals in last quarter
Arsenal 6 Coventry 1. Arsenal fans enjoyed a rare old night at the Emirates on Wednesday as the Gunners eased into the fourth round of the League Cup with a 6-1 thrashing of Coventry. Rare not so much for the quality of the football but for the fact it was a night of unusual sightings.
First, there was a goal for Olivier Giroud as the Frenchman finally broke his duck at the seventh time of asking. Then there was an impressive performance from Andrey Arshavin, who not only scored but also looked half-interested in the proceedings. And to cap it all, Marouane Chamakh put in an appearance, dispelling rumours that he'd gone to Mars.
There was little sign of the slaughter to come during a scrappy first-half in which only Giroud's goal separated the two teams. The former Montpellier striker coolly converted Francis Coquelin's pass to get the Gunners off the ground, but it wasn't until the break that they really put on a show for the fans.
Giroud might have had a second when a penalty was saved, the Frenchman not helped in his task by a couple of streakers invading the pitch just as he was about to take the spot-kick.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain grabbed the second and Andrey Arshavin made it 3-0 just after the hour mark on his first start since January. Theo Walcott then got in the act, scoring twice in the last quarter with a goal from Ignasi Miquel sandwiched in between. It was a timely reminder from Walcott of his goal-scoring potential, particularly as he's recently expressed his wish to play up front and not on the wing, which is where he featured against Coventry.
"I am not against it, not at all," said Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger later, when asked about playing Walcott as a centre forward. "His time will come for that and at the moment we have to be a bit patient... Walcott in front of goal, he is absolutely amazing."
It wasn't only Walcott's performance that put a smile on Wenger's face. There was a collective sigh of relief all around the Emirates when Giroud found the net. "At the moment I believe he is looking for confidence again and that goal will help him," said Wenger. "I expect him to take that confidence into the Premier League."
Arsenal's reward for their brutal disposal of Coventry is a fourth-round tie away at Reading at the end of next month. Manchester United, who saw off the challenge of Newcastle last night, travel to Chelsea while Tottenham – vanquishers of Carlisle – play Norwich away.
And Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will face his old club Swansea after the Reds fought back from a goal down against West Brom to win 2-1 thanks to two strikes from new signing Nuri Sahin.