Arsenal went into their Capital One Cup tie with Coventry City last night with a completely different team to the one which drew away to Manchester City on Sunday. It meant there were first team debuts for both Damian Martinez and Martin Angha from the start with Serge Gnabry coming off the bench to make his debut.
The team was pretty much as expected with Olivier Giroud playing the central strikers role to try to bag his first goal for the club. There was plenty of experience in the Arsenal team besides Giroud with Johan Djourou, Andrey Arshavin and Theo Walcott all playing from the start too.
The first half was a fairly scrappy affair with not too much between the teams, but it was Arsenal who made the breakthrough. Five minutes before half time Francis Coquelin slid in to prod the ball through to Giroud and he clipped it over the advancing keeper into the net. He had his first Arsenal goal at last and it actually took him a little less than four hours playing time to do so.
Arsenal picked up the pace in the second half and Arshavin earned a penalty five minutes in when he was taken down in the box. Giroud stepped up to take it, but his well struck effort was very well saved. Thankfully he had managed his first goal already or the miss could have been a real burden for him.
The second goal wasn't long coming when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain unleashed a swerving screamer from outside the box which beat the keeper. Chamberlain strikes the ball very well and I'm sure there are plenty of goals to come for him in his Arsenal career.
With 64 minutes gone Arsenal added a third goal and it was Arshavin who scored this time. He was played in by Giroud and finished neatly past the advancing keeper. Arshavin played well last night and he showed he might still have something to contribute to the team.
With 15 minutes left Walcott made it 4-0 when he came in from the right and stroked the ball past the keeper into the far corner. It was a timely reminder from him too that he can contribute to the team despite his contractual dispute.
With 10 minutes left Coventry got a consolation goal to cheer up their 8,000 traveling fans. A good ball across the Arsenal area was met by ? who finished it first time past the helpless Martinez. It was some reward for a Coventry team that had worked very hard, but tired noticeably in the second half.
Arsenal had rung the changes after their third goal with Emmanuel Frimpong making his comeback after a seven month absence through injury. He's another player who will be looking to make an impact on the first team this season. Arsenal's midfield options are increasing almost weekly at the moment and Jack Wilshere has to return yet as does Tomas Rosicky.
The other players to come on were the aforementioned Gnabry and Marouane Chamakh. It's was Chamakh's first action of the season, as he has become the forgotten man at Arsenal. He has slipped so far down the pecking order that surely his exit will come in January or next summer at the latest.
The fifth Arsenal goal came with 10 minutes left and it was young central defender Ignasi Miquel who scored it. He rose high to head home a cross from the left after he had hit the bar earlier in the game. His inclusion ahead of Sebastien Squillaci shows exactly where Squillaci has slipped to in the pecking order too.
In the final minute Walcott added a sixth goal for Arsenal. It was their second home game in a row managing that feat and he took his goal very well. He collected the ball just inside the Coventry half before beating a few players and finishing into the far corner from the left this time.
All in all it was a good display from Arsenal considering it was a completely different team to the one that played on Sunday. The six goals were well taken and the full house enjoyed the goal festival. A few players showed the manager what they can do and reminded him that they might still have a future at the club.
Arsenal are through to the last 16 of the competition, but the next round will pose a sterner test I would imagine. They play away to Reading who are now a Premier League club and will more than likely play the strongest team available to them. There is a possibility of a few injured players returning for Arsenal in that game, but that won't be known until closer to the actual game.
Here's the highlights of last night's game.
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.