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Saturday 25 January 2014

FA Cup: Podolski brace takes Arsenal through

North Londoners complete four-goal triumph over 1987 winners with help of Podolski double

  • Lukas Podolski risest highest to give Arsenal a two-goal lead over Coventry

Lukas Podolski was twice on target as Arsenal cruised into the fifth round of the FA Cup with a comfortable home victory over Coventry City.

"When you have a good chance you want Podolski to have it because he is clinical"
Arsene Wenger

The forward's goals both arrived in the first half before strikes from Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla in the last five minutesrounded off an emphatic win for Arsene Wenger's team against the League One club.

Podolski gave Arsenal the lead on the quarter-hour mark when he latched on to Mesut Ozil’s through-ball to round goalkeeper Joe Murphy and score from an angle, and the Germany striker added a close-range header on 27 minutes from Per Mertesacker's flick-on at a corner.

Although Coventry responded in the second half, with Leon Clarke sending a shot narrowly wide of a post and hitting the woodwork from his next attempt, Arsenal, who gave 16-year-old midfielder Gedion Zelalem his debut as a second-half substitute, put the tie beyond doubt when Giroud, another substitute, converted Kieran Gibbs' cutback five minutes from time. Cazorla added gloss to the scoreline in the last minute after Carl Jenkinson's shot had been repelled by Murphy.

"Podolski can score goals," Wenger said. "When you have a good chance you want him to have it because he is a clinical finisher. He has an unbelievable short and quick backlift and he is very accurate in his finishing.

"He can score goals when he starts; when he comes on he is always dangerous."

In the evening's other fourth-round tie Preston North End forced a replay after holding Nottingham Forest to a goalless draw at the City Ground.

Weekend fixtures

There are nine other Barclays Premier League clubs in FA Cup action this afternoon, with Liverpool travelling to Championship side Bournemouth in the 12.45pm kick-off, and their Merseyside rivals, Everton, also on the road for their tie with Stevenage, who lie at the foot of the League One, in the evening fixture.

At 3pm, Swansea City and Cardiff City travel to second-tier sides Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers respectively, Hull City visit former manager Phil Brown's Southend United and Crystal Palace have a tricky away tie against the holders Wigan Athletic.

Last season's runners-up, Manchester City are at home to Watford, while Southampton and Sunderland welcome Yeovil Town and Kidderminster Harriers respectively.

On Sunday Fulham go to third-tier Sheffield United in the early encounter, while the only all Premier-League affair pits Chelsea against Stoke City at Stamford Bridge at 3.30pm.

The draw for the fifth round of the FA Cup will take place at 5.30pm  on Sunday.

FA Cup fourth-round results

Friday 24 January
Arsenal
(Podolski 2, Giroud, Cazorla) 4-0 Coventry City
Nottingham Forest 0-0 Preston North End

FA Cup fourth-round fixtures

3pm unless stated otherwise

Saturday 25 January
12.45pm Bournemouth v Liverpool
Birmingham City v Swansea City
Bolton Wanderers v Cardiff City
Huddersfield Town v Charlton Athletic
Manchester City v Watford
Port Vale v Brighton & Hove Albion
Rochdale v Sheffield Wednesday
Southampton v Yeovil
Southend v Hull City
Sunderland
v Kidderminster Harriers
Wigan Athletic v Crystal Palace
5.30pm Stevenage Borough v Everton

Sunday 26 January
1pm Sheffield United v Fulham
3.30pm Chelsea v Stoke City

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Key Points

  • Arsenal through to FA Cup fifth round after 4-0 win over Coventry City
  • Podolski scores twice with Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla both on target
  • Nine ties involving Barclays Premier League teams taking place on Saturday