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giovedì 27 settembre 2012

Arsenal's forward Giroud breaks his duck as Coventry trashed in Cup, and helps silence the doubters

Olivier Giroud, maligned by some after his £12 million move from Montpellier, scored his first Arsenal goal, set up another and missed a penalty as Coventry City were thrashed 6-1 at the Emirates.

Olivier Giroud ended his goal drought at 354 minutes as Arsenal destroyed Coventry and Arsene Wenger predicted more will follow from his £12million striker. Giroud, signed from Montpellier in the summer to fill the void left by Robin van Persie, failed to score in his first six appearances. 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.

'It was in everybody's mind that the sooner he gets it the better,' said Wenger. 'It was in his mind more than our minds. It's positive that he has scored. It was a good finish. He's a good finisher. I believe he is looking for confidence and that goal will help him. I expect him to score now in the Premier League.'

Arsenal were still far too strong for League One strugglers Coventry and further goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Andrey Arshavin, Ignasi Miquel and Theo Walcott, who struck twice, emphasised the hosts' superiority. Callum Ball pulled one back but  Miquel restored Arsenal’s four-goal  advantage near the end and Walcott rounded off the win with his second.

Gunners midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong was introduced from the bench with 15 minutes to go, making his return from a long-term knee injury sustained when on-loan at Wolves last season. The recently appointed Coventry manager, Mark Robins, wanted to please some 8,000 of his club's followers rather than have his men skulk in their own half. It was Arsenal, of course, who relished the match. There was particular satisfaction over those Walcott goals, although the unease continues as to whether he might leave the club as a free agent next summer.

"You have to give us time to sort it out," said Wenger. "We are always in touch with Theo's representatives." The manager also knows, though, that a range of resources is apparent. "I expect Giroud to take that into the Premier League," he observed of his new striker's finish. Change was in the air. Arsenal's 19-year-old Nico Yennaris had, for instance, been the club's mascot when the team faced Coventry in 2000. This was just his second start under Wenger. The goalkeeper Damián Martínez and defender Martin Angha made their Arsenal debuts. Even so, it was the experience of Andrey Arshavin that was particularly prominent.

Walcott, in the final year of his contract, milked the crowd’s reaction at the end. Wenger reiterated that he wanted Walcott to stay but added that the 23 year-old would have to wait to be given his chance as a striker. “I’m not against it at all but at the moment there is a big competition up front. His time will come for that,” Wenger said. But Walcott does not want to wait. Both his goals came as he ran in from the wing – on either side – to strike angled shots past goalkeeper Joe Murphy.

Let us not forget Andrei Arshavin, either. Granted a free transfer at the end of the summer the Russian has hung around, unwanted. However, he was praised by Wenger before this League Cup tie and was rewarded with a start and a goal. Arsenal gave youth its head with starts for Nico Yennaris – a mascot against Coventry a dozen years ago – and Martin Angha while Serge ­Gnabry was introduced from the bench. For the victors there must now be confidence flooding through them. It has already been a sound beginning to the campaign. If this sort of relish and impact is to continue, Walcott may find cause to stay where he is.

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