Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain key for ArsenalComment on this story
London – Arsene Wenger believes the performances of Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the FA Cup win over Coventry demonstrated the impact they can have during the closing weeks of the campaign.
Podolski struck twice in a 4-0 victory as he continues his return to full fitness following a hamstring injury.
And Oxlade-Chamberlain impressed in a central midfield role in his first start injuring his knee on the opening day of the season.
Podolski's goal-threat in particular provided a welcome boost to Wenger, the Arsenal manager, who could still bring in another striker during the January transfer window as he seeks back-up for Olivier Giroud.
“Podolski can score goals and when you have a goal 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,” said Wenger.
“He can score goals when he starts, when he comes on he is always dangerous.”
And the manager also praised Oxlade-Chamberlain's display, describing the youngster's central partnership with Jack Wilshire as a potential international pairing.
“I liked what he did tonight in the centre, especially as long as we had the ball. Defensively he worked hard but I liked especially offensively,” said Wenger.
“Him and Jack in the centre, in the future they could be a good partnership for England as well.”
Wenger remained tight-lipped about reports linking Arsenal with a move for Schalke's Julian Draxler, but he denied a fee for the Germany international had already been agreed.
“That again is an illusion. There's nothing happening. Honestly, no. We have no need to take players on the flanks. We have Chamberlain coming back we have 17 players on the flanks,” said the Arsenal manager.
Asked if he was targeting a striker, he added: “We don't rule it out but at the moment I cannot announce anything.”
Wenger handed a debut to 16-year-old Gedion Zelalem as a second half substitute.
The Germany youth international became the first player to appear for Arsenal who was born after Wenger took charge of the club.
“It was a good opportunity to give him a chance to play. He has shown when he came on he is not scared, he is not fazed by the occasion. You could see there is some vision and some personality behind his pass.”
Coventry manager Steven Pressley believes his side's performance demonstrated the potential of his side to play at a level above their current League One status.
“I asked my players to be brave in possession and they truly were. We got after Arsenal in the second half and forced them back,” said Pressley.
“It would have been easy to have gone under after going two down at the Emirates Stadium.
“The one thing from tonight for my players is that it was proof they can play at a higher level. We can take so much confidence from tonight's performance.
“We had a group of players who are growing and believing in the way we play and we have several young players who can play at the very highest level.
“John Fleck and Connor Thomas were excellent and Franck Moussa did very well too.” – Sapa-AFP