LONDON (AP) — Lukas Podolski scored a brace in the first half on Friday to help give Arsenal a routine 4-0 victory over third-tier Coventry in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
In a game that Arsenal dominated from the start, Podolski put the hosts ahead in the 15th minute by slotting home a cool finish after being set up by Mesut Ozil. He then doubled the lead with a close-range header from a corner in the 27th.
The win was never in doubt after that and Arsenal added two late goals as substitute Olivier Giroud struck in the 85th after replacing Podolski five minutes earlier, before Santi Cazorla slotted in the fourth.
In Friday's only other FA Cup game, Nottingham Forest was held to a 0-0 draw at home against Preston.
Playing in a steady drizzle in north London, it was the kind of comfortable victory Arsenal had hoped for as it looks ahead to facing Bayern Munich in the Champions League knockout round, while trying to protect its slim lead atop the Premier League.
Despite playing at home against third-tier opposition, manager Arsene Wenger named a surprisingly strong starting lineup with both Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere in midfield — perhaps worried about another upset after going out to Blackburn last season.
And with Wenger contemplating buying a striker in the January transfer window, Podolski showed off his scoring touch by deciding the game in the first half.
Podolski was first sent clear by Ozil on the left side of the area and calmly rounded goalkeeper Joe Murphy before slotting a left-footed shot into an empty net.
The second came from a corner that Per Mertesacker met at the near post and headed on across the goal, with Podolski waiting at the far post to nod it into the net.
"Podolski can score goals and when you have a goal chance you want him to have it," Wenger said. "He is very accurate in his finishing."
Coventry was more enterprising after the break, enjoying several spells of pressure, but Leon Clarke wasted the team's two best chances for a goal.