Friday, January 24, 11.45AM PT/2.45PM PT/7.45PM BT
FA Cup Fourth Round
Emirates Stadium, London
Movin' Pitcher Show: Fox Sports One
It's back to the FA Cup this week, as Arsenal play their first Friday night fixture since the Invincibles season, welcoming Coventry City to the Emirates. Coventry City currently occupy 11th place in League One, which is of course the Third Division. This is where this article finds itself at a fork in the road, and can go one of two ways:
1. Arsenal should beat these minnows easily! 2. Beware! Wrexham, Bradford, Magic Of The Cup, etc.
I'm not sure which way is more hackneyed, so I'll delay a decision on that for a moment and tell you a little about Coventry City instead. As mentioned, they're currently at the bottom of the top half of League One (24 teams in the lower leagues), with 34 points from 26 matches. They are one of only five teams in League One with a double-digit positive goal differential; I don't know if that's an important fact, but it's kind of an interesting one.
More importantly, Coventry have struggled lately because they went into administration last year; they spent most of 2012/13 trying to get their books in order, and were largely excluded from the transfer market because of their financial turmoil. They could only bring in as many players as they sold off, which put the club in a pretty messy position, and they finished 2012/13 in 15th place after falling from the Championship the previous year.
Coventry suffered a 10 point deduction for two years running due to their financial turmoil, which stemmed in part from the previous owners moving City to a brand new 32,000 seat arena that they couldn't afford - and which those owners stopped paying rent on, claiming it was too high, which ultimately forced Coventry City to groundshare with Northampton at Sixfields. It's been a real mess and they're just now starting to untangle all of it.
With new owners in place and an end to the financial turmoil in sight, though, Coventry are trying to build something that will get them back up the pyramid a bit. I must admit an almost complete ignorance about Coventry City, so I can't give you a lot of detail about how they play or who's dangerous for them.
Arsenal go into the game with good news - Ox will probably get a start, and so might Bendtner. Wenger insists he won't take Coventry lightly, and while no game's a gimme, I think, going back to the fork in the story from earlier, I will opt for option 1. I see no reason Arsenal can't stroll to victory, particularly at home, and move on to the 5th round of the FA Cup.
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