Blackpool 0-3 Arsenal
A breather from the Premiership as Arsenal travelled up north to entertain a Blackpool side languishing in League one in the FA Cup. The game was live on BT Sport as the executives smelt a giant killing, although all they got on the day was an empty stadium and a lot of talk about ownership and fan protests..
The Blackpool owner not only committing crimes against fashion but also ruining a famous old club, whilst one fan decided sitting on the Arsenal bus might be a good idea!, news flash, they just ordered another one!
The team news saw a late change as Koscielny got injured in the warm up meaning Carl 'living the dream' Jenkinson got a run out with Smith Rowe making the bench.
Arsenal: Cech, Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Elneny, Ramsey, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Iwobi, Nketiah
Quite an open start in a strange atmosphere at the Bloomfield Stadium, with more away fans than home supporters the onus was on Arsenal to show their superiority. Good early possession on what looked a horrible surface nearly took early dividends as a slick move involving Ramsey and Maitland-Niles found Nketiah, with the keeper to beat, the youngster missed nervously. At the other end Blackpool nearly waltzed into the Arsenal defence unchallenged, Lichtsteiner not making any sort of meaningful tackle, Cech saving well. Nekitiah then missed another sitter as Jenkinson and Maitland-Niles combined to find the 'young Ian Wright' at the back post, "yeah I think he missed again". The look on Eddies' face as if he heard that horrible Phill Collins track again on ear worm FM..
Joe Willock was looking lively and elegant in midfield, a bit like Paul Davis without the bite, the youngster was getting about the pitch with good energy and his awareness was awarded with a goal in the 11th minute when a Ramsey free kick rebounded back off the post/crossbar, falling to Willock who was first to react and head home. 1-0 Arsenal, that's how you do it Eddie!
The game slowed and chances were sparse, Nketiah was holding the ball up well despite his failings in front of goal and Iwobi created a good chance for Jenkinson who really should have buried a header at the back post. Then on 37 minutes it got twice as good for Willock, Jenkinson combining with Iwobi to cross to Nketiah who produced a beautiful flick leaving Willock with a tap in, lovely worked goal, 2-0 and game over. There was still time for Nketiah to miss another sitter on the stroke of halftime, thus giving the manager a reminder going into the break, never a good idea with this manager, he loves a change!
It took Unai twenty minutes to hook Eddie in the second half, to be fair he was given a chance but really didn't manage anything and started to fade, the rest of the team seemed to be be happy to sit on 2-0, not really doing much but keeping possession with the odd chance given away to the opposition.
Lacazette's inclusion didn't really change proceedings, only really adding a threat in the heads of the Blackpool defence, Willock was trying hard to get his third, probably too hard but was unlucky with 10 minutes to go finding the net well but also finding VAR in the way. Rightly ruled offside.
The final goal came from a good move involving Lacazette and Ramsey, the welshman through on goal but finding his shot saved, Iwobi ran on to the parry for a tap in, 3-0, Tangerines peeled!
The kid Saka got on for Lichtsteiner, which summed up the defenders night perfectly and that was that!
Hang on, did someone say a clean sheet?
Positives: Willock showing the manager what he can do.
Negatives: Another injury in the backline and the defence giving chances to BLACKPOOL FFS
Cech: Still hasn't learnt to play with his feet. 6/10
Lichtsteiner: Just stop it. 3/10
Sokratis: Best defender on the night. 6/10
Kolasinac: Missing in action at the back, good going forward. 6/10
Jenkinson: Leaving the dream and did ok on the right going forward. 7/10
Elneny: Loves a sideways pass. 5/10
Ramsey: Run around a lot looked lively at times. 7/10
Maitland-Niles: A new teachers pet. 8/10
Willock: Great effort, looks a find in that area. MOM 8/10
Iwobi: Threw a few shapes. 7/10
Nketiah: Not clinical enough by a long shot but held the ball up well. 7/10
Lacazette: An upgrade on Nketiah but not too much. 7/10
Saka: Looked like the boy he is, little impact. 5/10
Next up in the cup Man U at home (jeeeze), next up in the Premiership West Ham away, (a breeze?), let's hope so.