By Giuseppe Muro
Goals from Arsenal’s in-form Chuks Aneke and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and a Gilles Sunu strike gave Neil Banfield’s men a 3-0 victory over Blackpool on Monday night.
Two second-half goals in as many minutes from Aneke and Emmanuel-Thomas put the Gunners in charge and Sunu sealed the win in injury time.
However, Banfield’s team didn’t have it all their own way on a difficult night at Underhill.
Arsenal made four changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Manchester City a fortnight ago. Wojciech Szczesny has travelled to Belgrade with the first team so James Shea started between the posts. Havard Nordtveit played at right back in his first start of the season and Gavin Hoyte partnered captain Iqnasi Miquel at centre half.
Goalscorers Aneke and Emmanuel-Thomas along with Benik Afobe again formed what is quickly becoming a formidable three-pronged attack.
There was a place on the bench for French striker Sunu, who has been out of action for a number of months with a cartilage injury.
On a mild evening in Barnet, Arsenal struggled to find the form that has seen them start the season unbeaten against a well-organised Blackpool side that looked to play football whenever they had possession.
It was a frustrating first period for Banfield as he saw his side misplace a number of passes.
Emmanuel-Thomas had to come as deep as the halfway line on occasions to receive the ball as the Blackpool back four made it very difficult for the striker to impose himself on the game.
The first two opportunities at goal fell to the men in white, with first David Carney and then Matt Phillips forcing smart saves at Shea’s near post.
The closest Arsenal came in the first half was through Emmanuel-Thomas after 21 minutes. The forward dribbled his way past four defenders as he ran to the byline before crossing for Afobe. Just as he was about to pull the trigger the left leg of Chris Basham diverted the ball clear of danger.
Arsenal started the second half much brighter and began playing the football that we had seen over the opening three games of the season.
Conor Henderson, Aneke and then Jernade Meade tested Richard Kingson from long range before the Gunners created their best chance of the match after 55 minutes.
Neat one-touch passing on the edge of the area from Aneke, Emmanuel-Thomas and Henderson eventually created an opening for Roarie Deacon on the left edge of the area. The midfielder composed himself before firing in a shot that was deflected over by Coid - but Arsenal were knocking on the door.
After 71 minutes, Aneke broke the deadlock. Craig Eastmond found himself in enough space on the edge of the area to pick out Aneke with a cutting through-ball. At first Aneke ran slightly wide but he placed a shot across the keeper and into the far corner to put his side in front.
Moments later it was two.
Meade picked up a loose ball in midfield before playing a great through-ball into substitute Sunu who was brought down inside the box by Mark Halstead. Emmanuel-Thomas stepped up and calmly placed the ball into the roof of the net past the keeper's outstretched left hand.
Sunu sealed the win in injury time when he rounded the keeper and slotted into the empty net after being played in by Emmanuel-Thomas.
- Miquel (C)
- Deacon 64
- Aneke Goal!
- Henderson 64
- Emmanuel-Thomas Goal!
- Evina 64
- Sunu 64 Goal!
- Kingson 65
- Tom Berkhizen
- Halstead 65
- Kingsley Reynolds
- Liam Tomsett
- Biko Youanda