Post-Match Report

Blackpool 0-3 Arsenal: How it happened

Blackpool -

Bloomfield Road
The Emirates FA Cup
The Emirates FA Cup
  Blackpool
   crest
Blackpool
0 3
  Arsenal
      
                  Willock (11
                   37)
                   A. Iwobi (82)
            
   crest
Arsenal
Willock (11
37)
A. Iwobi (82)

WHAT HAPPENED

A first-half brace from Joe Willock set us on the way to a well-earned win to start our Emirates FA Cup campaign in fine style.

The teenage midfielder showed great scoring instincts to twice pop up in the right place and put us in control at the break, while Alex Iwobi tapped home late on to seal our progression to the fourth round.

Willock broke the deadlock inside 10 minutes, reacting quickest inside the area to head home when Aaron Ramsey's free-kick bounced back off the crossbar.

Joe's in good company

League One side Blackpool gave as good as they got in the first half, and had several shots of their own, though nothing that unduly troubled Petr Cech.

It was from a Blackpool attack that we eventually doubled the lead. Petr Cech coolly played the ball out from the back under pressure, and the Gunners built an attack down the right wing. We went from back to front in 30 seconds, sealing the move when Iwobi's low cross was squeezed home at the far post by Willock.

Joe Willock

It could, and perhaps should, have been even better for the Gunners. Eddie Nketiah missed three decent chances in the opening half. The first came after just two minutes, shooting wide of the near post when one-on-one. 

He then couldn't quite direct Ainsley Maitland-Niles' low cross goalwards on the stretch, before seeing former Gunners academy keeper Mark Howard deny him with an excellent save in first-half stoppage time.

It was a frustrating 45 minutes for the young striker, who was replaced by Alexandre Lacazette in the second half.

The hosts remained positive after the break, and in fact had many of the better second half chances before we increased the lead, but were let down by their finishing. Michael Nottingham skied a shot when a low cross reached him at the far post, and Paudie O'Connor only headed at Cech when well placed.

Perhaps not surprisingly Blackpool began to run out of steam though, and we punished them with a well-worked third goal. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Lacazette were involved in the build up, the latter finding Ramsey in the box. 

His low shot was half saved by substitute goalkeeper Christoffer Mafoumbi, giving Iwobi the simple task of tapping home.

Job done. Blackpool's dogged resistance was ended and our bid for a record extending 14th FA Cup success is underway.

Team celebrate

HOW IT HAPPENED

Click here for a play-by-play recap of our Emirates FA Cup third-round match in the north-west

TEAM NEWS

There were seven changes to the side that beat Fulham on New Year's Day, with a starting role for Nketiah up front.

Aaron Ramsey was also named in a strong-looking lineup for Unai Emery's first-ever taste of the FA Cup. 

Laurent Koscielny was a late withdrawal due to a back complaint in the warmup, meaning Carl Jenkinson came in and Stephan Lichtsteiner played alongside Sokratis in a back four.

Carl Jenkinson

WHAT IT MEANS

We are in the hat for the fourth round draw this Monday evening. The game will take place on the weekend of January 26/27.