Blackpool 0-3 Arsenal

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Press conference

Every word: Emery’s post-match press conference

Unai Emery

Unai Emery was in a good mood after we booked our spot in the Emirates FA Cup fourth round with a 3-0 win at Blackpool.

Our head coach faced the media after the game to discuss his first experience of the competition, Joe Willock’s performance, the latest on Laurent Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey, and transfer rumours.

Read on for what he had to say:

on whether preparation was hindered by the incident outside the team hotel...
Good evening. No change for us but we know there were some problems here with the club's supporters and the club, but from us there is respect, respect to them, to the club, to the supporters and to the team. We prepared for the match with this respect also for this competition. I think that the 90 minutes against a competitive team also, I think we can watch a big match I think for them and for us.

on whether the intruder's presence on the team bus was worrying for him...
I cannot say a lot for this situation. Only respect and I want to find a solution for the problem they have, the supporters of the team and the club here.

on what he made of his first experience of the Emirates FA Cup...
I am very proud of the players today, of our work. Because first, the adaptation to the circumstances and the atmosphere here. I think every player was with very big commitment, very good concentration in the 90 minutes, being competitive to impose, little-by-little, our positioning and also sometimes our quality. But it's very important first that with the respect, the adaptation to their game plan: the long ball, the second action, in the duels. We did that and I am very happy for every player and their work today.

on Joe Willock’s progress…
We need every player with the commitment. And with the preparation, when the team needs it, they can help us. The opportunity is coming in some matches like today for example. We mixed the experienced players in the squad and in the first 11 with some young players like Willock, like Eddie Nketiah and also Ainsley and I think it's a good combination, because they can show us they are progressing with the team. The most important is with the passions, they work hard and be concentrated when they need to help again today. And then, I am very happy with Willock and also with Eddie. Eddie had three good chances to score, but the most important is to create these chances. Willock scored and I think it's good for them and for us.

on Laurent Koscielny…
Yes [it’s a back problem]. I hope it’s not bad. He has one week to rest and to work, thinking about the next match against West Ham. I hope he’s going to be OK for the next matches but before the match, he felt some pain in his back. We decided it was better for him to not play. At the moment, with our problems at centre back, it meant we were able to look at different players in different positions. Today that was Lichtsteiner, who played with very good commitment and concentration to help us at centre back with Sokratis. 

on whether Denis Suarez is close to joining Arsenal…
I don’t know. 

on whether Suarez is a player he would like…
I think the club is working for the possibility to bring in some players who can help us during this next four months of competition. It’s a different situation. If the transfer market can help us find a centre back, the possibility to bring them in is not easy because we also have Mavropanos coming back from injury. If we have the possibility to sign some important players, we can do it. At left or right wing, perhaps one player can help us in this position. We will only sign players who give us quality. 

on whether Suarez is a winger or a central player…
He was playing as a left or right winger for Sevilla when he was with me.

on Aaron Ramsey’s situation…
For me the best thing about Aaron Ramsey is his commitment today and his performance is the most important thing for me. I am very proud of every player because of how they played and how they worked together. I’m so pleased with how they all adapted to the circumstances today. 

on whether there’s an update on Ramsey’s situation…
I am thinking about each match, preparing each match, and today I can say to you, to every supporter, that we are at the beginning of this competition. This experience and this mentality shown by every player today is something to be proud of. About his situation? I don’t know.

Video

Watch how we progressed in the Emirates FA Cup

We reached the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday, courtesy of a convincing 3-0 win at League One side Blackpool.

A first-half brace from Joe Willock put us in command at the break and, having created numerous chances after the restart, Alex Iwobi completed the scoring from close range late on.

You can now watch extended highlights from the win above, plus a short goals clip and a full match replay below.

Press conference

Emery gives the latest on Laurent Koscielny

Koscielny

Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup win over Blackpool was tainted by an injury to Laurent Koscielny ahead of kick-off.

Our captain was due to start at Bloomfield Road but a back problem in the warm-up forced a late change to our teamsheet, with Carl Jenkinson coming into the side and Stephan Lichtsteiner stepping across to centre back.

Unai Emery was asked about Koscielny after the game. This is what he said:

on Laurent Koscielny…
Yes [it’s a back problem]. I hope it’s not bad. He has one week to rest and to work, thinking about the next match against West Ham. I hope he’s going to be OK for the next matches but before the match, he felt some pain in his back. We decided it was better for him to not play. At the moment, with our problems at centre back, it meant we were able to look at different players in different positions. Today that was Lichtsteiner, who played with very good commitment and concentration to help us at centre back with Sokratis.

Press conference

Unai Emery on Aaron Ramsey and Denis Suarez

Ramsey

Following our Emirates FA Cup third-round win over Blackpool, much of Unai Emery’s post-match press conference was dominated by transfer speculation.

Our head coach fielded questions on Aaron Ramsey’s future and addressed rumours linking us with Denis Suarez.

Read on to find out what he said:

on whether Denis Suarez is close to joining Arsenal…
I don’t know. 

on whether Suarez is a player he would like…
I think the club is working for the possibility to bring in some players who can help us during this next four months of competition. It’s a different situation. If the transfer market can help us find a centre back, the possibility to bring them in is not easy because we also have Mavropanos coming back from injury. If we have the possibility to sign some important players, we can do it. At left or right wing, perhaps one player can help us in this position. We will only sign players who give us quality. 

on whether Suarez is a winger or a central player…
He was playing as a left or right winger for Sevilla when he was with me.

on Aaron Ramsey’s situation…
For me the best thing about Aaron Ramsey is his commitment today and his performance is the most important thing for me. I am very proud of every player because of how they played and how they worked together. I’m so pleased with how they all adapted to the circumstances today. 

on whether there’s an update on Ramsey’s situation…
I am thinking about each match, preparing each match, and today I can say to you, to every supporter, that we are at the beginning of this competition. This experience and this mentality shown by every player today is something to be proud of. About his situation? I don’t know.

Post-Match Report

Blackpool 0-3 Arsenal: How it happened

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.

Fixtures

Premier League
Ticket Info
The Emirates FA Cup
Ticket Info

Results

Premier League
The Emirates FA Cup