the three letters tar inside a cannon
article banner
JokAFC avatar


Blackpool 0-3 Arsenal - Cupset Avoided With Willock Brace

The Gunners ensured safe passage to the next stage of the FA Cup and avoided an early exit, with a comfortable 3-0 win at the home of Blackpool.With a cunning mixture of youth, refreshed fringe players and a sprinkling of the first team, we ousted the Seasiders at Bloomfield Road thanks to a brace from Jo Willock and a late goal from Alex Iwobi.Unai Emery seemingly learned from our previous tie with Blackpool, the tense 2-1 Carabao Cup win in October, and made sure our team were strong enough to avoid the same potential dramatics.It saw Petr Cech named in goal, and a strong defence in Sokratis, Stephane Lichtsteiner and Carl Jenkinson, with Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles as wing-backs.In midfield, Mohamed Elneny partnered Aaron Ramsey in what was an international centre, with Alex Iwobi and Jo Willock assisting Eddie Nketiah in attack.It was a forceful lineup, and one that signalled our intent in the competition. We got off to a good start too, with Nketiah being found by Maitland-Niles, but the young striker could only hit the side netting,Only minutes later though, Blackpool reminded us of the last game we played, when Granduillet was kept out only by the legs of Cech, and we could have easily been a goal down.Eddie Nketiah then had another chance, and he was again set up by Maitland-Niles, but again Eddie came up short - this time literally as he was inches away from a tantalising cross.It was only a minute later though, that we had the lead.Ramsey stepped up to take a free-kick in a good area, and the Welshman was denied only by the woodwork. However, the ball was still in play and Willock reacted quicker than everyone to fire home.The game levelled out after this rapid start, and while we enjoyed possession and kept the home side at arms length, there was little intent to stretch the lead.We did look like we could hurt them at will, and Iwobi was next to go close, after wiggling left and right to eke out a yard to fire narrowly wide.The home side did get another chance, after Cech punched weakly, Feeney had a shot that required a quick save from our stopper. We needed to stay on top.Just as Blackpool gave us a warning, we scored our second - and it was Willock again with the finish.We broke forward after Blackpool had enjoyed a spell, Iwobi carried the ball forward, passed to Jenkinson, who crossed. Nketiah flicked the ball to Willock who was lurking at the back and lashed it home.Nketiah tried to get in on the goals act himself just before half time. He controlled a Cech punt forward expertly, but the Seasider’s keeper kept him out.That was the last action of the half, but the second half was a very different affair. The home team seemed galvanised and went close early on, with an effort from Nottingham going just wide.Ramsey drew a save minutes later, but Blackpool were stepping up, and we had taken our foot off their neck.Then, the golden opening for Blackpool. One of our former Academy players, Marc Bola, put in a fast ball across our box, and it was Nottingham again who was in the perfect spot, but he missed so badly, shooting wide.With twenty five minutes to go, Nketiah was taken off and replaced by Lacazette, and we almost immediately scored the crucial third. Willock was in the thick of it, and danced past two, but went under a challenge. The loose ball fell to Elneny, who smashed the ball into the ground and failed to draw a save.We were gaining the upper hand again, some efforts off target were scant reward for our more industrious play. We were looking to kill the game off, but the ticking clock was proving just as effective. Two goals up and only ten minutes to go.Jo Willock almost had a game to remember - and the match ball - but after scoring what he thought was his third, the linesman ruled the goal out for offside.We waited about two minutes and we had our third, although this time it was Iwobi who scored and this time the goal stood.Lacazette gave the ball to the running Ramsey, and the Blackpool keeper pulled out a solid stop to deny the Welshman. The ball was loose though, and Iwobi stabbed home from close range.Iwobi could have made it four soon after, but his shot was down the throat of the home keeper.There wasn’t much time for anything else, save Saka making his FA Cup debut with minutes to go, in place of Iwobi, but we saw those minutes out peacefully and with little threat.We had overcome the threat of a cupset, and ensured our name goes into the fourth round of the Cup which we have enjoyed more success than anyone.A job well done lads.