MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 2-1 Blackpool

Arsenal have booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup after defeating Blackpool 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium, despite playing much of the second half down to 10 men.

The Gunners took the lead through Stephan Lichtsteiner, with Emile Smith-Rowe adding greater comfort to Arsenal’s night with a second in the 50th minute.

Blackpool pulled it back to 2-1 shortly after Matteo Guendouzi’s red card for Arsenal, but with Tangerines also going down to ten men late on, Unai Emery’s men were able to hold onto their lead come full-time.

A whole host of changes saw only Shkodran Mustafi and Guendouzi keep their places in Emery’s starting line-up, with special attention been giving to Carl Jenkinson’s and Julio Pleguezuelo’s introduction into the Arsenal backline.

For all the possession enjoyed in the early stages of the game, the Gunners would struggle to create much by the way of chances, but they would eventually take the lead with their first genuine opportunity in the 33rd minute.

With Guendouzi collecting the ball within the final third, the Frenchman was able to spot the run of Stephan Lichtsteiner emerging inside the area, who added the finishing touch to the midfielder’s pass with an outstretched leg, finding the bottom-left corner.

The hosts pressed for a second and may have had one in the 44th minute via Aaron Ramsey, with the Welshman succumbing to the bounce on Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cross before floating an effort back over the bar.

Smith-Rowe was on hand to double Arsenal’s lead coming into the second half, as Blackpool’s goalkeeper failed to clear Carl Jenkinson’s cross prior to the youngster’s finish inside the box, volleying home off the ground.

The Tangerines replied through Paudie O’Connor’s header from a corner in the 53rd minute, beating Petr Čech in the air before being denied by the top of the crossbar.

Mustafi then neared a third for Arsenal when glancing a header wide moments later, just as Emery’s task complicated itself following Guendouzi’s second yellow card, leaving the Gunners to defend a 2-0 lead with 10 men for the remaining 35 minutes of normal time.

The pressure was ramped up on the North Londoners in the 66th minute when O’Connor made his second crack at goal count with a headed finish low into Čech’s net, cutting Arsenal’s lead down to 2-1.

O’Connor’s night soured, however, after a late challenge on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang earned the former Leeds United defender a straight red card, setting up a ten versus ten scenario for the final 12 minutes.

Regaining control, the Gunners were able to see out their opponents and cement a 2-1 victory at the Emirates.

By Patrick Ribeiro (@P_SRibeiro)

Player Ratings: Petr Čech (5) – Stephan Lichtsteiner (6), Shkodran Mustafi (8), Julio Pleguezuelo (7), Carl Jenkinson (6) – Matteo Guendouzi (7), Aaron Ramsey (7) – Ainsley Maitland-Niles (5), Emile Smith-Rowe (7), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (6) – Danny Welbeck (6)

Subs: Lucas Torreira (6), Alex Iwobi (6), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (6)


MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City

Arsenal were left powerless to accept the runners-up tag in the Carabao Cup final, this evening, as a convincing 3-0 win from Manchester City powered the league leaders to silverware.

A first-half goal from Sergio Agüero opened the accounts at Wembley, with Vincent Kompany following suit early in the second half.

With the North Londoners left shell-shocked, David Silva set City on their way for their first trophy of the season with a third, subsequently extending Arsenal’s wait for a first League Cup since 1993.

The big surprise at Wembley Stadium for Arsenal saw Aaron Ramsey return to full fitness, with Calum Chambers joining the Welshman in the XI.

Despite early dominance from Man City, it was Arsène Wenger’s men who claimed the first opportunity of the game in the 7th minute, with Mesut Özil squaring a pass over to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang before Kyle Walker’s timely intervention.

It took an uncharacteristic bit of play by City’s standards, however, to undo the deadlock, as Claudio Bravo’s long punt upfield set Agüero through on goal before lifting the ball over David Ospina for 1-0.

With the score being maintained through to half-time, it was City that once again started the half positively, nearing a second through Kompany’s deflected half-volley in the 47th minute.

It was through City’s captain that Pep Guardiola’s men eventually doubled their lead in the 58th minute, as Ilkay Gündogan’s shot found its way through a sea of bodies and into the back of the net via Kompany’s touch away from Ospina.

David Silva looked to put the game beyond any doubt, turning Chambers inside box before firing in the third with a shot across goal, as City stormed to a 3-0 lead with 25 minutes to go.

The Manchester outfit would require no more goals on their way to cup glory, with the League Cup evading Wenger’s grasp for a third time in his decorated Arsenal career.

By Patrick Ribeiro


Player Ratings: David Ospina (4) – Héctor Bellerín (5), Calum Chambers (6), Shkodran Mustafi (4), Laurent Koscielny (6), Nacho Monreal (5) – Mesut Özil (5), Aaron Ramsey (5), Granit Xhaka (4), Jack Wilshere (6) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (5)

Subs: Danny Welbeck (5), Alex Iwobi (5)