FA Cup: Brace for Willock As Arsenal Progress

FA Cup: Brace for Willock As Arsenal Progress

Seven changes to the side that beat Fulham 4-1 on New Year Day did not stop Arsenal from beginning their FA Cup campaign in grand style. The Gunners scored thrice to see off a Blackpool team whose stadium was almost secluded as several supporters of the hosts had to stay away from the venue as a form of protest to show their disgust over how the club is being run. It was in connection with this that one of the Blackpool fans had to stay on top of the bus that was to convey the Arsenal players to Bloomfield Road. His action caused delay for the team and they had to look for an alternative means of transportation. He was later arrested by the police after 40 minutes.

A late injury to Laurent Koscielny during warm up meant Carl Jenkinson got a place in the starting lineup. Aaron Ramsey started in what was Unai Emery’s first FA Cup experience as a manager of one of the sides in the competition. The Wales international despite his numbered days at Arsenal put in a spectacular display. He has continued to thrive even as it looks like he will no longer have a part in the club soon and no wonder the traveling fans kept singing his praise via chants like “We want you to stay” etc.

Joe Willock was the hero of the day scoring twice in the first half to put his side in the safe zone. The opener came through him in the 11th minute when Aaron Ramsey’s well-fired free-kick hit the bar. The youngster’s swiftness enabled him head home to become the first teenager to score in an FA Cup tie for Arsenal since Ramsey did so in January 2010.

Unai Emery’s boys launched an attack beginning with Petr Cech at the back and that led to a second for Arsenal and Willock. Like in the first, the 19-year-old striker was at the right place at the right time to squeeze in a cross from Alex Iwobi. Three decent opportunities were not properly taken by Eddie Nketiah before the break. If not, it would have been a shower of goals on the ground.

To end the day and seal Arsenal’s progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup, Iwobi lashed unto a half-saved Ramsey effort by the Blackpool goalkeeper and tapped home the third and last.

Arsenal will now find out who their next opponents will be as they look to extend their FA Cup title count to 14. The draw will take place on Monday night.

UPDATE: Arsenal have been handed Manchester United as opponents in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup. The encounter which will come up on the weekend of January 26/27 will be played at the Emirates Stadium.

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