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Ian Holloway and Blackpool knew that the Premier League is a completely different level compared to the English Championship and today it was a big reality check for them. Such was the gulf in class, that the 6 to nothing final scoreline barely reflected the amount of chances Arsenal had throughout the game. Even after their 4-0 rout of Wigan away from home last week, the same scoreline was never on the cards at the Grove today.
Arsenal started brightly and with Tomas Rosicky taking over Samir Nasri’s mantle as the creator in chief, our football flowed through the Czech captain. Quick one touch football involving Marouane Chamakh, Andrey Arshavin and Rosicky saw Arshavin with space just outside of the Blackpool penalty box and the Russian laid it on a plate for Theo Walcott to become Arsenal’s first goalscorer of the season. Walcott was coolness personified with his placement shot and showed that sometimes, accuracy is more important than power.
There was perhaps 2 major turning points of the game which followed immediately. Stephen Crainey found space on the left and his wonderful cross was met by Gary Taylor-Fletcher, whose header went agonisingly wide of the post. Gael Clichy was guilty of ball watching and not realising that the attacker was just behind him. That was probably Crainey’s best moment in an otherwise forgettable game for him after being completely run ragged by Walcott.
The other incident was the penalty for Arsenal. First off, let me say that I thought the foul was committed outside of the box and not inside as where both Ian Evatt and Chamakh ended up in. Replay will show that Evatt had no contact with the ball and thus the referee made a right call on the foul as well as the red card. It was cruel for Blackpool but it’s a decision which sometimes you get and sometimes you don’t. Arshavin duly converted the penalty and got his opened his own accounts for the season.
Walcott then needed 3 more chances to increase his tally to 2 goals. The first, he was through on the right and should have played it across goal for Arshavin to slot into an open goal and instead went for the shot. The second, he was again through in roughly the same position, this time electing to pass when a shot was a better option. His second did finally come when Jack Wilshere played the ball to him, Walcott turned the defender insider the box with his first touch and slammed home the ball with his second.
If in the previous season, Arsenal let their foot off the pedal after taking leads into half time, this turns out to be a different Arsenal side. Barely 5 minutes into the second half and Abou Diaby made it 4-0 to Arsenal. Rosicky released Bacary Sagna on the right and I thought the ball was played with far too much pace and far too forward for the latter to reach. However, Sagna proved that his speed is not to be doubted by getting to the ball and played a perfect cutback for Diaby to volleyed the ball home into the bottom corner. Nothing Blackpool could do about this goal. Swift and incisive are just two words to describe the best goal of the game.
The same two combined to set up Arsenal’s fifth and sealed Walcott’s first ever hattrick in Arsenal colours. Wriggling past 3 Blackpool defenders, Walcott created space for himself inside the box and finished immaculately with his left foot. It was a wonderful goal to cap a good day’s work for the Englishman. He used the ball well today and made right decisions with his choices. Blackpool probably played into his hands by affording Walcott with space to use his electrifying pace.
Robin Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas got on with 30 minutes to spare and the result already a foregone conclusion. From then on, Arsenal took the pace out of the game and was contend to stroke the ball around without further threatening the opposition’s goal. However that did not stop Arsenal adding a sixth goal to their tally. I hope it’s a first of many for Chamakh who got on RVP’s corner to powerfully head home his first ever goal for Arsenal in the 83rd minute.
The clean sheet is another major plus point from the game, although in all fairness it was pretty much a one way traffic. This was a very satisfying home victory for Arsenal but let’s not get too carried away. This is only the second game and no matter how big the margin was, this is only Blackpool. A lot of confidence can be taken from games like this but make no mistake, there will be tougher games up ahead.
Well, that’s all I can get my head around. Now, to watch those the goals again and enjoy the rest of my weekend. Till tomorrow. Have a nice one.