Arsenal 6 v Blackpool 0

Theo Walcott netted his first Arsenal hat-trick, as Arsenal crushed Blackpool 6-0 at the Emirates on Saturday. Andrey Arshavin’s penalty and Abou Diaby were also on the score-sheet, with Maraoune Chamakh heading his first Premiership strike adding deserved gloss to the score-line. Blackpool were reduced to ten men when Ian Evatt was sent off after bringing down Chamakh which led to the penalty that Arshavin was to coolly convert.


Arsenal took the lead on 12 minutes and it was no more than their early possession deserved. The move started on the left as Chamakh fed Thomas Rosicky. Arshavin then raced on to find Walcott who placed comfortably into the net. Jack Wilshere was enjoying his rare midfield start and alongside Rosicky, Arsenal were comfortable on the ball. Walcott saw his free-kick sail wide, but Blackpool almost levelled on the quarter hour mark. Stephen Crainey surged forward and his cross was met powerfully by Gary Taylor Fletcher, but with only Almunia to beat, headed wide.


The Gunners began to stroke the ball in their customary fashion and only some fine saves from Mathew Gilks denied Arsenal from increasing their lead. Arsenal did double their lead in controversial circumstances. Rosicky found Chamakh with Evatt in close proximity. Chamakh surged forward but the Blackpool defender caught the Morocco forward, who fell in the area. Referee Mike Jones pointed to the penalty spot and almost as immediately brandished a straight red card at Evatt just past the half hour mark.


Arshavin converted the resultant penalty much to the dismay of Tangerines manager Ian Holloway. It was Arsenal at their free-flowing best and Walcott added his side’s third six minutes before the break. The England man was giving the Blackpool defence a torrid time, and as Chamakh and Wilshere linked up, Walcott rolled substitute Dekel Keinan to add an Arsenal third. The Gunners fourth arrived just five minutes after the break. Bacary Sagna crossed inch perfect from the right for Abou Diaby to volley in. Walcott completed his hat-trick just shy of the hour mark. Diaby turned provider and Walcott held off his defender for a perfect left foot finish. He was replaced by Carlos Vela soon after.


With Almunia a virtual spectator, Arsenal continued to attack, and apart from the goals, the biggest cheer came with the introduction of substitutes Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie. Fellow substitute Vela danced his way through the defence and was unlucky not to profit from his shot that was deflected for a corner. Van Persie swung in the resultant corner and Chamakh headed in for his first Arsenal strike as the Gunners now went 6-0 up for a win that had quality written all over it. On the strength of this game, this could prove to be a very long season for Blackpool.