Blackpool vs Arsenal: Player ratings as youth prospect Joe Willock grabs the headlines - (2021)
Mark Howard 5.5/10
Made a good save to deny Nketiah on the stroke of half time to ensure Blackpool went into the break with half a chance. Forced off due to injury with around 20 minutes of normal time left to play.
Michael Nottingham 6/10
Had the pace to try and keep stride with the likes of Nketiah and Iwobi. Spurned a great chance just before the hour mark, lifting a great cut-back over the crossbar. His acceleration was useful when covering in behind his centre backs.
Donervon Daniels 5.5/10
Hurried in possession, but long passes up to Gnanduillet got a lot of joy in the first half. Did struggle with some of the movement and mobility up top from Arsenal.
Paudie O'Connor 6/10
Quite commanding in the air, happy to climb early to win headers over his man. Useful aerial presence from set pieces. Did struggle when the ball was kept on the deck and fed into the striker's feet.
Marc Bola 5.5/10
Cut back a great cross from the left-hand side near the hour mark, but Nottingham blasted over. Defensively struggled against Maitland-Niles and Arsenal had some decent joy down his flank.
Jay Spearing 6/10
Sat at the base of midfield, looking to break up play and then settle his side down in possession and hold onto the ball. Showed the right mentality, but was left a little exposed when Arsenal broke late on.
Callum Guy 6.5/10
Always looking to be positive and mop up any potential scenarios where he could shoot from the edge of the box. Popped up all over the field, making his presence felt.
Chris Taylor 5.5/10
Forced Cech into a save with a deflected shot, and was busy in the first half. Tried to take positive decisions wherever he could, showing his experience and helping to get up in support of Gnanduillet.
Liam Feeney 5.5/10
Keen to try and drive and worry Arsenal on the break, hanging up some tempting crosses from the left-hand side in the first half. Caught offside a couple of times, and became more anonymous in the second.
Nathan Delfouneso 5.5/10
Delivered a great ball from the right to the back post early on, but Guy couldn't stretch to get there. Quite busy down the right, with the confidence to drive at Kolasinac to try and deliver balls into the danger area. Lacked that bit of quality in the final third.
Armand Gnanduillet 5.5/10
Denied by a good hand from Cech inside the first five minutes, after driving at Lichtsteiner well. A real physical presence, tough to knock off the ball and a good focal point for Blackpool. Quiet in the second half due to a lack of service.
Harry Pritchard 5.5/10
Brought into the game to try and use his left-footed delivery from wide areas and set pieces. Quite quiet, however, and his one-footedness made him rather predictable.
Christoffer Mafoumbi 7/10
Brought off the bench after taking a long while to ready himself, replacing Howard in between the sticks. Made one great save to deny Ramsey late on, but the rebound fell to Iwobi. Denied Iwobi minutes later in a one-versus-one situation.
Steve Davies 5/10
Introduced in the last ten minutes of normal time as fresh legs, but didn't make an impact.
Petr Cech 6/10
Made a good save in the first five minutes to deny Gnanduillet. Commanded his penalty area fairly well against high balls, but had the odd nervy moment. Didn't have much to do at all after the break.
Carl Jenkinson 6/10
Had a chance to try his luck with a back-post header from an Iwobi cross early on, but squared it unselfishly. Struggled to get tight to Feeney. A low cross from the right-back helped to tee up Willock for his second.
Stephan Lichtsteiner 6/10
His lack of height against Gnanduillet was notable in the first half, as the Swiss defender struggled to compete in the air. Generally, however, he and Sokratis kept a good line and didn't allow the home side in behind too much.
A steady, composed game from the Greek defender, who wasn't asked any particularly big questions. Blackpool didn't manage to use any of their pace to expose the former Dortmund man.
Sead Kolasinac 6/10
Quiet in terms of his offensive output, but did manage to get into the final third a little more regularly in the last half an hour. Did well to keep Blackpool's right-hand side under wraps.
Mohamed Elneny 6/10
Not afraid to pull the trigger from the edge of the penalty area, but was often the deepest man in midfield, tasked with giving his central defenders an option.
Aaron Ramsey 6.5/10
His free-kick attempt struck the inside of Blackpool's post, bouncing back out to allow Willock to open the scoring for the Gunners. Popped up all over the field, dropping deep to help his side build, as well as pulling wide in midfield. His late shot was parried by Mafoumbi to set up Iwobi's goal.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles 7/10
Laid on two fantastic balls for Nketiah in the opening ten minutes, which could easily have turned into two assists. Showed his versatile and energy once again, with his dribbling ability key when approaching the penalty box.
Joe Willock 8/10
Nodded home a Ramsey free kick which had deflected off the woodwork and back into the mix. Very positive with his movement and keen to get in behind. Made it two 10 minutes shy of the half-time break with a close-range finish.
Alex Iwobi 7/10
Squeezed a low shot with his left foot just shy of the far post from the edge of the box just before the half-hour mark. Key in the build-up to Willock's second. Tucked home Arsenal's third from a close-range rebound to put the game beyond doubt – but was offside. Spurned a late chance to net a second after being put through into the clear.
Edward Nketiah 6.5/10
Had a good early chance on three minutes, striking the ball into the side netting. Fed through by Maitland-Niles once again a few minutes later, but hit the advertising hoardings. Could have had a hat-trick inside the first half, but instead was subbed with no goals to his name. Bright and a very encouraging performance but wasteful – lacked a killer touch.
Alexandre Lacazette 6/10
Given the last half an hour to get forward and probe the Blackpool defence. Flashed a good ball across the face of goal as the 80-minute mark approached. No goals to aid his confidence.
Zech Medley 5.5/10
Introduced for Kolasinac with around 10 minutes left to play, adding fresh legs and getting a chance for further first-team minutes after previously getting a chance in Europe.
Bakayo Saka 5.5/10
Given the last five minutes of normal time to try and make an impact. Looked to try and drive on the ball and offer some late intensity to impress his manager.
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