The Warm Down: Gunners progress as North London derby awaits in next round
London, UK, 31 October, 2018
Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal
During Carabao Cup fourth Round between Arsenal and Blackpool at Emirates stadium , London, England on 31 Oct 2018.
 (Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Warm Down: Gunners progress as North London derby awaits in next round

Arsenal survived a small scare against League One side Blackpool as Tottenham Hotspur await the Gunners in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.

andy-preston
Andy Preston

Stephan Lichtsteiner scored his first goal for Arsenal and Emile Smith-Rowe added a second before the Gunners survived a late push from Blackpool Town after Matteo Guendouzi was dismissed for a second booking.

Despite Paudie O’Connor heading in for the visitors, any hopes of a comeback were squandered as the defender was given a straight red card for a rash tackle on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with five minutes remaining.

Smith-Rowe a star in the making

Unai Emery has given license for one of Arsenal’s best prospects to shine in cup competitions this season, and Smith-Rowe yet again took advantage of his playtime in the first team.

The midfielder became the first Arsenal player born after 2000 to score for the club after netting in a 3-0 win in the Europa League away at Qarabag last month and added to his tally last night by scoring his first goal at the Emirates.

With Aaron Ramsey set to leave at the end of the season with contract negotiations breaking down, this may present an opening for 18-year-old Smith-Rowe to stake his claim as a starter.

Guendouzi impressive despite dismissal

The 19-year-old midfielder has made a big impression in north London since his summer arrival, with his aggressive playing style and pinpoint passing becoming almost as unique as his distinguishable mop of hair.

The Frenchman is always eager to have possession and was the driving force of many Arsenal attacks, with his persistence eventually paying off as his clipped ball into the box was converted by Lichtsteiner to open the scoring.

Guendouzi continued to pull the strings in midfield but the Gunners were put under some pressure with 35 minutes remaining when he was shown a second yellow card after the referee deemed he had pulled the shirt of an opposing player.

The red card means that Guendouzi is suspended for one match and subsequently will be unavailable for Saturday’s clash as Liverpool travel to the Emirates in what should be a thrilling match.

Left back issues still apparent

Arsenal fans will be desperate for either Nacho Monreal or Sead Kolasinac to be fit ahead of Saturday’s game against Liverpool, with Granit Xhaka having to step in at left-back against Crystal Palace with the aforementioned players injured, as well as Ainsley Maitland-Niles who was used occasionally in the position last season.

Forgotten man Carl Jenkinson made a return to first team action having not appeared for the Gunners since the 2016/17 season and the boyhood Arsenal fan put in a commendable shift at left-back.

Emery will be hoping to have a natural left-back available against Liverpool’s explosive front three who caused Arsenal problems last year in an exhilarating 3-3 encounter at the Emirates.

North London derby encounter awaits

Fans on both sides of north London will be excited at the prospect of an extra derby match on the calendar. The Carabao Cup tie will subsequently be Emery’s first taste of a north London derby since replacing Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager in the summer

The last time the two sides met in the League Cup, Mathieu Flamini was the unlikely hero as the Frenchman bagged a brace at White Hart Lane, including a sumptuous volley which flew into the bottom corner to give Arsenal bragging rights over their fierce rivals.

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