Arsenal survived a late fightback against Blackpool in the Carabao Cup and defeated them 2-1 to set up a quarter-final clash with arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspurs.
For the London club, it was Stephan Lichsteiner who found the net for the first time since joining from Juventus in summer and teenage sensation Emile Smith Rowe continued to make the most of his chances in the first team as he scored a second to help the Gunners cruise their way past Blackpool.
Until Matteo Guendouzi was sent off after being shown a red card, Arsenal maintained their grip on the game and the French midfielder’s dismissal in the 56th minute left them short of one man as Blackpool potentially threatened to pull off an upset.
They were well on their way in doing that as when Blackpool defender Paudie O’Connor pulled one back in the 84th minute to stage a fightback. Arsenal clearly were under the threat of losing their one-goal lead after that goal.
But the odds were levelled when Blackpool’s goal-scorer O’Connor too was sent off after he attempted to take down substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
This, however, had a say in the Gunner’s victory eventually as they now have extended their unbeaten run to 13 games under Unai Emery.
“We controlled a lot of moments in the match,” Emery said, as quoted by BBC.
“At 2-0 the match is good but the red card gave more balance to them. But I think we deserved the victory,” he added further.
This victory thus sets up a riveting quarter-final clash for Arsenal against North London rivals Tottenham, who saw off West Ham 3-1 in their league match. Riding on a double by Son Heung-Min and a 75th-minute strike by Fernando Llorente, Spurs rallied to beat fellow Londoners and progress to the quarter-finals.