Theo Walcott’s first Arsenal hat-trick helps sink Seasiders

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta

Theo Walcott scored his first Arsenal hat-trick as the Gunners brought newly-promoted Blackpool back down to earth with a bump at Emirates Stadium.

Walcott put Arsène Wenger’s side ahead in the 12th minute when he finished off a superb passing move by after being fed by Andrey Arshavin. And it was the Russia international who doubled the Gunners’ lead from the penalty spot after Marouane Chamakh was brought down by Ian Evatt.

Evatt was correctly shown a straight red card for the foul, however the incident appeared to have taken place on the edge of the penalty box. A generous decision or not, Arshavin converted the spot-kick to put Arsenal two up.

The first half belonged to Theo Walcott whose darting runs, lightning pace and clever touches terrorised Blackpool’s back line, and the 21-year-old added his second six minutes before the break with an excellent run and finish.

Abou Diaby then got the Gunners going in the second half when he hit home Bacary Sagna’s cross and Walcott sealed the first hat-trick of his club career with a curling shot in the 58th minute.

His inspired performance merited the standing ovation he received when he made way for Cesc Fábregas shortly afterwards. World Cup finalists Fábregas and Robin van Persie had started on the bench before Wenger opted to give the pair a second-half run out.

New signing Chamakh then headed home van Persie’s corner in the 83rd minute to cap a scintillating display by Wenger’s side.

Speaking after the match, Wenger said he believes the sending off was the major turning point.

“They were looking good going forward when it was 11 against 11 and I felt that if we were not ready they would score,” said Wenger. “They had a couple of good opportunities at 1-0 and after that, of course, they went down to 10 men, down 2-0 and it was too much for them.

“We created many and we took many as well. Overall we were fluent, we were sharp, we were quick going forward and we created good chances. Credit to Blackpool they continued to play even with 10 men, but overall we had the good collective drive.”


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