EMILE SMITH ROWE was barely one-year-old when Stephan Lichtsteiner made his skilled debut for Grasshoppers.
However final night time the unlikely team-mates proved that age is simply a quantity as ten-man Arsenal sneaked via to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
Swiss worldwide Lichtsteiner, 34, turned the Gunners’ 14th completely different scorer this season when he netted his first membership purpose for greater than two years.
And teenager Smith Rowe, 18, confirmed his repute as the way forward for the membership with an opportunist’s end to see Unai Emery’s males over the ending line.
But this was something however straightforward for an Arsenal workforce which at the moment are unbeaten in 13 video games in all competitions.
Matteo Guendouzi’s 57th minute dismissal for 2 yellow playing cards supplied an unlikely lifeline to their League One opponents.
They decreased the arrears with a 66th minute header from Paudie O’Connor.
They usually had been desperately unfortunate to be denied a shock equaliser when Petr Cech was tackled by Jay Spearing attempting to dribble the ball out of his personal space, however Nathan Delfouneso was offside when he turned the ball into the empty internet.
For Arsenal, whose lengthy profitable run lastly got here to an finish with Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace, this was their fourth match in ten days.
But regardless that Emery made 9 adjustments to his workforce, he nonetheless named seven full internationals in his beginning line-up and three extra on the bench.
Blackpool boss Terry McPhillips might solely dream of such assets.
Eight of his workforce had been signed on free transfers and the remainder have joined them on mortgage.
It was 60 years in the past this month that Blackpool final gained at Arsenal, when 43-year-old Sir Stanley Matthews was starring in black and white.
In order that they arrived in north London with completely nothing to lose and relishing the chance to check themselves in opposition to Arsenal’s millionaires.
They even normal out the primary probability of the tie within the fifth minute when Liam Feeney’s harmful cross was sliced over his personal bar by Carl Jenkinson.
It was Jenkinson’s first Arsenal look in 701 days since his final outing within the League Cup defeat by Southampton two years in the past.
The previous England full-back was alongside Spanish debutant Julio Pleguezuelo in a makeshift again 4 which didn’t precisely look impenetrable.
They wanted a well timed interception by by Guendouzi to ease Delfouneso off the ball after Henrikh Mkhitaryan had misplaced possession on the sting of his personal space.
And it wasn’t till halfway via the first-half that Arsenal had been in a position to threaten the Blackpool purpose, when Ben Heneghan did effectively to clear Lichtsteiner’s cross from beneath his personal bar with Danny Welbeck closing in for the kill.
The League One outsiders had been combating for each ball as if their lives trusted it.
However they had been being pushed deeper and deeper into their very own half as Arsenal regularly turned the screw.
And their courageous resistance was lastly damaged when Lichtsteiner stretched to volley Guendouzi’s 35th minute chip past stranded keeper Mark Howard with the skin of his left boot.
It was a purpose which set the Seasiders again on their heels and left them going through an uphill battle in opposition to a workforce unbeaten since August.
And it meant that Arsenal had truly secured a uncommon first-half lead after struggling to impose themselves throughout the first 45 minutes for many of Emery’s time in cost.
Aaron Ramsey wasted a superb probability to increase Arsenal’s lead from Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cross simply earlier than the interval as Emery’s males regarded to place the tie to mattress.
The Welsh worldwide complained final week that the membership nonetheless hadn’t instructed him why that they had withdrawn their contract provide to him.
He lastly received the reason he was after in a gathering with head of soccer Raul Sanllehi on the weekend.
Nevertheless it most likely wasn’t the reply he needed to listen to when it was made clear to him that the membership don’t assume he’s value £250,000-a-week.
And the truth that he was on Carabao Cup obligation when most of his famous person colleagues got the night time off was affirmation of simply how a lot his star has fallen on the Emirates.
Cech was one other huge identify Arsenal star who might have been forgiven for questioning what he had performed mistaken to seek out himself concerned on such a low-key event.
However the veteran keeper didn’t precisely cowl himself in glory when he tried to point out he’s pretty much as good a sweeper-keeper as Bernd Leno and nearly handed an equaliser to Blackpool.
But at the least the guests can take coronary heart from the data that they gave Arsenal way more of a scare than they had been entitled to do.
They gave their all to remain in rivalry however knew the sport was up when Howard might solely palm Jenkinson’s 51st minute cross into the trail of Smith Rowe for to attain his first Emirates purpose.
Guendouzi’s dismissal for a foul on Jordan Thompson which earned him a second yellow card briefly threatened to derail the Gunners’ serene progress to the final eight.
However Blackpool’s hopes had been ended by O’Connor’s straight purple card for hacking down Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang within the 84th minute.