Walcott gives Blackpool six of the best

Arsenal 6 Blackpool 0: Forward scores first Arsenal hat-trick in 'masterclass' as 10-man Tangerines are brought crashing down to earth

To say that Arsenal are not Wigan would qualify for an A* in what Basil Fawlty used to call the bleedin' obvious.

Blackpool, stunning four-goal winners at the DW Stadium last week, discovered yesterday just how vast the gap is between the two ends of the Premier League. Three goals and one man down by half-time – Ian Evatt was sent off in the 32nd minute – their players must have spent much of the second half looking beseechingly at the new clock adorning the official Clock End they were supposed to be attacking. It refused to tick any faster and three more goals had gone in before the referee Mike Jones ended the contest on humanitarian grounds.

The indomitable visiting supporters meanwhile sang "this is the best trip I've ever been on", even as, at 5-0 down, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie stood on the touchline awaiting an entrance as substitutes. Much more of this and the enjoyment may wear a little thin. Consolation will come if they can keep sufficient self-belief to play their football and win some more points off Wigan and the League's other Ws: the West Hams, Wolves and West Bromwichs.

Like the match itself, there were unfair contests all over the pitch, above all between Theo Walcott and the labouring left-back Stephen Crainey. Having scored the first hat-trick of his Arsenal career, Walcott must have been disappointed to be substituted after 66 minutes; not to mention learning that Fabio Capello had been elsewhere. "I like the fact that he mixed the final ball and finishing, which is always a sign a player is more mature," Arsenal's manager Arsène Wenger said. "He benefited from a summer break and he's a person who always sees the glass is half full not half empty."

Blackpool's Ian Holloway could have been excused for staring at the bottom of his glass, but he is sensible enough to realise there will be days like these this season, and he had raised the possibility himself before the game. "If they get a couple early on I dread to think what might happen," he had said. They did so, and the penalty for the second of them brought with it a red card for Evatt, so losing by six was in the circumstances just about to be expected. Teams as established as Everton and Middlesbrough have both lost at Arsenal by more in the last seven years.

"Everything about this place is class and that was a masterclass," Holloway said of the experience. "It was an absolute education. Theo Walcott was unplayable and I hope he continues that because he's English." His one complaint, above some naive defending, was about the triple jeopardy of a penalty, sending-off and suspension. "I thought it was harsh to say the least," he said. "But onwards and upwards. I'm relieved it wasn't 10 or 12."

To say the game turned on the sending off would be inaccurate, for the pattern had been set long before that: Blackpool pushed forward boldly but tended to be caught out by swift inter-passing and Walcott's sure finishing. Critically, they missed one excellent chance, when Crainey's cross was headed weakly wide by Gary Taylor-Fletcher, scorer of the historic first goal at Wigan.

Arsenal were already ahead at that point. In the 13th minute, Andrey Arshavin played a sweet one-two with the excellent Tomas Rosicky and set up Walcott for the first of three fine finishes. Arshavin scored from the penalty after Evatt brought down Marouane Chamakh with a challenge that began outside the area but finished inside, for all the defender's protests. Chamakh's failure to capitalise on his team's dominance was the one blot on the Emirates landscape as Walcott, twice, and Abou Diaby added further goals in the space of 20 minutes either side of the interval. Then, finally, Chamakh had his first Arsenal goal, albeit with a header from Van Persie's corner that the goalkeeper should have saved.

Holloway, having lost a chairman last week, says he wants more players. Wenger does too and is optimistic of securing one this week, though he would not confirm that it will be Fulham's goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

Attendance: 60,032

Referee: Michael Jones

Man of the match: Walcott

Match rating: 7/10

Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
News
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
peopleFilm star says he is 'not interested in making money anymore'
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksChristmas comes early for wizard fans
News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
filmsOculus Rift offers breathtakingly realistic simulation of zero gravity
News
news
News
peopleCampaign 'to help protect young people across the world'
Life and Style
tech

News
people'When I see people who look totally different, it brings me back to that time in my life'
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker