Blackpool gave Arsenal a scare on Halloween, as they bowed out of the Carabao Cup with a 2-1 defeat at The Emirates.
The hosts found themselves two goals up after 50 minutes, only to see Matteo Guendouzi sent off for a second bookable offence.
Paudie O’Connor then pulled one back for Blackpool to set up a grandstand finish to the encounter, however the on-loan Leeds man was then dismissed himself, leaving both sides to finish the game with 10 men.
Suspension resulted in a couple of changes to the Blackpool side, with Curtis Tilt serving a one-match ban and Armand Gnanduillet missing the first of three games. Donervon Daniels remained on the sidelines with a hamstring problem.
As expected, it was Arsenal who dictated the early tempo of the game, retaining possession and looking to pick out pockets of space for the likes of Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to run into.
It was Mkhitaryan who almost did just that, as he looked to pounce upon a sliced clearance. Mark Howard immediately rushed off his line to beat him to the ball, however. The Armenian international dragged an effort narrowly wide soon after.
Blackpool, aiming to utilise the pace of Nathan Delfouneso up front, had a few moments in the final third early on but without testing Petr Cech.
Defensively, The Seasiders continued to contain their opponents, though a dangerous delivery across the six-yard box from Aaron Ramsey caused slight concern. Fortunately, the cross bypassed his supporting team-mates.
Five minutes later, Arsenal found the breakthrough. Matteo Guendouzi picked out a well-timed run from Stephan Lichtsteiner and the Switzerland international slide in to knock the ball past Mark Howard.
The Gunners quickly pressed for a second and saw a fizzing effort from Guendouzi fly just wide of the target.
Aaron Ramsye was the next player to register an attempt, but he was unable to keep his back-post strike from going over the bar.
Half-Time: Arsenal 1 Blackpool 0
The Gunners doubled their advantage shortly after the interval, with the goal coming from Emile Smith-Rowe. The youngster, who faced Blackpool in the FA Youth Cup last season, reacted first to a Carl Jenkinson cross that was palmed away by Mark Howard.
Blackpool’s best chance of pulling one back then fell to Paudie O’Connor. The on-loan Leeds United man challenged for a corner into the box and had the beating of Petr Cech, only for the ball to bounce back off the bar.
Shkodran Mustafi went agonisingly close to heading in a third for Arsenal at the other end of the pitch, glancing wide after making a near post run.
A lifeline for Blackpool was presented when Matteo Guendouzi was sent off in the 56th minute, with the midfielder shown a second yellow card for a pull back on Jordan Thompson.
That dismissal resulted in a substitution for the home side. Lucas Torreira was introduced for Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Pool soon made a change of their own, which resulted in Ollie Turton reverting to his usual position of right-back. Harry Pritchard was the man brought on, replacing Michael Nottingham.
It didn’t take long for Blackpool to then find the net, and it was the man denied by the bar a little earlier, Paudie O’Connor. The defender was left unmarked from a corner and managed to nod the ball past Petr Cech.
The Seasiders had the ball in the net again three minutes later, however Nathan Delfouneso was in an offside position. Petr Cech was caught in possession by Jay Spearing, but the forward was already in front of play.
Jordan Thompson then drilled wide from a free-kick after Torreira had been penalised for a hand ball.
Arsenal opted to make their third and final change with 15 minutes of the game remaining, and it was top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who came on for Danny Welbeck. Blackpool also made another substitution, bringing on Mark Cullen for Liam Feeney.
The Seasiders were then reduced to 10-men themselves, and it was goalscorer Paudie O’Connor given his marching orders. The centre-half brought down Aubameyang near the half-way line and was immediately shown a red card.
John O’Sullivan, a late substitute for Blackpool, headed over the bar in the first of six additional minutes.
Arsenal then retained possession well to see out the result.
Full-Time: Arsenal 2 Blackpool 1