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Expect Entertainment as Blackpool take on Manchester United

Premiership Tips preview this weekend’s Premier League clash between new boys Blackpool and 11x Champions Manchester United.

A dream matchup for Blackpool fans as they welcome Manchester United to Bloomfield Road in the Premier League on Saturday.

With a capacity that is just over 16,000, for an evening game that is likely to be played below 0, this game could almost have a cup tie feel to give, given the large stadiums Manchester United are use to playing in. Perhaps it’s not the best time to mention Manchester United and cups, given their 4-0 hiding at the hands of West Ham in the snow on Tuesday night.

Blackpool continue to overachieve in an attempt to keep people like myself quiet. Written off week after week, they have 19 points from their first 15 Premier League games; 5 points outside of the relegation zone. However, this Saturday sees the start of a tough run for the Tangerines, whom then go on to face Stoke City (away), Tottenham (home), Liverpool (home), Sunderland (away) before travelling to Manchester City on new years day. Will they still be outside of the relegation zone on new years day?

Richard Kingson will remain in goal for Blackpool this weekend due to injuries to both Matthew Gilks and Paul Rachubka. Ghana’s World Cup goalkeeper has failed to keep a clean sheet in his 3 full games at Blackpool, but has made a combined 21 saves in those matches. Expect him to be involved in a lot of action on Saturday.

In front of him is where the trouble lies. At left back is Stephen Crainey. Not gifted with pace, he will have a hard time against either Nani or Park, whomever Sir Alex Ferguson plays on the right wing. Nani in particular could dominant the game from that side of the field. Crainey will be requiring help from midfield to prevent Nani getting in one-on-one situations with him. From Manchester United’s point of view, Rafael would be ideal at right back as he offers the best attacking threat from that position. However, Luke Varney is capable of exposing him at the back.

Ian Evatt will put up a physical battle against both Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney, should Sir Alex Ferguson stick with the same starting 11 that proved so successful last weekend. The former Derby County defender can deal with the long balls in his direction, but any pace or flair does cause him problems. He’ll play alongside former Manchester United youth, Craig Cathcart, with the pair set to be in for a long day.

The midfield battle is always a key. Blackpool lack a defensive midfielder in their side, whom is capable of breaking down the United attacks in a way that Darren Fletcher will do for the opposition. With the creative flair of Nani, Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney alone in the Manchester United lineup, there’s only so much hard work and closing down they can do before the Premier League leaders tear them apart.

With a lack of defensive players in their team comes a whole host of attacking players. DJ Campbell was wasteful last weekend as they let 2 points slip out of their grasp. He has 2 goals to his name this season, as does right-sided forward Gary Taylor-Fletcher. On the other side, Luke Varney has 5 goals and 4 assists on-loan from Derby County this season. Charlie Adam in midfield has been involved in 6 of Blackpool’s goals this season, while Elliot Grandin has been delivering good set pieces.

Manchester United have 2 clean sheets in 7 away games in the league this season, winning just once (at Stoke) and drawing the other 6. Blackpool will give Manchester United a lot of space to attack in, for which I expect both of their full backs to take advantage of. This will give Blackpool chances on the counter attack of their own, possessing some pace in their team. Set pieces will also be another opportunity to score from; a place both their goals came from last weekend.

Ian Holloway has been very naïve this season which has made Blackpool one of the most exciting teams in the league. They’re one of the most overachieving sides at this stage too. Manchester United are capable of turning up and showing them a lesson on Saturday. I expect this to an entertaining game up until the point Manchester United start running away with it, if they do. Dimitar Berbatov falls in and out of games, so should be considered a risk for the fantasy team. This is another great opportunity for Wayne Rooney to get his name on the scoresheet. Players I am expecting to play impressive in attack for Manchester United are Nani and Patrice Evra in this one.

For gambling opportunities, you can find odds of above evens on Betfair for Manchester United to win by 2 or more. Over 3.5 goals is also odds-against, while either side to score 4 or more goals is currently quoted at 3.85.

Written by Premiership Tips.



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