Blackpool vs Man Utd: Preview, Predicted Score & Preferred Team
After having their first attempt to play this match postponed due to weather, Manchester United finally travels to Bloomfield Road to battle the Barclays Premier League newcomers, Blackpool. Both clubs will have had only three days of preparation from their weekend’s matches, which saw United score an impressive 5-0 win over Birmingham City, but the hosts suffered their second straight setback with a 2-1 home loss against Sunderland.
Despite not playing anywhere near their best, the Reds have done well to cement their title intentions as they currently sit on top of the standings, but the Seasiders will make sure that United has to work hard if they are to extend their lead over the trailing pack. So far, United have taken seven out of possible nine points off the other two newly-promoted teams – a 3-0 home win over Newcastle United; a 2-2 draw against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford; and finished off with a fresh-in-the-mind 2-1 win at The Hawthorns.
United’s recent away win against Albion marked only the second time that they have been victorious away from Old Trafford this season, so the Reds desperately need to improve on their 14 points they have earned from their 10 away matches if they are going to separate themselves from their title rivals, which should start against Blackpool.
However, in very surprising fashion, the Tangerines have enjoyed a very respectable start to their first Premier League campaign, so it will not be a guaranteed three points for United.
The Seasiders solid start to the season has being quite reflective of the mental toughness and sass that their manager, Ian Holloway, has admirably shown on multiple occasions – including leaping to the side of Sir Alex Ferguson during the entire Wayne Rooney saga. Blackpool’s boisterous boss went into a red-faced rant by absolutely shredding apart the ill-advised actions of modern-day players and their agents with a passion-filled rant during the whole Wayne Rooney saga in October.
After their 22 games, the Tangerines are in 12th place in the league table, but Blackpool could move up to seventh place if they take all three points off United. Another shock from Blackpool’s season has been the fact that only three of their eight Premier League wins, which includes two wins against Liverpool, have come at Bloomfield Road.
Also, Blackpool’s four losses in their nine home games should give United an extra bit of confidence that they can reverse their road woes. Blackpool have allowed the fifth most goals – 38, 16 at home – in the league so far this season, but on the other end of the field, the Seasiders are tied for the seventh with 32 goals scored.
Charlie Adam, who is being linked with a host of other Premier League clubs, is far and away Blackpool’s most influential player, and the former Rangers’ midfielder has contributed four goals in his 21 appearances. There have been a few players who have really benefited from Holloway’s management style as DJ Campbell, Marlon Harewood and Luke Varney have excelled this season.
These three attack-minded players have combined to score 17 goals – which is equal to Dimitar Berbatov’s season – with Campbell leading the way with seven. Campbell and Harewood are two very different forwards, but they both could potentially trouble United’s back-four if Rio Ferdinand does not recover from the groin injury that kept him out action this past weekend.
After failing to make a senior appearance for United, Craig Cathcart decided to sign a permanent at Bloomfield Road this past summer. The Reds must be weary of his presence on set pieces, because United have already been victimized by two of other former youth players – Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (Wolverhampton) and Jonathan Spector (West Ham United) – scoring goals against them.
It will be interesting to see who Sir Alex chooses to play at right-back, because John O’Shea played very well in place of the suspended Rafael by chipping in with two assists. Michael Carrick was forced off 25 minutes into the match after taking another stamp on his foot, so he will more than likely miss out, which should give Paul Scholes an opportunity to get his first appearance for United since November 24.
The form of Rooney and Berbatov will more than likely see Ferguson retain their partnership against Blackpool, which means that Javier Hernandez and Michael Owen will challenge for a place on the bench. If the Manchester United players have learned anything about this season it has been that there are no more give-me games in the Barclays Premier League, and that they will need to be near their best to see off tricky Blackpool side.
Out: A. Valencia (leg), O. Hargreaves (hamstring); Questionable: M. Carrick (foot), R. Ferdinand (groin)
E. van der Sar; Rafael, C. Smalling, N. Vidic, P. Evra; Nani, P. Scholes, Anderson, R. Giggs; W. Rooney, D. Berbatov
Blackpool 2 Manchester United 3
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