The boys in orange took the first half of this Premiership season by storm and at one point they were sitting in the top half of the League table looking at possible European qualification. Their attacking style of play took plenty of the Premier League's ever-presents, and pundits, by surprise, allowing The Seasiders to record victories over Liverpool (twice), Tottenham, Sunderland and Stoke. However, these big wins have been too few and far between in the second half of the season. The element of surprise has been lost and the honeymoon period is well and truly over.
The same Blackpool side that were looking to get into Europe are now staring at possible relegation as they sit just one place and one point above the relegation zone with games against Arsenal, Stoke, Tottenham, Bolton and Manchester United to come. A massive six point, must-win game against Wigan Athletic is coming up on the 16th of this month and you have to say that if they fail to win that, things will look very bleak indeed for Ian Holloway's side.
Why have Blackpool suffered so much recently? I think it's simple. Blackpool play a very attacking but very risky game. To highlight this, Blackpool have scored more goals than any club in the bottom half of the table with 45. However, they have the second worst GD (Goal Difference) in the Premier League with -18. Only bottom placed Wigan are worse. They have also conceded the most goals out of every club, letting in 59 goals in just 31 games. That is nearly 2 per game.
There is a reason why many clubs who get promoted to the Premier League play a conservative style of football in their first year at least. They are looking to win games by one goal or play for draws against the powerhouse teams by packing men behind the ball or flooding the midfield with bodies. In contrast, Blackpool have attacked in every game and, while that is admirable, it has not helped the club in the long run as they look to secure their Premier League status.
|Holloway: Too inflexible?|
I am loathe to blame managers for the player's performances but in this case, most of the blame has to lie with Ian Holloway. It is his system that the team is playing and it is his lack of flexibility that has cost the team greatly. When things started to go wrong for Blackpool, Holloway should have changed to a more conservative style of football. Instead, he continues to pile men forward, leaving gaps at the back which have been exploited on too many occasions this year.
I worry for Blackpool and I think they are favourites, along with Wolves and Wigan to go down. You have to admit that for the first half of the season The Seasiders were playing well beyond themselves and things were bound to get worse.
What do you think?