Chelsea entertain Blackpool, the surprise package of the Premiership so far, this weekend at Stamford Bridge in the Sky TV Sunday Live match. A full house will be expecting to see the Seasiders put to the sword as we seek to continue our 100% start to the 2010/2011 campaign.
Blackpool, managed by the effervescent Ian Holloway, will be buoyant after a mercurial win at St James’ Park last time out. Holloway claims that Blackpool will continue to play an expansive 4-3-3 and will not be parking the bus at the Bridge. I believe this will be the downfall of the play-off winners as they surely cannot continue to gain points playing with such open abandonment. Arsenal exposed their soft underbelly at the Emirates, albeit after the Lancastrians were reduced to 10, with quick one touch passing and movement right out of Ancelotti’s playing manual.
Last season Burnley had a similar surprise start but as expected faded to be relegated as predicted by many. I think ‘Ollie’s’ lot will suffer a similar fate. They rely heavily on ex rangers man Charlie Adam who will surely be exposed by the rested Lampard and, the best central midfielder on the planet, Michael Essien. I believe their keeper Mathew Gilks has been the best in the League so far but Drogba, Anelka and Malouda will make him look very ordinary on Sunday.
We have tended to do well, at home, following mid-week Champions League endeavours and I cannot see any upsets on Sunday. However, does anyone recall Blackpool’s last visit to the home of the current Champions? The year was 1996 and we played them in a Carling Cup Second Round match. Chelsea had won the away encounter at Bloomfield Road 4-1 and was expected to knock up a cricket score at home. The travelling orange army were in euphoria as their team took a 3-0 lead to leave the aggregate scores 4-4 only for the diminutive John Spencer to end their dreams late on.
Only Chelsea have scored more away goals, so far this season, than Blackpool, however only West Brom have conceded more than them away from home. I can only see this one going one way and I fully expect Carlo to have the boys fully focussed to get the three vital points before difficult encounters with Man City and Arsenal. Take Chelsea to win 5-0 and in Holloway’s terminology see us continue our ‘phantasmagorical’ start to the season.