9th April 2011
Blackpool slipped into the danger zone after picking up just one point from last four league games, meaning that, odd as it may sound, this is a must-win game for the Seasiders. Arsenal hindered their title chances with three straight defeats, so the Gunners are also looking for a way to return to the right track.
It would be such a waste for Blackpool to eventually go down following some impressive displays this term, but their current league campaign just shows how ruthless the Premier League can be. The 1:0 defeat to Manchester City on the first day of 2011 started the dismal run that would see the Tangerines lose 11 out of next 15 games in all competitions, so it is little wonder that Ian Holloway’s side now sit just one point clear of the bottom three. It is clear that the lack of confidence is really affecting the players’ performances since they haven’t learned to deal with the rough patches and Blackpool without confidence is nothing more than an average Championship side. The hosts will welcome back striker DJ Campbell to the side, but keepers Matt Gilks and Paul Rachubka remain injury doubts. Chris Basham and David Carney are definitely out.
Arsenal are going through a very rough patch at the moment as everybody at the club are facing another trophy-less season, and six years without a major title is simply too much for a club of Arsenal’s stature. It seems that the Gunners were unable to recover from defeats to Barcelona and Manchester United, seeing they then failed to beat West Brom and Blackburn, meaning that they now have to win all their remaining games and hope that Manchester United will slip up at least two times. The Gunners desperately need a victory at Bloomfield Road since Manchester City and Chelsea are closing the gap behind them, which could see Arsenal miss out on the direct qualification to the Champions League group stages. Theo Walcott and Bacary Sagna remain injury doubts, but Cesc Fabregas should start after recovering from injury. Bartley, Denilson, Djourou, Fabianski, Szczesny, Vermaelen, Fabianski and Mannone remain in the infirmary.
Arsenal are nowhere near as convincing as they were few months back, but Blackpool have also suffered a big dip in form, with players struggling to cope with the lack of confidence. While a tight game is expected at Bloomfield, I believe that Arsenal might just edge this one.
Verdict: Away win Arsenal (2)
Best Odds: 4/9
Bookmaker: Paddy Power
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