Pts: 25 (7-7-4)
Preseason Prediction: 20th
Accuracy: Oops, but where did you have them?
Their run in the playoffs was inspiring and dramatic, and I think everyone will be rooting for them. But from a rational (and statistical) standpoint, they can’t really be expected to stay up, can they?
There are a lot of similarities between this squad and Burnley last year: won the playoffs, little experience, very good manager, small home ground that could give bigger teams problems. Blackpool will have to get off to a great start to have any chances of staying in the Premiership for 2011-12.
I should have known that Ian Holloway wouldn’t pay attention to things like rational and statistical. Boy, Blackpool has been a huge breath of fresh air in proving everyone wrong, haven’t they? No one truly stands out, no one has a great resume, they give away goals more often than most, but they are absolutely fearless and that goes back to their manager.
Five away wins? Ridiculous. More than ridiculous. Blackpool got blasted at Arsenal and at Chelsea and Holloway swore he wasn’t going to play defensive soccer ever again. And they’ve been one of the best stories in recent memory since.
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Preseason Best new signing:
Dekel Keinan – The Israeli hasn’t been a regular for Blackpool, starting 3 games and coming off the bench for 3 more. Holloway has gotten plenty of mileage out of Craig Cathcart, on loan from Manchester United, at center back instead. They may need him before the season’s out, though.
Preseason key player:
Charlie Adam – Adam has been fantastic this season, and he looks like he’s having fun. Why shouldn’t he be? He’s the captain of a team in the Premier League. He has 3 goals and 4 assists, and seems to be in the middle of everything good that Blackpool is doing. He’s creative and that more than makes up for his lack of pace.
Key player now:
D.J. Campbell – In a year where Everton (among others) can’t find a striker, Campbell has scored 5 times and has looked dangerous in almost every Blackpool contest, not bad for a guy who spent five seasons at Chesham United, Stevenage, Billericay Town, and Yeading earlier in his career.
Inside the numbers:
2 – Number of games that Blackpool has in hand over most of the Premier League, after they had back-to-back games postponed due to cold. Bloomfield Road is the only ground in the Premier League not to have undersoil heating, but those two extra home games could pay dividends at the end of the season.
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They have been a little lucky, getting badly outshot in a few games where they got points. But they have enough points where it’s hard to see them going down. Almost impossible.