Blackpool v Spurs: Seasiders facing a Hull of a task
THE TALE of the Tigers – it’s the cautionary story for all newly-promoted teams who make a big splash and begin to believe that they have earned their stripes in the top flight.
Who can forget Hull City’s arrival in the Premier League in 2008, as Phil Brown’s side announced their arrival with a victory in their opening fixture before going on to win five games out of six.
That sequence included memorable away wins at Newcastle, Arsenal, Spurs and West Bromwich Albion, preceding a heroic 4-3 defeat at Old Trafford and a 2-2 draw at Liverpool.
Amazingly, in mid-December, Hull were four points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa – but then the bubble burst.
In a dismal second half to the season, City took three points from a run of 11 games, Brown was sacked, and the Tigers avoided the drop by a single point – surviving to go down the next year.
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The similarities with Blackpool’s current campaign are striking. The Seasiders made their debut in the top flight with an eye-catching 4-0 win at Wigan and have gone on to win away at Newcastle and Sunderland, and complete an impressive double over Liverpool.
It was a 2010 to cherish in Blackpool but, like Hull, they are now sinking at an alarming rate and currently sit just two points above the relegation zone.
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The Tangerine Army have deservedly earned plaudits for their brave approach to life in the top flight, going out on the attack regardless of the opposition – but unfortunately they have tended to end up on the wrong end of their high-scoring thrillers.
Holloway’s side have lost 3-2 in four league games this season, and were recently defeated 5-3 by Everton.
Indeed, Blackpool have lost eight of their last 10 games, and have conceded 17 goals in their last six matches.
The Tangerines also have the joint second-worst defensive record in the league at home, having conceded 23 times in their 12 top-flight fixtures at Bloomfield Road.
JournalSport verdict: If Spurs are ever going to be favourites for an away match, this is the one.
Blackpool only know one way to play, on the front foot, and Tottenham love those kind of open ‘basketball’ games, where the teams take turns to attack. The players will be rubbing their hands with anticipation – and so are we.
Prediction: Blackpool 1 Spurs 3