Arsenal will stop the Blackpool rollercoaster predicts Gunners legend
PUBLISHED: 10:19 19 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:05 07 September 2010
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Blackpool gave the bookies a minor headache last Saturday after briefly topping the league - but Arsenal star Paul Merson says there will be no unexpected pay- outs this weekend. The newly-promoted Seasiders, back in the top flight of English football for
Blackpool gave the bookies a minor headache last Saturday after briefly topping the league - but Arsenal star Paul Merson says there will be no unexpected pay- outs this weekend.
The newly-promoted Seasiders, back in the top flight of English football for the first time since 1971, travel to Emirates Stadium on Saturday in the unusual position of sitting two points and seven places above their illustrious hosts.
Their stunning and unexpected 4-0 hammering of Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium put them top of the Barclays Premier League at 4.45pm, where they remained for two hours until Chelsea's 6-0 demolition of West Bromwich Albion pushed the Blues back into second place.
By then Blackpool followers who had laid out on a 25/1 bet that their side would top the table at some stage of the season were celebrating their unlikely windfalls.
"Blackpool fans are collecting their first cash of the season ... if they carry on as they have started we may start to get a little nervous," said a William Hill press
release on Monday.
Merson, though, says there is no reason for Arsenal fans to get nervous - and don't bet on anything other than a home win on Saturday.
"We need to start our home campaign well and with the visit of Blackpool it is all there for us to start with three points," he tells Ham&High Sport.
"It is the perfect home game for us to get off to winning ways. To win the title you have to make your home a fortress from the off. This should be a big win for us - I'd be disappointed, and very surprised, if it wasn't.
"Personally, I think they'll have to put more bulbs in the scoreboard if we play how we know we can play.
Tangerines manager Ian Holloway is also being pragmatic ahead of Blackpool's highest-profile league match for 39 years - despite their exhilarating introduction to the Barclays Premier League.
"I have been looking at Arsenal and I have to say I have watched their reserves and their pre-season games and it must be such a joy to be one of their players - Arsene Wenger is an absolute genius," said the charismatic Bristolian, after digesting his side's first three points.
"We're going to one of the best stadiums in the league, actually make that the world, and I just hope that we don't get embarrassed by them. And that's the truth, despite what happened at Wigan."
That realism, says Holloway, extends to the end of the season.
"Our boys have got some fantastic spirit and we're going to need it by May to be perfectly honest," he added.
"What you want to do is not have a long bad run in this division because you can get very morose and depressed, and you can't see where your next point is coming from, let alone winning a game."
But Merson, a huge fan of Holloway, says he fears the worse for the Tangerines over the next nine months - and their eccentric manager.
"I just hope that the next few months don't drain him," says Merson, who netted 99 times for Arsenal before leaving for Middlesbrough in 1997,Because if you keep losing it affects you.
"I don't think they have much of a chance at all. They had a great start but I just see it getting tougher and tougher for them, as the season wears on.
"You need a lot of luck in football - and in particular, this league - and you need to spend good money to have a chance. They haven't done that.