Thursday, 20 January 2011

Diagonally Speaking

Blackpool's use of the long diagonal has been a key tactic during the tenure of Ian Holloway, but until recently has garnered little attention. Pundits and fans alike have firmly pigeon-holed the Seasiders as a passing side, with neat, short passing a main ingredient in the success of Holloway's team. What has been overlooked is the often direct nature of Blackpool when attacking, but this is anything but traditional long ball football.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Seaside Strategy - West Bromwich Albion Away

Blackpool went into this game hot on the heels of Wednesday night's memorable victory over Liverpool, but could not overcome a West Brom side in a rut of five consecutive defeats. The two promoted sides produced a thoroughly entertaining game of football, which could easily have seen the number of goals run into double figures. It was by no means a masterclass in defending, but the neutrals will certainly have gone away happy. As for the Seasiders, this was a case of costly errors at both ends which ultimately resulted in leaving the Hawthorns empty-handed.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Seaside Strategy - Liverpool Home

A fine performance and a victory that very much takes the pressure off after consecutive league defeats. Rearranged from Boxing Day, it was the first of three home games in hand against top teams, although Liverpool's current state falls somewhat short of the other two, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. Nevertheless, any side featuring so many internationals, including one of the world's top strikers in Fernando Torres, are no mugs. Throw in the added Dalglish factor and it looked a tough game, one that looked tougher still after Torres struck early with a sublime finish. Blackpool came from behind however, for the first time this season, to claim a memorable double.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Seaside Strategy - Birmingham City Home

If there was any ever doubt about how much tactics, and not just players, truly influence the outcome of a game, last night was a prime example. For the second time this season Birmingham manager Alex McLeish outwitted his opposite number and prevented Blackpool from playing their natural game. What is incredible is that it was all too predictable. So predictable in fact, that it is amazing that Ian Holloway didn't do things differently.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Ahead of the Game

Back on the 1st December, I questioned whether the upcoming six games would prove to be the defining part of the season. 'Pool faced a particularly tough run of fixtures:
  • Manchester United (h)
  • Stoke City (a)
  • Tottenham Hotspur (h)
  • Liverpool (h)
  • Sunderland (a)
  • Manchester City (a)

The best I was possibly expecting was six points, and even that looked difficult. More importantly I was hoping 'Pool would avoid a confidence-bashing run of defeats. In the end, with all three home games postponed because of the weather it was an incredible effort to win two of the three surviving matches, with 'Pool nearly taking a share of the spoils at Eastlands.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Seaside Strategy - Manchester City Away

So the five game unbeaten streak was brought to an end at Eastlands, but it was a spirited display from Blackpool with yet more of the attacking flair making for an exciting spectacle. On the balance of play over the 90 minutes, City probably just deserved the three points, but their relief at the final whistle was telling - 'Pool had given them a test. A single deflected goal from Adam Johnson was the difference and while City had chances to extend their lead, most notably from the spot kick which Carlos Tevez hit wide, two fine saves from Joe Hart ensured Blackpool went home pointless.