Could it be Blackpool?

Posted on January 25, 2011


Manchester United shouldn’t still be undefeated. They’ve had narrow come-backs, conceded late goals and relatively few goals. Their only reliable striker seems to either hit a handful of goals in a match or none at all. But they have ridden their luck and are now 22 games unbeaten.

Can they go all the way? I think that even if you were to ask an average fan, you would get a resounding ‘maybe’. For all the results, the team has still only sporadically looked particularly good, and certainly never on par with United teams of old.

If you were to go back and ask that hypothetical fan who, if someone is to do it, would they want to take the undefeated streak from them, they would tell you to sod off and stop asking him questions. But if you kept asking, I’d put good odds on him picking Blackpool.

Blackpool, the little team that could, are now a second team for many. A lot of this is down to their refusal to accept what many thought the natural order of things would be. And more have flocked to them due to the team’s entertaining style of playing and manager Ian Holloway’s entertaining press conferences.

Snappy dresser too

But to put it bluntly, and at the risk of upsetting Man Utd fans, I don’t see them going all the way with both matches against Chelsea still to go, Man City, Arsenal and the Champion’s League all to play. And worse, I think the pressure of staying undefeated could work against them. We saw a hint of it against Tottenham. The threat of the couner-attack held them back and stopped them playing as aggressively as they might have on another day. But holding on to an undefeated season is only worth the plaudits if they win the title, and in a 4 (or 5) horse race, too many draws could give someone else the opportunity. Honestly, I can’t imagine them making it through the week at the start of May when they have to play Chelsea and Arsenal in quick succession with the semi final of the Champion’s League in between (if they’re still in the competition).

It it might be worth them getting over the idea of repeating Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ feat, and just concentrating on winning the league in what is a very close season. And if they are goin to lose it, where better than at Bloomfield Road? Their away record isn’t good and it’d mean a lot more to Blackpool than it would to Rooney et al. The Tangerines are never going to be favourites for the match, but they are a team that’s defied expectation so far, and could well do so again.

Ah, just seen the United line-up. Probably too much for Blackpool. Should be a good match at least.

Posted in: Blackpool