Arsenal have not won an away match in all competitions since 19th January, when Wenger’s men won 1-3 against a Championship side – Leeds United. In addition, since beating Barcelona at the Emirates, Arsenal have managed only two victories, against Stoke and Leyton Orient. Hardly the form of Champions, let alone that of a team challenging for an unprecedented quadruple (as we supposedly were, up until a few weeks ago).
On Sunday, Arsenal travel to Bloomfield Road to take on a side that we thumped 6-0 in the reverse fixture at the beginning of the season. Despite Blackpool’s perilous league position, sitting only one point off the relegation zone in 17th place, the Premier League newcomers have been great value for money this year. Their captain, Charlie Adam, has been nominated for PFA Player of the Year and has produced some stunning performances including wins against Tottenham, Sunderland, Stoke and twice against Liverpool.
Average goals per game involving Blackpool is the highest in the league by a long way, with 3.484 goals/game on average. Only three other sides (Man Utd, West Brom and Newcastle) boast goal/game averages above 3. The media is lauding Blackpool as a success for the Premier League due to their exciting style of play and high scoring matches, especially as Holloway didn’t go on a huge spending spree after their promotion last summer.
Blackpool could start the match in the relegation zone, and Arsenal could be ten points off the leaders, if results on Saturday go against both teams. Blackpool haven’t beaten the Gunners since the mid 1960s, and their recent Premier League form isn’t good either – they have lost 10 of the 14 league games since the start of 2011.
However, in 14 games at Bloomfield Road this season, no side has managed to keep a clean sheet, including Blackpool. If Arsenal fail to win tomorrow, it will be the first time that they have failed to win in six matches since December 1998. This impressive statistic should indicate that our current poor run of form is about to end, but the lack of initiative and leadership against Blackburn was far from reassuring.
Arsenal – 5th in the Premier League form guide, despite three draws on the trot
D W W D D D
Blackpool -17th in the Premier League form guide matches their league position
D W L L D L
Arsenal - Denilson, Djourou, Fabianski, Mannone, Song, Szczesny and Vermaelen are all ruled out, with Sagna and Walcott as doubts
Blackpool – Basham and Carney (I don’t know who they are either), Rachubka is a doubt
2-5 victory to the Gunners. I can see a high-scoring game, as both teams have an open style of play. A fourth draw in a row wouldn’t only be detrimental to Arsenal’s ever-fading title hopes, but it could put second place in jeopardy. A resounding win is on the cards and I believe Bloomfield Road is the place for this to happen.