What a story it’s been for Blackpool, no-one expected they’d ever reach the Premier League, yet here they are.
Blackpool have their own tycoon in the Latvian Valery Belokon. In five years Belokon has been at the club, they have risen from League One into the Premier League.
Everyone expected them to be rooted firmly to the bottom of the table already, yet they sit proudly in seventh place, a result of their positive attitude and attacking play. Stoke made a similar start last season, and managed to stay up. Blackpool will be hoping for the same.
They won their opening game 4-0, a brilliant if unexpected introduction to the Premier League, and it’s for these reasons that we should now stop the jokes about donkeys and sticks of rock, and take them seriously. Yes they took a six goal beating at Arsenals Cameldome, but as Ancelotti said, we shouldn’t be expecting a massive win today.
“We know every game could be difficult for us but the atmosphere is good now. The players are all involved in the team and I am happy for this, and if we can continue the atmosphere we can have success this year,” said the Italian, adding; “Blackpool is a good team and they have won two games away, they are showing good spirit and so we have to pay attention, this is not an easy game.”
With Lampard definitely out, either Ramires or Benayoun, so impressive against Zilina mid-week, may take the extra mid-field slot alongside Essien and the increasingly brilliant Mikel. The Nigerian international has misplaced just 11 passes this season, making an extraordinary 96% success rate.
Drogba should return to lead the line, with Anelka shifting to the right, and Malouda on the left to complete the front three. The back four should remain the same as Zilina, with Alex partnering Terry in the centre of defence, with youngsters on the bench again ready to come on as necessary.
Speaking earlier in the week about about our goalscoring prowess, Ancelotti remarked; “I’ve changed the kind of play; we use more possession and attacking play, in the past Chelsea played in a different way. I think the players enjoy this kind of football, they are all involved and for this reason can show their ability. It is the key.”
Key it has been so far, and today we have the chance to make it five wins from five. In 105 years Chelsea have never started with four wins in the top flight and failed to go on and win the championship.
Let’s not break that record this season.
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