Preview by Numbers: Blackpool v. Arsenal

Blackpool did not have an enjoyable trip to the Emirates in August.
Photo: Daily Mail.

Bloomfield Road, Blackpool
Sunday, April 10
8:30 a.m. EDT, 1:30 p.m. BST
  • Match Officials:
    • Referee: Lee Mason
    • Assistants: Andy Halliday and Mick McDonough
    • 4th Official: Mark Halsey
  • This Match, Last Time: Blackpool 0 - 1 Arsenal (November 7, 1970)
  • Reverse Fixture: Arsenal 6 - 0 Blackpool
  • All-Time in All Competitions: 43 Arsenal wins, 15 Blackpool wins, 24 draws
  • Arsenal's League Form: D-W-W-D-D-D
  • Blackpool's League Form: D-W-L-L-D-L
Arsenal Squad News

Injured: Djourou (shoulder), Szczesny (finger), Fabianski (shoulder), Vermaelen (Achilles)
Doubtful: Walcott (ankle), Song (knee), Denilson (toe), Ramsey (groin)

Cesc Fabregas was in a minor car accident! But, he's fine. The bad news this week is not all that surprising; we all saw Alex Song re-injure his knee against Blackburn last week. The fact that Arsenal had already used all three substitutes meant that Song had to limp around the pitch for the rest of the match. So, it's not a surprise that Song is highly doubtful to make the trip to Blackpool. Also a doubt is Theo Walcott, who suffered a relapse of the ankle injury he first suffered against Stoke.

So, how will the line-up look? Not all that different; the back will have to remain the same again: Manuel Almunia in goal and a back four of Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Laurent Koscielny, and Sebastian Squillaci. Song's injury will more than likely mark the return of Abou Diaby alongside Jack Wilshere. Cesc Fabregas will start in the middle, I would hope. Samir Nasri will start on one wing and with Walcott out, Andrei Arshavin should start on the other, with Robin van Persie up top.

Blackpool Squad News

Injured: Basham (broken leg), Clarke (knee)
Doubtful: Gilks (knee)

Blackpool has three injuries to deal with; midfielder Chris Basham is out for the year with a broken leg, Billy Clarke has a knee injury (having suffered an ACL rupture in the summer) and was not included on the 25-man squad as of January so is ineligible, even if he is close to returning, and Matthew Gilks, the goalkeeper, has just returned to action following an injury to his knee-cap in December.

Gilks was in net when Arsenal beat Blackpool 6-0 at the Emirates in August; he played his first reserve match this week, but Richard Kingson of Ghana should continue in net for the Tangerines. D. J. Campbell returns to the side from suspension.

Current Form

Across all competitions, Arsenal are winless in five matches, dating back to the 5-0 win over Leyton Orient. So, yeah, it's been a while since Arsenal have tasted a solid victory. In addition, Arsenal are winless away from Emirates Stadium over five straight matches at well. They have not won away from home since knocking Leeds out of the FA Cup in January. In the league, though, they are still unbeaten in 13 straight matches, dating back to the loss at Old Trafford in December.

Since beating Liverpool at home in January, Blackpool have only won once in 11 league matches. You'll be happy to know that win came against Tottenham Hotspur. Blackpool lost five straight after beating Liverpool. At the time of that win, the Tangerines were 9th in the Premier League table. They now sit in 17th, just a point ahead of relegation. This match against Arsenal marks the first of four straight home fixtures for the Seasiders.

Match Facts

A red card to Ian Evatt for a last man foul meant Blackpool had to deal with Arsenal with only ten men for an hour when the sides met at the Emirates in August. The resulting penalty goal from Andrei Arshavin gave the Gunners a 2-0 lead at that point; thanks to a Theo Walcott hat trick, the only goal Abou Diaby has scored all season, and the first Arsenal goal for Marouane Chamakh, Arsenal won 6-0 that day.

Blackpool's most recent season in the top flight before this year was Arsenal's Double winning season of 1970/71; that's also the last time Arsenal played at Bloomfield Road (all cup ties in between were in London.) Arsenal won both fixtures with Blackpool that year 1-0. Blackpool's last win over Arsenal came in the FA Cup in January of 1970: a 3-2 Gunners' loss at Bloomfield Road. The last time Blackpool beat Arsenal in the league was in 1965, a 5-3 win for the Tangerines.

The Referee

The referee is Lancashire-based Lee Mason, best known to Arsenal fans for totally making a mess of their 2-1 win over Everton in February, in which Louis Saha was eight miles offside when scoring the opening goal, or something. He has, more recently for the Gunners, also taken charge of the 5-0 FA Cup replay win over Leyton Orient. Mason would have worked Arsenal's home match against Stoke in December, but he called that off due to snow. For Blackpool, Mason has taken charge of their 2-0 win at Newcastle and 2-1 loss to Sunderland.

Around the League

Arsenal's title hopes are fading after losing ground to Manchester United last weekend and Arsene Wenger is less than thrilled that the fixture list makers have the Gunners playing on Sundays for the rest of the season, playing after United has played almost half of the time (frankly, I don't see the problem with knowing what results you need, which are pretty much all wins now, anyway.)

Manchester United plays in one of the six matches scheduled at the normal start time of 10:00 a.m. Eastern / 3:00 p.m. in England as they play host to Fulham. Chelsea plays at the same time as they host Wigan Athletic. Blackburn Rovers host Birmingham City while Bolton Wanderers host West Ham United, West Brom travels to Sunderland, and Stoke travels to Tottenham. Wolves host Everton in Saturday's early match.

On Sunday, after Arsenal and Blackpool, Aston Villa hosts Newcastle United while Monday's match of the week sees Manchester City travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool.


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