Whatever the legitimate complaints about Enos Stanley Kroenke may be – and there are plenty – the prospect of him destroying the club seems remote. Stan wants a saleable asset at the end of all this and a few acres of prime north London real estate isn’t going to cut it financially. ‘There but for the grace of God’ is a reminder of the cruelty of life.
The treatment of Blackpool FC by an owner with scant regard for people or the meaning of a football club in the community. Scant regard for everything or anything. It’s still ongoing and bring us to this stage.
There will be just under 1,300 Blackpool supporters this evening. The wreckage of the Oyston’s ownership of the club is laid bare.
On the pitch, Blackpool sit snugly into the mid-table of League One. Tonight they face what will be a changed Arsenal side. Petr Cech is confirmed in goal which suggests Bernd Leno convinced Unai Emery he is worthy of the number one spot. Or the Spaniard just wants Cech back up to speed quickly and thinks the risk is to high for that to happen against Liverpool.
It’s going to be a mix of youth and experience. I’d imagine Ainsley Maitland-Niles will slot in at left-back if either of Kolasinac or Monreal isn’t fit. Even if they are, can they play tonight and Saturday?
How many youngsters will Emery include? Injuries offer the opportunity in midfield. Elneny is out for a fortnight so who partners Guendouzi in the deeper role? Aaron Ramsey is the natural fit unless AMN is the DM and Lichtsteiner is on the left. Jenkinson on the right in that instance.
Which leaves Smith Rowe to come in ahead of him, in the Number 10 role. If you were staying Aaron…
Young Hearts Run Free
In attack, does Eddie Nketiah get his chance? He and Willock are vying for one of the quartet of places left. I presume Mkhitaryan will start on one flank.
My guess is that Eddie will find himself on the bench with Willock on the flank, if either is to start. Danny Welbeck leading the line seems the most sensible option from kick-off.
There’s a danger in over-thinking it all as well. While Emery must keep Unai on the XI for the weekend, we invite the possibility of losing tonight if too many youngsters are fielded in one go.
This coach isn’t dismissing the competition in the same manner as his predecessor. It’s a trophy and that’s all he cares about. Which is a change in mentality, to the say the least. None of this ranking trophies; just win those that are in front of you if possible.
Not recklessly, however. And some are more important than others, naturally. Finishing in top four is a means to an end, not the end itself and that feels like the manager’s intent. Either that or he is better at PR!
The Blackpool team includes former Academy youngster Marc Bola, who was for a time expected to progress. Never happened as is so often the case. More often than not, in fact. As a left-back, what price a place in the first team tonight?
Bola is a trivia question waiting to happen after being sent off for a contretemps with an also red-carded team-mate. Although it was rescinded, there aren’t many in the Hales and Flanagan club.
The team for tonight, then:
Cech; Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Sokratis, Maitland-Niles; Guendouzi, Ramsey; Mkhitaryan, Smith Rowe, Iwobi; Welbeck
Or something similar.
Don’t Do The Crime…
Elsewhere, the gift which keeps on giving otherwise known as Tottenham, face a fine for the state of Monday night’s pitch. They broke the law and the law won; whether the Premier League will fine them remains to be seen. This after all, is an organisation which says no team can have two home grounds in a season but is prepared to let Tottenham do just that.
It’s a very flexible friend as far as rules go. You can bet all manner of hell would rain in on Cardiff or Huddersfield in the same circumstances.
And apparently, an English football club is under investigation for money laundering. No
Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.