You have to feel sorry for Ian Holloway. Having worked a footballing miracle to get Blackpool into the Premier League last season, and nearly pulling off an even bigger one by keeping them there (I know the table doesn’t lie etc, but they really didn’t deserve to get relegated), everyone’s second favourite manager cuts a dejected figure these days.
With his squad decimated by the sale of his best players and post-Premier League comedown in full effect, Ollie looks a beaten man at the moment. His infamous and often hilariously off-kilter quotes are few and far between, but more worrying is that his side, which so often played in their manager’s boisterous image last year, are mirroring his sombre demeanour this term.
Blackpool lie in 14th place in the Championship, closer points-wise to the bottom than the top, and it is difficult to see anything other than mid-table obscurity. On their day they can still be a dangerous side – they have beaten Bristol City 5-0 this term – but away from home their problems are mounting up.
They have only won once, an opening-day triumph at notoriously poor hosts Hull City, and have conceded 13 goals in seven games, with their recent 3-1 defeat against Burnley typifying their away form. It does nothing to inspire confidence that at 14/5 they can beat Leeds United at Elland Road and even with the draw at 13/5, I cannot see past Leeds at 17/20 continuing their good home form.
Leeds are in fine form generally (only three teams can beat their recent six-match haul of 11 points) but are strong at home in particular. Only Southampton (24) have won more home points than Leeds’ 14 and with just one defeat in seven matches and 12 goals scored, a home win is certainly on the cards.
But instead of taking the odds on 17/20, I’ll be looking at the 33/20 Leeds win in a match that produces more than 2.5 goals. Leeds are hardly water-tight themselves – they have conceded seven goals in seven home games – and Blackpool do have a goal in them, so I don’t envisage a cagey, low-scoring encounter.
It is 17/5 for a Leeds win and over 3.5 goals, but I particularly like the look of the 7/2 that Leeds win 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1. Matches at Elland Road are averaging well over 2.5 goals a match this season – I see no reason that won’t continue tonight.
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