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West Ham v Blackpool
West Ham and Blackpool look to book their tickets to the Premier League next season. They play the Championship Playoff Final on May 19, 15:00 GMT, at Wembley.
West Ham disposed of Cardiff City mercilessly – winning 5-0 on aggregate – to book a finals showdown with Blackpool. They are now just a win away from a much awaited return to the top flight of English football; a move that doesn’t only appeal as a matter of glory but a matter of economic stability as well. A move back to the EPL would help the club earn an estimated amount of £90 million.
Sam Allardyce will have a few issues with the team come May 19th, one of them is the possible absence of Jack Collison. Collison remains to be a doubt for such important fixture after dislocating his shoulder against Cardiff in their second leg tie. Collison remains to be an important part of the team, having scored both goals that dug the grave for Cardiff’s promotion hopes. Although not as bad as initially thought to be, the Welsh forward may be denied his final shot at glory this season against Blackpool at Wembley.
Blackpool needed every ounce of inspiration they could muster out just to beat a resilient Birmingham side at St. Andrews Park. A 2-2 draw meant that the Seasiders could go on to enjoy a narrow 3-2 aggregate win en route to the playoff finals. Waiting for them at Wembley is West Ham, a team they haven’t beaten all season long.
Blackpool boss Ian Holloway will not have a lot of concerns over the fitness of his players. For the upcoming match against West Ham, he will have the benefit of being able to play his two ‘Phillips’, Matthew and Kevin. Kevin Phillips is the team’s top scorer this season with 17 in all competitions, while Matt’s 48th minute strike helped Blackpool secure a win against Birmingham City last time out.
Stephen Dobbie too should feature in such an important match. The on-loan forward from Swansea has six goals in nine appearances for the Seasiders, including the opening goal at St. Andrews last time out. Dobbie is perhaps the most efficient player in this side so far; another goal could prove just that, and something more. An efficient performance for Dobbie could eventually bring Blackpool to the EPL.
West Ham v Blackpool Betting Preview
Both teams met four times in the past two years, three of which ended in West Ham’s favour. Holloway will have to go back to last the last two games against the Hammers, and be wary of the fact that in those two games, they allowed West Ham to score no less than four goals. If Blackpool wants to win the playoff finals, then they have to figure out how to minimize West Ham’s goalscoring prowess first, before thinking of their own attacking proficiency.
Verdict: West Ham is just too strong for the Seasiders and they will earn their return to the EPL in a 2-1 hammering of Blackpool.
Tip: The absence of Jack Collison could mean a bit of a dip for the Hammers in terms of goalscoring-threat, but the fact that Carlton Cole, Ricardo Vaz Te and Kevin Nolan are fit to play at Wembley this 19th means that they have all the attacking power they need to win this game. A win for West Ham is at 1/1, so look for the correct scoreline for the rewarding punts. The Hammers are never goalshy when against the Seasiders, so a scoreline above 2.5 goals is worth a look – perhaps, 2-1 at 15/2 or 3-1 at 16/1.
The game to go over 2.5 goals is at 19/20, with Kevin Nolan at 9/4 to score anytime (Cole and Vaz Te are at 7/5 and 7/4 respectively, which doesn’t look very gratifying). For Blackpool, Stephen Dobbie – arguably the epitome of efficiency – is at 11/4 to score anytime, as is Matt Phillips.
All odds are from Bet365.com (£200 FREE BET!).