Accrington Stanley vs Blackpool: EFL League One Match Preview
The EFL League One match coming up this Saturday, 21 September 2019, between Accrington Stanley F.C. and Blackpool F.C. will take place at WHAM Stadium in Accrington, England. Accrington earned a hard fought 1-1 against Wycombe Wanderers F.C. on Tuesday. After an extremely slow start to the season, Accy has shown better form in recent weeks, but too often coming away from matches with 1 point, instead of 3 points, has them still sitting 20th in the table. With just 1 win through their first 8 matches, it is at the point where it is absolutely crucial for them to come out victorious in this early season Lancashire Derby. Looking at the table, 13th place Shrewsbury F.C. has 12 points, or twice as many as Accrington's 6. If the upper mid-table teams get much more separation, then The Reds are going to be looking at a season long battle to avoid the drop zone.
Blackpool got off to a red hot start that saw them sitting on top of the table at one point in the very early season. In recent weeks they have come back down to earth a bit, but did win their last match by a 1-0 score over Doncaster Rovers F.C. on Tuesday. Prior to that, they had been winless in their past 5 League One matches. In spite of that, they still sit a lofty 5th place in the table, and have their eyes set on at least a playoff position. Looking deeper into the numbers, neither their 13 goals scored, or 11 goals allowed are especially impressive numbers, and mundane +2 goal differential suggests that they are closer to the 10th place club that they were last season, than the title contenders they looked to be early on. When Blackpool made their last trip to Accrington there was a bit of controversy due to objects being thrown onto the field by traveling Blackpool supporters. It will be interesting to see if there are any extracurriculars between the supporters on Saturday, especially considering this has generally been considered to be a friendly rivalry in the past.
Accrington Stanley vs Blackpool Vital Information
This match can be viewed on Accrington Stanley iFollow or in the United States, and in the UK at 10:00 AM U.S. ET/3:00 PM GMT.
Referee appointments have John Brooks as the referee, with assistants Robert Hyde and Adam Crysell, and the fourth official Simon Mather.
This will be the 8th meeting all time between Accrington Stanley F.C. and Blackpool F.C.. In the previous 7 meetings, Blackpool has won 3 times, Accrington has won 2, and there has been 2 draws. The last time these two played in a League One match, it was a 2-1 Blackpool win at WHAM Stadium, back on 5 March 2019. Blackpool in unbeaten in their last 5 matches against Accrington, with The Reds last victory in the series coming back on 15 October 2016, when both clubs were in EFL League Two.
Five Points That Shouldn’t Be Overlooked
The biggest issue for Stanley early on has been finding consistent scoring, and part of that has been the injury bug hitting that part of the roster. Accy has already been without Courtney Baker-Richardson and Offrande Zanzala for several week's now. On Tuesday, Colby Bishop, who had played every minute this season until that point, came off with an ankle injury in the 85th minute. It has been reported by Accrington manager John Coleman that Bishop's injury is not as bad as originally feared, and that he should not be out long term. That being said, he will not be available on Saturday against Blackpool. That means that Dion Charles, who scored his 3rd goal of the season on Tuesday, and Connor Simpson, who made his debut with the club on Tuesday after Bishop's injury, will be the likely starters up front. Winger Jordan Clark, who has scored in each of his past 2 matches, and has won more dribbles than any other player in League One this season will complete the trio up front.
A big part of Blackpool's hot start has been the play of Armand Gnaduillet, who is on pace for a career year thus far. The 27-year-old is in his 4th season with Blackpool, and his 2nd as a regular starter. Last season, he had a career high in goals scored with 10, but it took him 35 starts and nearly 3300 minutes to do so. This season, he already has 5 goals through 8 starts, with less than 700 minutes played. It's a pace that would have him well over 20 goals if he were able to keep it up over the course of the whole season, and plays as many minutes as he did last year. However, the man to watch for Blackpool is midfielder Sullay Kaikai. A key acquisition for The Seasiders, Kaikai played in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, and has already made an impact on the scores sheet for Blackpool with 3 goals and an assist so far. However, a look at the deeper stats like his 31 crosses and 12 fouls drawn show that he is a very active player, and key contributor toward facilitating play forward from the midfield.
Accrington has yet to keep a clean sheet this season, but overall defense and goalkeeping is a squad strength. We spoke with Accrington goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimov this week, and he said in an interview will be out later this weekend that getting that first clean sheet is his number one priority. With newcomers Jerome Opoku and Ajibola Alese, plus 6 foot 5 inch Ross Sykes, Accrington now has one of the biggest back lines in League One. Evtimov said that he feels that the size and strength of these players will be an advantage over the course of the season, especially considering that these guys have good speed and ball skills in spite of their size. The new additions in the backfield give the club good depth to add to a group that includes Callum Johnson and Mark Hughes, who are a pair of guys who have been with the club a few years, know Coleman's system well, and are both adept at moving the ball forward from the backfield.
On the defensive ends of things, Blackpool has a new man in net this year, and that is 26-year-old Jak Alnwick, who came over from Scunthorpe United F.C.. Alnwick has been impressive thus far, with 3 clean sheets, a nearly 68% save percentage, and just 1.22 goals allowed per 90 minutes through the season's first 9 games. In front of him, another new acquisition, Ryan Edwards has helped to solidify the Blackpool defense. In spite of being just 25-years-old, Edwards is now in his 6th season as a regular starter at either League One of League Two, and other than Alnwick is the on player who has played every minute of every game for Blackpool this season. Among all the changes, some things do remain the same as Curtis Tilt, now in his 3rd season as a full time starter with Blackpool is The Seasiders's other ironman on defense.
Looking at the odds it seems that in spite of these clubs being at opposite ends of the standings, the pros seem to be quietly liking and Accrington win. If you have been reading these before each match, you will know that in each of Accy's past 3 games you could have gotten anywhere between 2 1/2 and 3 to 1 odds on an Accrington victory. On Saturday, they are paying out at 17/10, or a payout of 27 on a bet of 10 quid (your original 10 back, plus a payout of 17). What really raises my eyebrows though is that a bet on Blackpool to win is paying 11/8. As you may remember, in each of the last 3 weeks you were at best getting slightly less even money odds on Accy's opponents. Seeing this sudden swing, and just the idea that even with the game being at Accrington, this is a 5th place club vs a 20th place club, and with this line the casinos seem to be begging you to bet on Blackpool. As you know by now if you are a regular reader, anytime the casino is begging my to do something, that is exactly what I am going to do the opposite of.
Accrington Stanley vs Blackpool Prediction
In a local derby you can generally throw the standings out the window to begin with, but in this case I think you have a Blackpool team that is closer to the 10th place team they were last year, then the 5th place they are now. Accrington, on the other hand is closer to the 14th place team they were last year, than the 20th they are now. In other words, Blackpool is probably a marginally better team, but this game is at Accrington and frankly, The Reds need it more. As I have documented Accrington has 16 new players on their roster who weren't there last year. Each week it seems that Coleman is slowly meshing this influx of new talent into a cohesive unit that is playing something resembling his brand of football more closely each week. Evtimov has a clean sheet on his mind, and I say he gets it Saturday. Jordan Clark has been on fire, and I say he scores for a 3rd week in a row. Dion Charles puts it to bed with PK late in the second half, and The Reds get 3 big points.
Prediction: Accrington Stanley - 2 Blackpool - 0
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