The time is upon us. This summer hasn’t been as painfully devoid of football as most, but the World Cup doesn’t quite satisfy the appetite for club football. So here are my opening day predictions. Tell me I’m wrong. I dare you.
West Ham were the last Championship play-off winners to survive the drop, when they finished 9th in the 2005-06 season. It really is difficult to see Blackpool breaking the mould, but the play-off winners have often had fantastic starts (Burnley last season, Hull before them), even if they do tend to trail off later in the season.
Which is why I’m going to go for a 1-0 Blackpool win (and the excellent Charlie Adam to get the goal). I think Wigan will really struggle this season, and Martinez may be worth a bet for the first manager for the sack. He’s done well to get shot of Titus Bramble, and has brought in Paraguayan Antolín Alcaraz of scored-against-Italy fame.
But Martinez looked out of his depth at times last season, and doesn’t seem to command much respect in the dressing room. Everyone’s written Blackpool off this season (exception: Tony Cascarino reckons they’ll get 17th) and I reckon that might just give them the freedom to play a bit of football in the opening weeks.
Charles N’Zogbia – The Frenchman gained his first international cap against Norway on Wednesday; he has the pace to give Blackpool some real problems, as long as he doesn’t get wound up if things don’t go well.
Charlie Adam – Blackpool’s best player, hands down. Signed for half a million pounds from Rangers, the playmaker has a wicked left foot, and scored an excellent free kick in the play-off final against Cardiff.
Prediction …Wigan 0 – 1 Blackpool
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