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Premier League

  • 25 January 2011
  • • 19:30
  • • Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, Lancashire
  • Referee: P. Walton
  • • Attendance: 15574
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Blackpool - Manchester United Preview: Rafael returns from suspension as Red Devils face Seasiders for first time in 36 years

Blackpool - Manchester United Preview: Rafael returns from suspension as Red Devils face Seasiders for first time in 36 years

TEAM NEWS

Blackpool

The scavengers are circling over Bloomfield Road as the immediate future of Charlie Adam remains very much on the lips of Tangerines’ fans everywhere. The Scot spent an unusually long time on the field after the loss to Sunderland on Saturday applauding the home fans which maybe the sign that his departure is imminent. Manager Ian Holloway has been vocal in the last few days about the situation and his belief that no suitable offer has been received.

Elsewhere, Marlon Harewood continued his return from a hamstring injury with his appearance from the bench against the Black Cats, his first since November.

Richard Kingson is a doubt after he suffered a cut to the head following a challenge from Bolo Zenden. If he doesn’t make the team Paul Rachubka would step in.

Possible starting XI: Kingson; Eardley, Cathcart, Evatt, Crainey; Phillips, Adam, Vaughan; Taylor-Fletcher, Campbell, Varney.

Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson has Rafael available after the full-back was spared a further suspension following his red card against Tottenham. Dimitar Berbatov, fresh from his third hat-trick of the season, will be raring to go and no doubt Wayne Rooney, who has only three goals to Berbatov’s 18, will be itching to catch up.

Ferguson has few injury worries but he may rotate his side to keep everyone match sharp. Some of those who played in the 5-0 drubbing of Birmingham City this past Saturday could be on the bench for this encounter.

Possible starting XI: Van der Sar; Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, O'Shea; Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs; Berbatov, Rooney.

Long time no see

Hardly surprising, but the meetings between these two have few and far between in recent years. The last was back in 1974-75 when both sides were in the old Second Division and Ted Heath was in No.10. Tommy Docherty’s side won both games that year, 4-0 at Old Trafford and 3-0 in the return at Bloomfield Road.

The Seasiders have silenced the critics a number of times this season with memorable results such as the double over Liverpool and losing by an odd goal twice against Manchester City.  

Blackpool have earned most of their points away from the Fylde coast with 17 away and only 11 at home. It must be noted however that they have played on the road more often. Overall, during the complete history between the two, Manchester United have triumphed more often than not.

United still unbeaten

Manchester United's unbeaten run has reached late January and their stubborn refusal to be beaten could propel them to a record 19th league title as they sit two points clear of Arsenal with games in hand.

Oddly, of the 10 league games away from Old Trafford, the Red Devils have only won two but that means that defeating them is an incredibly difficult task which so far no team has managed. There is hope for Blackpool as Birmingham did hold them to a point back in December, as did Tottenham in January.

With Dimitar Berbatov firing on all cylinders one would expect United to calmly deal with a Blackpool side with or without midfield general Charlie Adam.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
-KingsonGoalkeeper
5Neal EardleyDefender
20Craig CathcartDefender
6Ian EvattDefender
15Alex BaptisteDefender
14Elliot GrandinMidfielder
16Charlie AdamMidfielder
-David VaughanMidfielder
12Gary Taylor-FletcherStriker
9DJ CampbellStriker
15Luke VarneyStriker
1Paul RachubkaGoalkeeper
14Ludovic SylvestreMidfielder
4Keith SouthernMidfielder
24Rob Edwards Defender
-Matt PhillipsMidfielder
9Marlon HarewoodStriker
10Brett OrmerodStriker
1Edwin van der Sar Goalkeeper
3Patrice EvraDefender
12Chris SmallingDefender
15Nemanja VidicDefender
21Rafael SilvaMidfielder
24Darren FletcherMidfielder
4Darron GibsonMidfielder
18Paul ScholesMidfielder
9Dimitar BerbatovStriker
10Wayne RooneyStriker
17NaniMidfielder
13Anders LindegaardGoalkeeper
14Javier HernándezStriker
35Fabio Da SilvaDefender
6Jonny EvansDefender
11Ryan GiggsManager/Coach
8AndersonMidfielder
10Michael OwenStriker
Players to Watch
Kingson
Kingson
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Richard Kingson could be in for a busy night as the irresistible Berbatov will be keen to add to his tally of 18 goals this term and the ‘keeper will have to be on the top of his game. It can be done as Birmingham and Spurs have proved.
Nani
Nani
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 17
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Nani could have a big night against Stephen Crainey as the Scottish full-back is prone to mistakes and the winger could take full advantage. His pace and trickery could be key for United as they seek to extend their lead at the summit of the table.
Prediction
These are the games that 'Pool fans everywhere would have looked for the day the fixtures were published. They will remember the victory at Anfield for many a long year but United are a totally different beast and they will feel the full force of the red machine.
Editor's Prediction

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