After an amazing season in the Premier League it’s now time to start reflecting on a superb experience. First up are the awards picking out a few points from the season. The awards are entirely subjective and not formed through consultation and aren’t necessarily backed up with facts. However, (where applicable) further end of season articles will serve to cover the whys, wherefores and the greater detail etc.
TD Blackpool player of the season
- David Vaughan
- Stephen Crainey
- Ian Evatt
Alex McLeish employed a restrictive diamond formation both home and away against Blackpool and the upshot was the the centre space was virtually eliminated and Blackpool were too slow to react to find space elsewhere. McLeish was the first manager to clearly spend time thinking about playing Blackpool and it paid off reducing Ian Holloway’s men to two stale performances.
Reactionary tactical move of the year by an opposition manager
Mick McCarthy win this one in moving Michael Mancienne to right back to counter the threat of Luke Varney from Blackpool’s long diagonal balls. McCarthy sent his team out at Bloomfield Road with Kevin Foley at right back and Michael Mancienne in a holding midfield role. Blackpool enjoyed early success from that route and McCarthy was quick to change and it was a change that sparked a chain reaction, leading to the game being a close encounter as the match progressed.
Last throw of the dice award for manager who didn’t really know what to do
Owen Coyle spent the first half of the game against Blackpool at the Reebok seeing his 4-4-2 structure being exposed time after time. He didn’t seem to recognise what was going on until the second half when he decided to send on Martin Petrov, Rodrigo Moreno and Ivan Klasnic. Their passing as a team became better and eventually secured a draw, however, it was really ‘the kitchen sink’ treatment not by design, more through sheer panic. Still, it worked.
Best visiting player to Bloomfield Road
- Ryan Giggs – His speed and movement seemed to spark Manchester United in to life when the game was threatening to get away from them. Incisive, quick runs and thoughtful passing saw Blackpool opened up time after time.
- David Silva – his technical abilities are supreme, but the fact he ghosted around Bloomfield was a sight to behold. Space exists for Silva to fill. Enough said.
- Luka Modric – Just a brilliant footballer and didn’t deserve to be on the losing side at all at Bloomfield Road. Short, consistent passing all game long combined with a sense of when to make a break forward and get beyond the defensive line.
Hypnotic Passing Award
Luka Modric – see above. It was a privilege and pleasure to witness him pass the ball over 180 minutes this season.
The ‘surprised they were not relegated’ award
Bolton’s season was plastered together by two players. A brave statement which won’t be backed up here, but Stuart Holden’s energy held their flat midfield together at times, when he got injured Daniel Sturridge’s opportunism and desire to prove a point picked up some valuable points to keep them afloat.
Inexplicable tactical decision
At 3-2 up away against a good Premier League team may well require some tactical tweaks to contain, or you could try and keep the status quo. Ian Holloway chose to do something that went against his philosophy against Everton and did something that wasn’t thought through or drilled in training. He made two defensive substitutions, turning Blackpool in to a 5-4-1 and chaos ensued with Blackpool losing the match 5-3.
Stroke of genius award for innovation
Ian Holloway gets this to make up for the previous one. His decision to go to a 3-5-2 when 3-0 down to Wigan led to a much flatter midfield three and convinced him that he had to return to his midfield set up that guided them through the Championship.
‘The Turnaround’ award for team better than their previous attempt at playing Blackpool
When Blackpool romped home 4-0 at the DW Stadium earlier in the season Wigan looked disjointed and had their fragile confidence shattered by poor goalkeeping from Chris Kirkland. Oh, and they didn’t have Charles N’Zogbia. Martinez made a great decision in dropping Kirkland soon after and the re-integration of N’Zogbia, gave them a direct goal threat as well as unpredictability in the final third. When Wigan (complete with the Frenchman and Ali Al-Habsi in goal) came to Bloomfield Road in April they were a different side, dictated the game and looked like a team focused on their game plan and their greater plan of staying in the Premier League.
Award for taking men on with considerable ease
Opposition players are just obstacles for Carlos Tevez to get around. In doing so against Blackpool he just kept taking men out of the game making it very hard to defend against a very strong team.
The Red Mist award for taking man and ball
Gonzalo Jara – When you’ve just seen your side reduced to ten men with a debatable decision, the last thing you should do is take man and ball when the game is stuck in the corner and no danger is apparent. Not Jara, he acted first, thought last and then had a shower.
Pass of the season
Charlie Adam’s first time passing can sometimes be played out of the vision of some Blackpool players. Adam is likely to pass at any moment, over any range and at any pace. Adam’s first time pass away to West Brom was perfectly executed and showed vision and inspiration that becomes hard to defend against but easy to admire.
Blackpool goal of the season
- DJ Campbell v Spurs – This goal was a classic counter attack, fast running, clever touches, turning a defence on it’s heels and a composed finish by Campbell all combined with a little good fortune.
- Luke Varney v Wolves – Superbly struck volley stunning Wolves and most spectators at Bloomfield.
- Charlie Adam v Blackburn – At 1-0 up, Adam clipped a perfect free-kick out of the reach of Paul Robinson to make it 2-0 at Ewood Park.
Opposition goal of the season
David Silva’s turn and shot at Bloomfield Road was a sight to behold. Crafty, cunning, balanced and one of those goals that even the Blackpool players probably wanted to applaud.
Those were a few awards to remember just a small collection of memories of Blackpool’s season in the Premier League. Check back here later in the week for a few posts looking back at the season that was.