Writer: Ryan Kalisz
Date:Tuesday December 7 2010
With Blackpool being the next fixture at The Britannia Stadium on Saturday, Stoke will look towards extending their unbeaten run to six games.
We all have our thoughts and opinions on the opposition and the match itself, but I spoke to Vital Blackpool Co-Editor Eamonn Moore to see what he had to say.
RYAN KALISZ: So Eamonn; you have made a very strong start to your first season in the Premier League, sitting in 11th place currently, are you pleased with your team`s performance so far?
EAMONN MOORE: Delighted. We probably should be even higher up the table all told, but to be in mid-table heading into the Christmas period is obviously fantastic...fingers crossed we can keep it going and secure safety by the end of the season!
RK: How have you found the Premier League compared with the Championship? Quite a difference don`t you think?
EM: It's been a big leap in terms of quality and tempo, but we've really stepped up our game, and I firmly believe that on our day we are capable of giving anyone in this division a game. We've done brilliantly so far, we just need to continue playing at full throttle and look to improve the deficiencies in our game (such as conceding last minute goals!) as the league is very tight at the moment and one goal or result could be the difference between staying up or going down.
RK: Obviously being the 'new boys`, you were immediately one of the bookies` favourites to go straight back down, before the season even started. Ian Holloway certainly had something to say about that, but what do you think about being predicted to be relegated? Us Potter fans know exactly how you feel.
EM: This club (especially in recent years) has a history of sticking two fingers up to the critics. Just look at last season; second favourites to go down, and we ended up getting promoted. Any article or comment that knocks us simply fires our players up even more; they thrive on 'David v Goliath' battles. That said, being favourites to go down this season was to be expected and understandable...the bookies have been wrong before though, and hopefully they'll be wrong again. We've already proved those people who thought we'd get the lowest number of points ever etc wrong, and hopefully they'll be having to eat an even larger slice of humble pie come May if we can secure safety.
RK: Do you think you can stay up, and show up the bookies?
EM: Yes. I became a bit disillusionised during the summer months when we were really struggling to strengthen the squad etc, but I have always maintained that we can stay up. We play a great brand of football that can cause any team problems, it's just a question of grinding out the results when we need to. People looking at our club from the outside have a tendency to patronise us, but it's only when you look at us closely that you realise how good we actually are.
RK: If you could vote for your player of the year now, who would it be and why?
EM: A bit early for that question, surely?! The player who scores the goal to keep us up, haha! All in seriousness though, there have been numerous standout performances by players in tangerine so far this season and there's no real clear frontrunner for the 'player of the season' accolade. That said, our centre half Craig Cathcart has rarely put a foot wrong since arriving at the club from Manchester United in the summer. Taking the question at face value though and looking back at the past twelve months, most people would probably go for Charlie Adam. He's the one who usually gets the headlines, and deservedly so. It's been a real team effort though and we're much, much more than the 'one man team' that others would suggest.
RK: Who would be on your Christmas list for when the transfer window opens?
EM: Most people would say that we need to tighten up defensively, and whilst they're right, I actually think that we need more bodies up top. I think a striker and a winger are the bare minimum we should be looking at bringing in. Extra depth at the back and in central midfield would be nice too though. I have no names for you, mind... Ian Holloway signed a lot of players we hadn't heard of in the summer, and I expect it could well be the same in the New Year!
RK: Ok so moving on to the match now; you`re at the Britannia Stadium against us on the 12th, so what do you think of Stoke City as an opposition?
EM: Stoke are difficult to beat, especially at home. I don't think you're as physical or direct as is made out, but you're certainly a well organised outfit who have adapted to life in this division really well. I'd be very happy with a point.
RK: The crowd inevitably will be in full voice as we are renowned for being 'loud and proud`, especially at our home ground. Would the ear piercing noise be an intimidating factor?
EM: No. We've played there before, and have played in front of bigger, louder crowds without getting intimidated (see the playoff final at Wembley). Furthermore, our fans normally travel in big numbers and make a big noise themselves. Should be a great atmosphere, and hopefully a great game as well.
RK: Now the big question; what is your predicted score?
EM: Tony Pulis and Ian Holloway are great friends and know each others strengths and weaknesses inside out. I expect that you'll look to focus on capitalising on our lack of height and strength, whilst we'll look to try and pull you out of shape with a high tempo passing and movement game. You have a big advantage in the sense that you're at home, but then again we've done well on the road this season. I'll play safe and sit on the fence somewhat and go for a 1-1 draw. Here's to a good game of football!
You can read what I said by clicking here.
Date:Tuesday December 7 2010
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Stats: Stoke City v Arsenal (Sunday March 2 2014)
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