Today’s View From The Enemy is direct from the official Blackpool website, and, although they know it is going to be a hard game, they are going to give it their best shot…..
Blackpool face Arsenal in a cup competition for the first time since 1999 tonight, with a place in the fifth round of the Carabao Cup at stake.
The Seasiders, who last participated in round four 11 years ago, travel to The Emirates knowing that their best performance of the season will be required to try and progress.
An 11-match unbeaten league run was brought to an end on Saturday, while The Gunners’ 12-game winning streak was halted at Crystal Palace.
Blackpool have a number of injuries and suspensions to contend with, leaving manager Terry McPhillips without a full strength squad to choose from. Ben Heneghan and Mark Cullen are amongst those likely to start.
Arsenal are set to rest the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and revert to a similar side that knocked Brentford out in the last round. Petr Cech could start in goal, while Aaron Ramsey, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Danny Welbeck are expected to feature.
David Coote has been confirmed to referee the tie at The Emirates and will be assisted by Simon Long and Sian Massey-Ellis.
He last officiated a Blackpool game in December 2016, which came at Doncaster Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Fourth official on the night will be Andre Marriner. VAR will be also available, if required.
The Manager’s View:
Terry McPhillips says his Blackpool players will give it their best shot against Premier League side Arsenal in the Carabao Cup tonight.
The Seasiders head to The Emirates as massive underdogs for the fourth round tie, having reached this stage of the competition for the first time since 2007.
Given the divisional differences and the fact that Arsenal were on a 12-match winning run prior to drawing at the weekend, McPhillips says his side have nothing to lose.
“It’s a mouth-watering game and the lads are buzzing. We’ll go down there and give it our best shot. We’ve got nothing to lose, really,” McPhillips insisted.
Predicting the Arsenal line-up isn’t the easiest of tasks either, though you can guarantee that it will still be full of internationals.
“We’ve studied the game they played against Brentford and I think they made a full of team of changes. You sort of expect that, but you never know because that’s football. Whichever team plays, you know it’s going to be full of top-class internationals and hard.”
Pool’s task has been made all the more difficult without some key personnel, as Curtis Tilt and Armand Gnanduillet prepare to sit the game out due to suspension and Donervon Daniels misses out with injury.
“There will be another couple of lads who start now and to be fair to the players that are waiting, they’re all desperate to play. I’m sure whichever team we pick, they’ll all give it a right, good go.”
Blackpool will rely on the likes of captain Jay Spearing to play an instrumental role, especially when you consider his experience of these games.
“The seniors who have obviously played there, we’ll need their experience anyway. In a game like this one we’re going to have to be at our best and will need those seniors helping the other lads, pulling them through and dragging them about a little bit,” McPhillips admitted.
Apart from visiting the stadium to watch the youth team last season, it will also be the first time the manager has been involved in a competitive first-team fixture at Arsenal. The fact he will be in charge of the side, almost three months on from initially being appointed caretaker boss, will be a special moment.
“I never expected that, but that’s football. Now I’m going to be taking the team out on Wednesday against Arsenal and it’s fantastic for myself, the staff and the players. We’ll just give it our best shot and see where it takes us,” he added.