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May 18th, 2012 by Paul
It’s billed as the ‘richest game in football’, a potential £40+ million awaits the victors of this years Championship Play-Off between Blackpool and West Ham…
Both clubs are looking to bounce straight back up to the Premier League after being relegated in the 2011 season.
Bookies have prompted for West Ham as favourites to win the match, taking into consideration the Hammers finished the league in a higher position plus soundly beat Blackpool twice this season home and away (4-0, 4-1).
Sam Allardyce has no real injury worries to contend with, and will have a full strength squad to pick his starting eleven from. Perhaps the biggest criticism of the Hammers this season is their change of style – gone is their attacking flair which West Ham teams have been reknowned for throughout the years – in its place is a more patient build-up play – it might not win big Sam a host of admirers in the stands but it has ensured the East London club a 3rd place finish and one last crack at gaining promotion through the play-offs.
Blackpool should never have went down last season, but they did, and to their credit, Ian Holloway has picked his honest team up off the ground and got them playing again. They finished the league run-in losing just once in their last 11 games (falling to Reading away) and the Seasiders overcame a confident Birmingham in the play-offs.
Seasoned professionals pepper the Blackpool team alongside the youthful pairing of Tom Ince (son of Paul) and Matty Phillips (who has grabbed 12 goals this season and a call-up to the Scotland squad to play the USA next week).
Prediction : I’m going to go against the grain here, preferring Blackpool to once again seal the deal and take the Seasiders up to the Premier League (Best bet of 7/5 from Sportingbet for Blackpool to win promotion).
Correct Score : Blackpool 2 West Ham 1 (Best bet of 12/1 from Paddy Power for Blackpool to beat West Ham 2-1.)
First Goalscorer : I’m going for West Ham to score first and that Ricardo Vaz Te will grab the Hammers goal (Best bet of 6/1 from Boyle Sports for Vaz Te to find the back of the net first in the game).
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