Today two clubs will meet at Bloomfield Road, whose difference in approach both on and off the field could not be more extreme. For Manchester City, months of throwing obscene amounts of money at whatever flavour of the month, big name mercenary, who will take a wage rise not to play in the Champions League for a season or two, has not reaped the results success starved fans might have hoped. By contrast, attempting to live within a modest sustainable budget has brought hitherto unprecedented success to Blackpool, culminating in that amazing victory at Anfield.
On the field, City’s pragmatism matches Blackpool’s off it. Their manager has resolutely deployed three holding midfielders, much to the chagrin of a certain Argentinian striker. This has resulted in some turgid performances, but City lie second in the table, which at the end of the day, will vindicate Roberto Mancini’s cautious approach to games. Yet the blue half of Manchester would surely like just a touch of the kind of extravagance and flamboyance that Malcolm Allison brought to the club forty years ago.
The Seasiders on the other hand have been buccaneering and attacking, and their current ninth placed position, albeit just seven games into the season, far exceeds the predictions of all pundits, and surely even the most optimistic Blackpool supporter.
It will be fascinating to see how Mancini sets his team up tomorrow. It can be argued that to continue with three holding midfielders, and Carlos Tevez leading the line, would be excessive against a team whose combined cost would be dwarfed by the fee paid for any number of his players. However, City have not enjoyed taking the initiative this season, and sitting back to let Blackpool over extend themselves in attack could well reap rewards, so do not be surprised to see City continue in the same cautious vein.
League titles, silverware and European glory are probably coming to Eastlands sooner or later and if not, this would probably be the greatest failure for a club that used to be known for its spectacular calamities. Should Blackpool defy the odds and pick up their first home win of the season, then one suspects that a Seasider will be all the more satisfied with this more modest, yet all the more laudable achievement.