Our prediction for this EFL Cup match:
A place in the Carabao Cup round 2 will be at stake when Stoke City and Blackpool face each other at Bet365 Stadium. Stoke failed to impress in a warm-up game against Burton (0-1), but they are surely capable of beating Blackpool at home ground. Over the years the Potters have turned their Bet365 Stadium into a real fortress, and even though there will be no spectators in Saturday’s football match, we are tempted to put our money on Michael O’Neill’s troops. The Seasiders, on the other hand, have been scoring goals for fun in pre-season.
The visitors are likely to stick to their attacking style of play against Stoke, but given their shaky defence, we do not believe that they are capable of claiming a major scalp in the first round of the EFL Cup. In their last meeting in the competition (2009) Stoke recorded a thrilling 4-3 win over Blackpool.
Highlighted Player (Joe Allen):
Joe Allen is another high-quality footballer from the new generation of Wales internationals, who was part of the team that took Swansea from League One to the Premier League, and he had no problems adapting to arguably the strongest league championship in Europe.
Allen operated as a deep-lying playmaker as the Swans impressed upon reaching the elite division, with his excellent passing skills persuading Liverpool to splash £15 million on his services. The central midfielder didn’t exactly manage to develop into an indispensable member of the side at Anfield, but he is considered an important squad player and has always performed well when called upon.
Meanwhile, he has been one of the pillars of the most successful team in the Wales history together with Gareth Bale, Ashley Williams and Aaron Ramsey, while even representing Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Allen started five games for the Dragons as they secured the first ever appearance at the European Championship finals.
Highlighted Team (Blackpool):
Blackpool FC are a professional English club based in Blackpool, Lancashire. Considering that Blackpool is a seaside town, it is no surprise they are nicknamed the Seasiders. Founded back in 1887, the club play their home matches at Bloomfield Road, which can hold up to 17,338 spectators. In the 2009/2010 season Blackpool secured promotion to the Premier League, but they were not competitive at this level, suffering relegation to the Championship the following season.
The club’s biggest success, though, came in 1953 when they defeated Bolton Wanderers 4-3 in the FA Cup final. Blackpool are well known for their orange shirts, but the dominant colour of their away kit is white. Preston are considered the club’s biggest rivals, with the two teams facing each other in the West Lancashire derby.
Charlie Adam, who played for Liverpool and has 26 caps for Scotland national team, is regarded as one of the club’s most notable players.