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Tangerines may not need long to pierce the Blades defence.

Byline: Steve Davies

BLACKPOOL and Sheffield United go into battle at Bloomfield Road tonight with major differences in their firepower potential.

While Kevin Blackwell has seen striker after striker limp out of his planning in recent weeks, Ian Holloway is tripping over frontrunners and is faced with the weekly chore of working out who to pick to lead the line.

He's not afraid to make changes - he made seven prior to Saturday's 2-0 win against Plymouth - and everything he does seems to be coming off.

This was a team being tipped by many for the drop, yet they find themselves fifth in the Championship and unbeaten at home. A solid bet tonight has to be a sell of their first goal time at 51 with Sporting Index.

The Blades have kept just a solitary clean sheet in their last ten matches and have conceded exactly three goals in three of their last six, including Saturday's 3-1 loss at Scunthorpe.

It doesn't help that Blackwell lacks options in front of goal - Richard Cresswell and Jamie Ward are out - but it's the defensive frailties that are being exposed and the ongoing row with Matt Kilgallon cannot help.

So the Tangerines have got to take advantage of United's disquiet early to pile more pressure on Blackwell's team. The Tangerines' average first-goal time this season is 42 with Jason Euell fastest off the mark with a third-minute opener against Peterborough. Marcel Seip struck first in the 12th minute against Plymouth.

Arsenal, interestingly, have scored 27 goals in the Premier League - but none before the 17th minute.

And they are even more sluggish in Europe with five goals scored but nothing before the 45th.

European matches tend to be cagier and while Arsenal were exposed badly and early in their Group H opener at Standard Liege, they got tighter as the game wore on.

Now they go to Alkmaar, who will be in no rush to inflict any blows and leave themselves exposed to the Gunners on the counter. Arsenal will be equally happy to stay compact, frustrate the Dutch side and hope to strike if and when the match opens up. The wise move could be to get long of Arsenal's first goal at 43, also with Sporting.

Recommendations Sell time of first Blackpool goal 1pt at 51 Sporting Index Buy time of first Arsenal goal 1pt at 43 Sporting Index


Blackpool's Billy Clarke scores at Stoke last month
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 20, 2009
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