Manchester United losing to Bournemouth. Chelsea lying one point away from the relegation zone. Blackpool winning away against high-flying Wigan Athletic.
I know which one came as the biggest shock to me, but just like Bournemouth’s victory over Louis Van Gaals hapless lot, Blackpool thoroughly deserved it.
As the rain lashed down horizontally in deepest Wigan, it was the beleagured home side who slipped up.
The performance was as good as I’ve seen from the Seasiders in a long time.
From start to finish they controlled the game and clearly had a plan of how to play against the dangerous Latics.
Wigan had two strikers with great goalscoring pedigree, in this division, in Craig Davies and Will Grigg, alongside the flying right-winger Yanic Wildschut.
Yet they rarely had the ball near Blackpool’s goal.
The boys in Tangerine allowed Wigan to have possession in the middle of the pitch where they couldn’t threaten Dean Lyness’s goal. It’s a tactic that many managers I’ve worked under have used before.
You are told to let the opposition keep passing sideways and backwards and when there’s a slight opportunity, you win the ball back and counter attack.
The season we were promoted under Ian Holloway we employed similar tactics against an excellent Swansea side.
That day we absolutely crushed them 5-1.
The boys in Tangerine at Wigan were never going to score that many but they were unlucky not to score more, often they were just one through ball or a bit of quality away from another goal.
The match winner in the end was Tom Aldred, who’s been the standout, consistent performer for Blackpool all season.
His header was well timed from a fantastic corner provided by captain David Ferguson.
More impressive was his marshalling of the back four and his nullifying of the many potential Wigan threats.
In my opinion,
Aldred’s most impressive characteristic is his determination.
Sometimes he loses the tackle, sometimes he won’t win the headers, sometimes the striker glides past him, but every time he gets up and recovers!
He doesn’t lie on the ground, he gets back and makes that vital interception or block. Similar to Stephen Crainey or Alex Baptiste, in that they’re a nightmare for attackers to play against because they never know when they are beat.
Hopefully a team not getting beat too often will be England in the European Championships in Paris this summer. Roy Hodgson could not have got an easier group if he’d actually been allowed to pick it himself. Wales, Slovakia and Russia is a group that I’d expect even Blackpool would get a few points in!
Now with the possibility of the top three teams from most groups qualifying to the next stage, England have no excuses.
The Wales game will be the interesting one because there players are more well known than the other sides but even a below par England should beat the Welsh.
While Hodgson and his team are on easy street, Martin O’Neill and the Irish are the polar opposite.
I can just imagine how angry Roy Keane was, as the draw was made and first out was the top seeded team in the whole competition, Belgium.
Next up was the Cup kings themselves Italy and finally just when you’re looking for a whipping boy in the group, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his talented Swedish crew pop up.
They will really need the luck of the Irish to progress.
England’s previous campaigns have been similar to a pantomine, well on Thursday I was actually performing in one! No, unlike the name I was referred to by some fans during my career, I was not the donkey!
We performed a staff panto at school to raise money for charity and it was great fun, well for the spectators it was! I couldn’t quite master the singing and dance moves for ‘Uptown funk’. All this while dressed in a tunic and tights (I was Little John).