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Excellent Embleton will be a miss v Sunderland - here’s what Blackpool fans think of him...

Elliot Embleton has become one of the first names on the team sheet for Blackpool since his loan move from Sunderland in January. He won’t be able to feature in Saturday’s game, and Dan from utmp has reviewed the impact Embleton has had so far in tangerine, and how much he’ll be missed by the Seasiders.

Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Where he’s played

Neil Critchley has opted to use young Elliot as an attacking midfielder in the number 10 role for the majority of his time in tangerine, which has been known to be his most natural position over his career so far. He has featured five times in the AM role centrally, where he was able to impose himself and grab one assist so far. When operated as an attacking midfielder, Blackpool have lost one, drawn one and won three.

However, it’s on the right of midfield where Embo has played in his last four appearances, where he arguably has enjoyed most of his success. Linking up freely with the likes of main man Jerry Yates, fellow winger Sullay Kaikai and either Ollie Turton or Jordan Gabriel at full-back, the side has had a better balance with a 4-4-2 formation. It has allowed for Everton loanee Ellis Simms to play alongside Yates, and Embleton has been in good form drifting in from out wide. It was from here where he bagged his first goal for the club, in the 4-1 win against Gillingham, which saw Pool play some of their best football this season. When operated as a right midfielder, Blackpool have drawn three and won two, without losing.

It’s likely that he will be replaced on Saturday by fellow winger Demi Mitchell, who trialed with the Black Cats last summer following his release from Manchester United. Mitchell, who was originally used as a left-back in the early part of the season, has been in good form on either flank in recent weeks and is likely to naturally slot in as a right midfielder.

Sunderland v Plymouth Argyle - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Minutes under the belt

Embleton hasn’t featured for the full 90 on many occasions and has also come off the bench sometimes too, particularly early on during his loan spell in January.

Out of the 16 games since he joined, he has started 11- though seven of those are from the last seven games. He’s been an unused substitute once, come off the bench four times and been subbed three times in games he’s started.

It’s clear that he’s now made himself a regular, following the injuries to CJ Hamilton, Keshi Anderson and Gary Madine, and he’s helped Pool to 15 games unbeaten going into Saturday’s game. So he’ll clearly be a big miss.


xG

It’s clear to see that since his switch to RM he has been a very much integral part of the Seasiders in an attacking sense. xG statistics are always great to consider for context in terms of the impact a player has had on a team, as these stats provide an account on how likely he is to score or provide an assist.

I’ve taken the three last games Blackpool have played. Unsurprisingly, Embo has featured as a player most likely to provide an assist (Top Player xA) in two of these games with ratings of 0.3 (Gillingham) and 0.2 (Lincoln). He has also high number for his predicted goals (Top Player xG) against Lincoln too where his rating was 0.3.

Stats produced by @xG_data on Twitter.


The Verdict

He’s not quite hit the peak of his form yet and nor has he been consistent enough either, possibly lacking fitness and drifting in and out of games. When it’s gone well, he’s been integral, but when there’s a requirement for a bit of magic or someone to get the game by the scruff of the neck, he’s often gone missing. Everyone seemed to draw a blank against Accrington on Tuesday night so he can’t be held accountable on his own.

His influence is there to see, even though the numbers are not concrete. He’s been a top player for goals and assists in two of the past three games - so he is clearly getting in the right positions and has been a threat.

There is no doubt that Embleton has an exciting future ahead with whoever he ends up with after this season – whether he returns to Sunderland or moves on. I’m sure Critchley and Blackpool would be interested in making it permanent if that was a possibility. Blackpool will definitely miss him this weekend and had he been eligible to play, it would have been a point to prove - much like Ryan Hardie who haunted Pool when he came back with Plymouth last month. It’s crazy to think that Embleton could potentially miss four games between now and the end of the season, as the two sides play each other twice in the league and could possibly meet each other in the play-offs.

utmp is a website run by three Blackpool fans who create blogs, podcast with former players and graphics for past and present fan-favourites. You can give them a follow on Twitter @utmp_ and Instagram @utmp_bfc

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