Monday, April 17, 2006

The Bells Toll for Charlton

Another day, another game. This Easter Monday Charlton welcome Portsmouth to The Valley for their latest Premiership clash.

The official club website preview is here.

Rotation seems to be the name of the game when picking the team at present - with so many games coming along so quickly, it's a good job the squad is larger than usual and also predominantly fit. Who will Alan Curbishley pick today? There will probably be a recall at left back for Chris Powell, and Bryan Hughes and Dennis Rommedahl could also both feature. It's also possible that Stephan Andersen will get a run out in goal following the howler that Thomas Myrhe made on Saturday, though my own opinion is that Curbs will stick by his Norwegian keeper.

If Powell returns, will Hermann Hreidersson move across to centre back in a re-shufled defence or will he be rested? Perry has been playing well recently, so he too will not want to miss a match, and Sorondo has also had a couple of good games when fit and picked. The only likelyhood in the defence is the presence of Jon Spector at right back, although even his position is under threat from Osei Sankofa who it woud be great to see make his home debut (I think) after many years of waiting.

The midfield will also require a report on fitness, tiredness, and form before being picked. Holland, Hughes, Euell, Ambrose, Thomas, Rommedahl, and Kishishev are all in contention, and any combination could play. Much depends on the formation Alan Curbishley decides to use, though in recent home games, he has run with 4-4-2.

Up front, Darren Bent continues to miss; Marcus Bent continues to get the best out of opposition keepers; and Shaun Bartlett and Jay Bothroyd just continue. Any two of the four will play, and poissibly all of them at some stage during the game.

Pompey have an average defence, a solid midfield, and an average forward line. If LuaLua is fit, he poses the biggest danger (four goals in his last four games), and the midfield is also likely to score against Charlton. O'Neill, Mendes, Davis (who has scored the The Valley before) and D'Allessandro all pose a danger.

This is the team I would like Curbs to send out at 3pm today.

Myrhe, Sankofa, Sorondo, Hreidersson, Powell, Rommedahl, Kishishev, Holland, Thomas, Bent (M), Bent (D).

It may or may not be Charlton's best team, but at least it would be attacking and entertaining.

My one to watch in this game is going to be Thomas Myrhe. He needs a good game after letting in that soft goal at Craven Cottage, plus a couple of other weak-ish efforts at the Riverside. If he is to be the long term guardian at Charlton, he needs to up his performances. If Tommy needs to know what sort of consistency is required, then he only need look to the other end of the pitch today. There he will see a keeper - Dean Kiely - who served Charlton for six seasons, consistently at a very high standard. Deano will get a great ovation at The Valley today, his first game back in SE7 since joining Portsmouth in January. I hope he plays out of his skin, but has to pick the ball out of the net the same number of times that he did in his last game here for Charlton (5!).

Pedro45's score prediction is a hard fought 1-1 draw. Portsmouth are on a role, but if Charlton can get in front - and against Pompey's defence, they should be able to score - then a defeat should be avoided.

Comeo you reds - send us home happy at Easter!

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