Thursday, April 06, 2006

Moyes is back in town

With all the hoo-ha about Operation Riverside this week, it's quite easy to forget that Charlton have an equally important home game to play on Saturday, prior to the FA Cup Quarter final replay against Middlesbrough.

David Moyes brings his very large Everton squad to The Valley, and they will be looking to repeat the steamroller job on Charlton they did early in January. The official club preview is here.

Back in January in the first game of the new year, Everton won the match early on by lumping the ball forward toward Beattie, and after starting the game with a fortuitous penalty, two set piece headers from Cahill wrapped up the points after Matt Holland had dragged Charlton level.

For this match, Alan Curbishley can be expected to counter the aerial threat by playing a tall back line. The changes to the defence are required in part due to the injury that Luke Young picked up at Upton Park last weekend. His place is likely to go to Jonathan Spector, and it is possible that we will see a further change at full back too. Chris Powell has been rested in games close to where his presence really is needed, and it would not be a surprise to see him as a substitute ahead of the midweek game at the Riverside, and Hermann Hreidersson (left) revert back to the left back slot he has usually occupied in recent years. The gap in the middle - alongside Chris Perry - would be plugged by the fit again and match fit Gonzalo Sorondo - just his second start of an injury wrecked season. With Talal El Karkouri now on loan elsewhere, Curbs has fewer and fewer options throughout the team.

In midfield, there are unlikely to be too many changes, as Curbs has few realistic options; Hughes, Kishishev, Holland (left) and a winger, probably Dennis Rommedahl, will play. Curbs will want to get the flying Dane a little fitter in time for the cup replay, as he is proven against Boro, and will need to be at his sharpest in the FA Cup tie.

Unless Curbs tries a 4-5-1 formation, the two forwards will be messrs Bent and Bent. Big Marcus (left) will be playing against his former team, and I'm sure he'll be looking to do well against familiar faces. He is my one-to-watch for this game, and hopefully he can score against his old mates.

The side I expect to see take the field on Saturday is -

Spector, Sorondo, Perry, Hreidersson,
Kishishev, Hughes, Holland, Rommedahl,
Bent (M), Bent (D).

Subs will be from Andersen, Fortune, Powell, Euell, Thomas, Ambrose, Bartlett, and Bothroyd.

This is a tough game for Charlton, who do not have a great record against big strong teams like the one Everton will bring to town - results against the likes of Blackburn and Bolton do not bode well, but this has to be weighed up against the excellent recent home record. Since Boxing Day, when Reyes scored the only goal of the game for Arsenal, the only two home league goals conceded by Thomas Myrhe have been fantastic long range shots by Viduka and Parker. At the other end, 20-goal striker Darren Bent has been consistently knocking them in for the Addicks, so Charlton do have a chance of picking up maximum points once more.

Pedro45's score forecast is a 1-1 draw, saving something for the cup replay hopefully. A win would take Charlton back into the top half of the league, and above Everton, but I think that may be just beyond the team, especially as they may have other things on their minds.

The crowd will be important, and let's hope the Covered End sing up and send our lads off up north with a rousing reception.

Come on you reds!

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