Thursday, August 31, 2006

I told you it wasn't just the bottle!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bent Two much for Bolton

Charlton Athletic 2 Bolton Wanderers 0

Football is amazing isn't it? Just when we think that this Charlton team has no guts, passion, tactics, flair, desire, skill, and honesty, the team sets out to prove us all (and me, especially) wrong in a big, big way.

So what went on? Elbows abounded in our usual bogey team game versus Bolton - BBC proved that the ex-Chesterfield forward Kevin Davies thrice stuck his arm in Charlton defender faces, but it was Hermann Hreidersson who saw red midway through the first half. Not long after fellow defender Talal El Karkouri had his nose bloodied by Davies, Pedro45's one to watch in this match jumped high to win a ball forward. He used his arms expansively in gaining height, and in doing so, Davies, who came from behind Hermann (and who would probably have been penalised for a foul otherwise), was caught in the face by the Icelanders retreating arm. Ref Mike Dean, who is not a favourite at The Valley, and who had booked Hermann in the away win at Middlesboro early last season, and sent off Mark Fish in the first home game of 2003/4, immediately brought out the red card. Hermann's angst was obvious, as he showed his version of using his arms to gain height and power, but off he went.

The crowd often needs a catalyst such as this to get going, and the atmosphere at The Valley suddenly improved. Dowie delayed a substition, and Charlton settled back into a game that they had been competing in well. Kishishev was eventually brought on for Ambrose (he must dread seeing fellow players sent off as he is almost guaranteed to be the one sacrificed...) to provide more bite in the midfield, as Amady Faye moved to centre back.

Faye had been pretty anonymous in the first half hour, but the switch of position showed him at his best; he was imperious during the rest of the game, and only once caught when Diouf got free midway through the second half which led to the days second big talking point.

Faye was adjudged to have brought Diouf down as he arrived in the penalty area - he did give a tug of the shirt as he tried to catch the Bolton forward - and Dean awarded the penalty. Why only a yellow card was shown is beyond me - only Carson stood between Diouf and goal; no other Charlton defender was close. Was Dean trying to make up for an earlier mistake?

From Charlton's perspective, the penalty again galvanised the crowd, as Carson made a good save low to his right. The team also rose to this, and shortly afterwards, Darren Bent made the most of a sly shirt tug by El Haim to fall and win Charlton their own penalty decision. Again, just the yellow card was shown, appearing that Dean does like to even things out over a game...!

Darren Bent didn't miss though, and Charlton had the lead against the odds, as the ball was struck calmly into the back of the Bolton net.

The evening up of the contest now just meant that ten versus eleven needed attention, and with Davies this time swinging his leading arm in Faye's direction, and with Faye making the most of it, the red card once more came out of the Wirral ref's pocket without hesitation.

At ten a side, Charlton looked the better team, and Bolton knew that they had little chance in a game that they had ought to have won comfortably. Hasselbaink's flick found the superb Bent in the area, and Dazza flicked the ball past Jaaskelainen to make it two-nil - and game over - five minutes from time.

Bent could have had a third goal to his name, having messed up a great chance in the first half; Ambrose found space and his shot was saved, with the ball falling to the ummarked Bent twelve yards out. His shot though, hit the one man on the line, and although Ambrose put the rebound in, he was offside from the moment Bent's shot was deflected to him.

Carson had an excellent game, and the fans are now seeing why he is rated so highly. He still has the odd ball-juggling moment when catching, but his shot stopping is excellent. Even the two sliced clearances with his left foot fell nicely for a waiting Traore on the wing! He will be needed over coming weeks.

Young was also excellent, and is showing true England class at a time when he is almost first choice.

El Karkouri had a torrid first half, but got better as the game progressed and his head cleared following the Davies elbow that caused his nose bleed. He still hasn't had a decent shot this season though, and must now be low on the free-kick taker list! Why he started the second half in a Traore shirt is also open to interpretation! (But not as bad as Harry Gregory wearing Paul Went's shorts in the second half of a game back in 1969!!!)

Hermann was the one to watch in this match, for 27 minutes at least. He was involved throughout his time on the pitch, but now will have a month on the sidelines as a result of his three game ban - unless Dowie appeals, which is unlikely.

Traore was impressive in possession, but did seem a little behind play at times. He got forward well and is starting to link well with team-mates.

Faye was superb in defence when the team was down to ten. He may even need to stay in that position what with injuries to Sorondo, and Fortune, and suspension to Hreidersson over the next few weeks.

Andy Reid was obviously short of match practice. His fitness is OK, but could improve, and some of his passing was "off", but he never shirked responsibility, and kept going for the whole 90 minutes. He will get better, and could be the missing link we have been desperate for since Parker left.

Bryan Hughes, on the other hand, was not doing a good job, until the sending off anyway. Slow, without vision, he just lumped it forward whenever he had the ball. With ten men though, he did cover a lot of ground and try to get involved but he is the weak link in the midfield now.

Hasselbaink tried hard again, but has had little service of note due to a lack of wide men, exascerbated by Hermann's sending off and the retraction of Ambrose. He does command respect though, and probably only needs a goal to kick-start his season.

Darren Bent was superb again; he is so deadly nowadays, and it was a real shock to see him fluff his first half chance. The main problem with Dazza is getting past Thursdays transfer deadline without someone making a stupid offer for him!

The subs that were used had varying success. Kishishev was excellent, being the good guy that we know he can be - all bustle and hustle, winning ball and giving a simple pass. He covered an enormous distance during the time he was on the pitch. Marcus Bent and Matt Holland had little time to show anything, and they may now be sacrificed if replacements can be found (Marvin Williams/Elliott?).

So the doom and gloom brigade have had to eat their words. Charlton moved off the bottom of the table thanks to this win - their first over Bolton for years. The crowd felt involved, and created a good atmosphere; shame it was a lot less than capacity.

Now the important thing is to keep hold of our main players before the close of the transfer window, and seek out the missing links that will hold the season together - Dowie had two in mind, and hopefully they will be on board by Thursday.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Bolton next on Dowie hit list

I've just done a long blog about tomorrow's game, but my PC decided to lose it sadly. I'm not going to repeat it all, suffice to say it wasn't very complimentary about Iain Dowie or Charlton's chances of getting anything from Bolton's visit tomorrow and moving off the bottom of the Premiership.

I want to see Rommedahl start - I don't want to see Hughes and Holland continue in midfield.

My one to watch is Hermann Hreidersson, as he is due a big game for us.

My score prediction is a predictable 1-0 defeat, but I hope I'm worong.

Come on you reds!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Back to the drawing board...

Charlton Athletic 0
Manchester United 3

It was not the sort of birthday night I'd hoped for - soaked by the downpour when walking to the ground from the station, I sat soggy all night, before getting another drenching on the way home via the bus stop.

It finished three-nil, but it could have been six; Charlton's first home game of the season ended in abject defeat, with United proving easy winners. The goals, all in the second half, came from Fletcher (after an awful fluffed clearance by El Karkouri), Saha, and Solskjaer, with Giggs, Ronaldo, and Park all hitting the woodwork.

Head Coach Iain Dowie certainly seems to be racking up the problems at present - new injuries to Sorondo and Reid did not help team preparations. On the pitch, his side all played as best they could, but teamwork was at a premium and sadly lacking. The wet night didn't help, but controlling and passing the ball seemed beyond most of the Charlton team that did play...

The defence seemed isolated from the midfield, especially in the second half when it dropped too deep (a common failing last season...) and left Amady Faye too far upfield to help out, and the forwards ploughed a lonely furrough all night with very little support until Rommedahl came on for the last ten minutes (when the game was already lost).

The only chances fell when Hasselbaink shot first time from an Ambrose chest down in the first half, which went wide, as did an embarassing long range Borat, sorry, Talal El Karkouri free kick. Ambrose had the only other worthwhile shot, which looped high before nearly causing van der Sar to blush as it dropped near the top corner.

I'm struggling to think of any other good things that came out of the game; Dowie really does need to get realistic about our chances this year.

At least the bloke behind me didn't turn up...

Man of the match - tough one this...Young tried to contain Ronaldo, and did OK; Fortune looked comfortable most evening; Holland ran around a lot, but the "award" goes to Darren Bent who won nearly every header he contested, and really did look like a very good player in a pretty average team.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Will he or won't he???

The trepidation. The fear. The first home game of the season. We all feel it. And what causes it? After a wondrous summer of stress-free days, world cup wonders, hot evenings, and cricket, we get back to the Valley tonight and will see for the first time whether the bloke-behind-us has done just what we have, and renewed the same seat as last season!

You know who you are! You come along with your mate, when you can be bothered, and sit through the game slagging off everything Addick-related. That's because you are a Spurs fan, but you don't go there any more because they were useless for a long time, and you've moved to South London, and Charlton is a cheaper option, and a mate of yours goes too. So you turn up, usually five minutes late blaming the trains, moan as the game is played, criticize every player, go off for your half time beer bevy after 42 minutes of actual play, miss the second half kick off, and surprise surprise, when we are losing with half an hour to go, have a discussion about going early and catching an empty train. Last season, you missed a bunch of games, and it was bliss I can tell you! You attended the early games, which we lost, and the later games, which we lost, and missed the mid-season home games, which we won! Is that telling you something?

Please, please, please, I hope you do not turn up in the West stand tonight.

The team I expect to see start is -

El Karkouri
Bent (D)

Subs - Myrhe, Reid, Bent (M), Hughes, Lisbie

My one to watch tonight could be the bloke behind me, but hopefully he won't be there (or if he is, he's in another seat...), so I'll choose Darren Bent, as he could really brighten up my birthday with a couple of goals in a famous win.

The Pedro45 prediction is another tough night in store for the Addickted, with United in superb form in a 4-0 win. I do hope I'm wrong, but, well, you know, we don't look that good this season sadly. Maybe Dowie can get the passion and pride back...I certainly hope so. Come on you reds!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hammer blow!

West Ham United 3 Charlton Athletic 1

...And like our dreams, it fades and dies - after about twenty five minutes yesterday, when Howard Webb pulled out the red card, to be precise!

What is it about first games of the season and Charlton players getting sent off? We know that our club likes to do things the hard way, but this is getting stupid. Richard Rufus at Newcastle; Paul Konchesky versus Chelsea; Darren Ambrose last year at the Stadium of Light; and now, Djimi Traore at Upton Park - first game, sent off, automatic ban...

So what good things, if any, came out of yesterdays loss? Debuts for Carson, Traore, Faye, Reid and Hasselbaink, of varying success. Carson made some good saves, and didn't really have much chance with any of the goals, although the second was a very strange and soft affair. Traore was under pressure all match (well, all he played...), and seemed not to be able to cope with the tempo or a resurgent Lee Bowyer. Faye did OK, but the radio commentator took 23 minutes to mention him by name (by which time I'd almost forgotten he was playing) - not really what you want from a defensive midfielder when under apparent constant pressure. Would Kishishev have been so anonymous early on - I doubt it! Jimmy-Floyd tried hard, but didn't have too many chances to shine. One long range shot just over, and a diving header prevented by Gabbidon's outstretched arm were his only real efforts. He'll get better, and it was probably good that he got a rest near the end with a midweek game coming up. Andy Reid came on for the last 25 minutes or so, and would have helped his lacking fitness a little. His free kick near the end could have brought an equaliser from Sorondo, but it wasn't to be.

The other good point (I thought), was that Dowie went for it after we fell 2-1 behind with only ten men. You have to ask if the switch to 3-4-2 would have happened with Alan Curbishley in charge? Usually, Curbs settles for keeping the deficit down in these situations, but Dowie seemed to say a draw or bust by the formation switch. It nearly worked, so let's give plaudits where due.

Curbs was on the radio this morning saying how pleased he was when Darren Bent's penalty gave Charlton the 15th minute lead; and how disappointed he was when Traore got sent off not long after. If there was any doubt, he really does have Charlton close to his heart, even now. What price that he is strongly linked with a return to The Valley after he has been down under to see his sister and had the break he wants (and needs), especially if the team continue to struggle with Dowie in charge and are near the base of the table come October?

So it's one down, thirty-seven to go. We are still lacking in defence, woefully short in midfield, and with a shortage of spirit it seems. Mr Dowie will have a lot to do before Wednesday if we are to prevent another resounding thrashing by Manchester United - with or without Wayen Rooney!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Hamming it up

At last, after what seems like months, we are at the start of a new Premiership season.

Charlton's first game of the new campaign is away at Upton Park versus West Ham United. It is Iain Dowie's first game as the Head Coach of Charlton, and he will be out to impress the Addicks faithful.

So what can we expect?

In goal, new loanee signing Scott Carson will alomost certanly start, ahead of Thomas Myrhe, Stephan Andersen, and Darren Randolph, who all saw game play action in the pre-season friendlies.

The defence opens up a number of options; Luke Young will almost certainly start at right back, having turned down the chance to jump ship and sign for West Ham during the summer. The other defenders on show are more difficult to predict. I expect Hemann Hreidersson to play, but he could be pushed out wide to left back depending who else Dowie favours. Djime Traore will probably play, and if so, he could also be used wide left, with Hermann in the middle. The other centre half could be any one of Sorondo (who has recently been injured), Fortune, or El Karkouri.

The midfield is the one area that has been thoroughly strengthened in the last two weeks - Andy Reid should play, and so will Amady Faye. But will Matt Holland, Bryan Hughes, Radistan Kishishev or Jason Euell also be in there? Will Reid play wide or through the middle? Has Cristian Bolanos returned from Costa Rica in time to play, or did the recent Heathrow security situation effect his return, that's if he gets a work permit. Will Rommedahl, Ambrose, or Sam feature out wide?

Up front, expect Darren Bent to play alongside Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Marcus Bent will probably be on the bench, in front of Kevin Lisbie.

This is the line up I expect to see start the 2006/2007 season in the red shirts of Charlton -

El Karkouri
Bent (D)

Subs - Myrhe, Fortune, Hughes, Kishishev, Bent (M)

West Ham have had a fairly quiet pre-season, but lost Dean Ashton in midweek with a broken ankle. They do have Harewood and ex-Addick Carlton Cole to play up front with Bobby Zamora in reserve, so are not short of attacking options. The defence looks young, with Gabbidon and Ferdinand looking reasonably solid, and in midfield they have Reo-Coker and Lee Bowyer adding bite.

My one to watch in this match just has to be Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. If Jimmy is to be as good as his word, then expect some fireworks while he stays fit and healthy. He will be a good foil for Darren Bent, and Andy Reid could provide enough ammo for them to fire if he is fit enough for 90 minutes.

Pedro45's score prediction is tough. We have a very good record aginst the Hammers in recent years; my Iron friends always recognised that we would win the league encounters as long as they had the cup wins, and that has proved fairly true apart from the odd hiccup. I'm therefore going for a hard-fought 2-2 draw, to give the season a kick-start.

The Addicks start to the season is tough, and it would be really good to come away with something from this game. Last season we started with five consecutive away wins, and topped the table in the early weeks. Dowie's record aginst West Ham is 100% wins we are told - wouldn't it be great to go into next Wednesday's game against Manchester United on top of the league after a resounding victory!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

New Beginnings or the Start of the End?

Just days to go now before the new English Premier League season, and therefore time for a season preview; what is in store for Charlton during season 2006/7?

The Head Coach
Iain Dowie. Strange, for years and years the pre-season preview had Alan Curbishley installed as the Charlton manager, but he is no more, and we now have a Head Caoch instead. The coaching triumvirate that was for so long Curbs, Mervyn Day and Keith Peacock, now becomes Dowie, Robson and Reed. So what can we expect? The pre-season games suggest a switch back to 4-4-2 as the norm formation, with strength in depth and a solid back-bone to build on. Dowie is known as a motivator, and coined the phrase "Bouncebackability" at his last club. I hope that word isn't used much during Dowie's tenure in SE7 as I'd prefer that we needn't bounce back from anything! It's good to have Les Reed back on board, and he seems to have kept a low profile during pre-season. Reed is a top draw coach, but hasn't been at a Premiership club as coach before, having left Charlton after the play off win in 1998 to work with England. Now he has a chance to shine once more, and his relationship with Dowie will be crucial. Mark Robson also has an important role to play, and will probably do a lot of the donkey work with the reserves and those not involved in playing each game. The pending court case against Dowie may still impact, although the most likely outcome is of some sort of financial compromise should Dowie be deemed at fault. I'm glad I sit at the south end of the West stand as those near the home dugout may have their view obscured frequently by a bobbing head coach for the early months of this season!

The Goalies
The shirt numbers seem to have given it away - none of the current bunch was asked to take on the number one jersey, so it seemed obvious that a new custodian was on the way. Step in Scott Carson, on a years loan from Liverpool. Thomas Myrhe seems to have paid for the end of season slip ups that saw him dropped, and Stephan Andersen will be equally upset and may well seek pastures new. Darren Randolph will be an able third choice, and long term could well be the man in possesion for the years to come. I don't know much about Carson, apart from that on other blog sites and his short stints in the limelight at Leeds and Liverpool. He has a good CV, and is rated - I guess that is all we can hope for, but if he starts making errors like Keily, Andersen, and Myrhe before him, then Dowie may be in some trouble...

The Defence
The numbers are there, but are they any good? Dowie seems to favour tall players, so Traore will probably play with Hreidersson, Young and Sorondo. All internationals...but good enough for the Premier League?

El Karkouri has returned to the club and seems to have put aside any differences he had, although he may struggle to get a starting place early in the season.

Captain Luke Young has now signed a new contract, and shrugged aside talk of a West Ham exit during the summer; not the best way to endear yourself to the fans Lukey!

Youngsters Ashton, Youga and Sankofa will see little action probably. Yankee Gibbs will be fit late in the year after a knee operation, although he does seem to be a very similar player to Traore and Hermann, so maybe the time for our Icelandic hero to move on is getting close?

Jonathan Fortune will no doubt make a few appearances from the bench, but "Forch" cannot have a close relationship with the Head Coach after that late goal in the last home game the season before last sent a certain club to relegation.

The Midfield
At last the midfield signing we have been waiting patiently for - Andy Reid - has arrived. Creative, a good passer, a great shot, and skillful too, Reid can do what Danny Murphy did for Charlton and feed the ball to Bent and Hasselbaink to score goals. Charlton tried to sign him when he left Forest for Spurs a couple of years back, but the inclusion of Dawson in that double deal scuppered any chance we had of getting him then. He's not fat, it was just the Spurs shirt that made him look like that!

The other new midfielder is Amady Faye; he will no doubt play the holding role. Taller than Kishishev, but probably less mobile, he could be the missing link, and it will be interesting to see who plays alongside him each week.

The rest of the squad are stalwarts - Holland, Hughes, Kishishev, and Euell will all fulfill roles this year, but I cannot see them making too many starts. Holland may move on now, as could Kish, though I doubt we will see much revenue from either...

The Wingers
This is the interesting area - when Curbs switched to 4-5-1, the inclusion of two of Ambrose, Rommedahl, Sam, or Thomas gave an exciting look to the team. Now the outlook is switched back to 4-4-2, the question is whether any of these players do enough out wide to merit regular inclusion?

Dennis has the pace, the others all great skill; none are great crossers of the ball.

Our new Costa Rican Cristian Bolanos may play wide opposite Reid if Dowie wants to play conservatively, although that in itself could be exciting. If Reid plays inside (alongside Faye), then does Rommedahl do enough to merit inclusion rightside, and what of the others?

A Dowie dilemna!

The Forwards
What can one say about Darren Bent? 22 goals in his maiden Premiership season was a fantastic return. The absence from the England World Cup squad a travesty. The signing of a new contract fantastic news! The ability to make a sandwich questionable! His second England cap last night was good to see, though I think he touched the ball once in 14 minutes!

Alongside him, we will probably see the enigma that is Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. A great free signing - true, let's hope Jimmy has the desire shown in pre-season once the kicking starts, and contributes as much as di Canio did a few years back.

Marcus Bent didn't really get much of chance last year, but will be a good back up, as long as he can stay fit, and the much maligned Kevin Lisbie returns to (some sort of) favour as fourth striker. Other options should we get a run of injuries are not easy to spot, with Euell the only other squad forward who could start. That is, unless James Walker has really found the key to kickstarting his career...

The Fans
An interesting season for fans - new Coach, the continuing of Valley Express bussing fans in from Kent, a drop in Season tickets sales, and a tough start to the season which could leave us near the bottom of the table if results go badly.

The Competition
Chelsea will win the Premier League this year, but we are not in direct competition with them - we all know that! London has other clubs that we can compete with though - Fulham, and West Ham are both of similar standing to the Addicks, and we can optimistically compete with them. We can also hope to finish above the three promoted clubs - Reading (who have good players but haven't made many signings), Sheffield United (who will battle but could be outclassed) and Watford (good manager, but no pedigree). We should also give a couple of other clubs a run for their money so a bottom six finish is not a foregone conclusion.

The Outcome
Pre season games are not a good indicator; I remember Charlton having a terrible run of friendlies some years back but following it up with a great season. This year, we have a pretty even split of wins, draws, and losses. Early season games will be tough, but wouldn't it be great to win at Upton Park on Saturday, and maybe even follow that up with more wins against under-strength sides? It can be done! The fitness should be there, as Dowie has a reputation in this respect. The motivation should also be there, as failure could lead to any or all of the above being out of a job this time next year. How good was Curbs - we are about to find out...

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Enter your email address below to subscribe to Charlton Athletic Online!

powered by Bloglet
Sports Business Directory - BTS Local
Custom Search