Sunday, October 29, 2006

Point Made

Newcastle United 0 Charlton Athletic 0

It certainly wasn't very pretty, but Charlton picked up their fifth point of the season at St James' Park on Saturday evening, and made it three games without defeat, and three clean sheets on the trot to boot!

Dowie took this websites advice once again on team selection, and recalled the rested and fit (in the losest possible term of the word...) again players who had missed the midweek cup win over Bolton - Reid, Diawara, Carson, Darren Bent, and Faye. Marcus Bent retained his place from midweek, as Jerome Thomas was missing injured.

Unfortunately, all the passion, confidence and commitment evident in the cup game seemed to disappear early on, and Charlton were lucky to survive shots from Parker (more than once), Duff (also several times), Rossi (at least twice), and Solano. Carson made a few good saves, and got a whack in the face from Rossi for his troubles after fumbling one Parker shot. The 4-4-2 formation just was not working, with both Bent's unable to retain what little ball they were given by a profligate midfield. In fact, some of Reid and Faye's passing was attrocious. Half time couldn't arrive too soon, and it was a great relief to see the Addicks survive till then.

After half time, Dowie changed things a little, first recalling big Benty to a wider role, then replacing him with Bryan Hughes. Reid lasted little longer, eventually falling with cramp. We have all heard many jokes about the rotundness of our small Irishmen, but the fact that he could not last an hour without his muscles seizing up does not bode well when we are told he is working additional hours in training to bolster his fitness. He was replaced by Kishishev. These two changes worked in Charlton's favour, and all of a sudden, the team was able to compete.

Darren Bent chased everything up front; Rommedahl, who flattered to decieve in the first half, set off on a few pacy runs, and efforts on goal became more frequent. Luke Young made many a foray down the flank and tried to help the attacking options of the team. Bent got free and flashed a volley wastefully over the bar; Hughes curled a shot narrowly wide with Harper beaten; then Bent again won the ball after beating Craig Moore for pace but was denied by a last ditch tackle when about to shoot.

At the other end, Newcastle continued to threaten, but less so, and Carson seemed to deal well with anything that came near him. The game petered out, and a point apiece was all either side got from the game.

Dowie accepted that Charlton played poorly most of the time, but was grateful for any return. The crowd were not too pleased, but the Geordies seem to be getting used to games like this these days.

For Charlton, a week off is time to be spent getting the unfit players back on equal terms with the rest of the Premiership; I don't mean the injured ones, I mean those that cannot seem to get through 90 minutes now without having a week off afterwards to recover. Diawara is great, but must get fitter to cope with the Premiership pace; Reid must just get fitter, as he seems to stroll around most of the time anyway, and now gets cramp for just doing that!

Next week sees another bottom of the table clash, with Manchester City and under pressure Stuart Pearce. A home win is needed, but win, lose or draw, it might not be very pretty again.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Park Life

Charlton visit Newcastle tomorrow, for the late afternoon kick off, on the back of two clean sheets. Hopefully the Addicks can keep a third, and come away from St James' Park with at least a point.

After the midweek cup win, Iain Dowie has some momentum going at last and, if the reality is that Charlton have at last started the season, he must be confident that the return of many injured players is statrting to reap dividends.

Newcastle are not doing very well in the league themselves, and this is the first side Charlton have played this season who can be classed as not in any sort of form. A midweek cup whipping of Portsmouth aside, on a soggy Tyneside pitch, their Premiership form of late is fairly poor. They will be looking for a result then, and so will their fans, who seem to think it their right to be in the top four challenging for a Champions League spot.

Talking of spots, Charlton will come up against former Addick Scottie Parker once more. Scott is now captain of the Magpies, and back near his combative best; hopefully, Amady Faye, who is also playing against his old club, will be able to put the wee-man in his place and nullify any threat.

The midweek cup win at The Valley has given Dowie a few selections headaches he claims; I don't really think it has, unless a few of the niggles that kept certain players out on Wednesday are more serious than first thought. Scott Carson will return in goal, with Tommy Myrhe slipping to the bench. Young, Hreidersson, and El Karkouri with remain in defence, and the excellent Souleymane Diawara will hopefully come back into the team in place of Jon Fortune. Up front, we hope Darren Bent is fit again, and if he is, he will play without doubt. The midfield is the only area where Dowie will have to make a firm decision on which players to chose, and that really depends on what formation he wants to go with - 4-4-2, or 4-5-1.

If he decides to stick with last Saturdays dabbling with just one up front, Dennis Rommedahl will start wide right, and Jerome Thomas wide left. His hand may be forced into 4-4-2 though, if Thomas is not fit after being carried away on Wednesday night. The other wide left options are Darren Ambrose, another ex-Geordie player, who failed to impress on Wednesday after coming on as a sub, or youngsters Lloyd Sam or Alaistair John. However, I don't think Dowie will play this way if Thomas is not fit to start.

The more likely option, in my opinion, is that Dowie will switch back to 4-4-2, and that will give Marcus Bent the chance to start a league game for the first time this season. This means that with Rommedahl on the right of midfield, Faye in the middle holding role, and with Matt Holland retaining his place (he has had two reasonable games on the bounce it has to be noted...), the sole remaining slot has to go to Andy Reid (if fit) or Bryan Hughes (rather than the more expansive and lightweight Ambrose).

This is the team I expect to see play on TV tomorrow -

Scott Carson
Luke Young
Talal El Karkouri
Souleymane Diawara
Hermann Hreidersson
Amady Faye
Matt Holland
Andy Reid
Dennis Rommedahl
Marcus Bent
Darren Bent

Subs from Myrhe, Fortune, Sankofa, Kishishev, Hughes, Ambrose, Pouso, Hasselbaink.

By the way, where is Omar Pouso now? An hour in the first team; four reserve games, and pushing at the first team door, but not even a sub slot midweek?

My one-to-watch tomorrow evening is Souleymane Diawara. Our Senegal lion is getting better and better, and it is in these major games that we need him to show the country that we have at last got a very good defender capable of handling Premiership forwards. He is getting fitter, and looking more exciting, with every match for the Addicks.

Pedro45's score prediction is a toughed-out 1-1 draw; I think we may start well and score early, but maybe concede a late equaliser as legs start to get weary. That would be three games unbeaten, and Dowie would be happy with that.

For information, Pedro45's score prediction was correct on Wednesday, as was his team selection, a rare double hit which had odds of about 1000-1! If I get the team and score right again, please note that my lottery numbers this week are 5, 7, 13, 23, 31, 43, 49 - please do not use these numbers as I want the whole jackpot myself!

Come on you reds!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Marcus Bent Bent Bent

Charlton Athletic 1 Bolton Wanderers 0

Charlton won this hard fought 3rd round cup game with a fine headed goal from Marcus Bent. Big Marcus was one of a number of changes, some enforced, that Iain Dowie had to make from the team that played Watford at the weekend.

Thomas Myrhe played in goal, Jon Fortune was recalled at centre back, the dreaded double H formation was in midfield (Bryan Hughes joining Matt Holland..) and they also had Radostin Kishishev for company. Up front, Big Bent played alongside a recalled Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Similarly, Sam Allardyce also made changes to his normal starting eleven.

It was Jimmy Floyd who made the goal, recieving a pass from Hughes and crossing for Bent to sneak in at the far post and beat Ian Walker with a fine downward header midway through the first half.

The whole game was pretty tight, with few clear cut chances on either side. Long range shots went wide or seemed to arrow straight into both goalies midrifts. The second half went by in a flash, and it was shock to me to see the injury time board go up, as I thought there were about 15 minutes still left to play. I guess this is the problem we can get when the electronic scoreboard isn't working (why not?).

The team played quite well with Bent putting plenty of effort in even before his goal. The defence stood up under pressure, and the midfield tried their best to close the opposition down quickly, though creativity wasn't a strong point.

One bad point was an injury to Jerome Thomas, who was having a decent game, and he was replaced by an ineffective Darren Ambrose.

Charlton hung on during the frantic finish, even surviving a last minute corner that Ian Walker came up from his own goal to try to win.

The draw for the next round pits Charlton against giant killers Chesterfield, who must fancy their chances of beating the bottom Premiership team now they have seen off the second bottom team (West Ham).

Should Charlton win that game, then this will be the most successful League Cup campaign in the clubs history, which is quite astonishing! Iain Dowie may be a manager (or Head Coach) under pressure, but he is on the verge of doing something that Curbs and the rest never attained.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Cup Runneth Over?

Charlton and the League Cup - not two things that usually go hand in hand, but tomorrow night, the Addicks have a chance to progress as far in the competition as they ever have previously. Standing in their way are Bolton Wanderers, a team that Charlton have already beaten at the Valley this season (and the only team really bar previous cup defeatists Carlisle).

The previous encounter back in August was a pretty high tempo affair - Talal El Karkouri got whacked in the face a couple of times early on, and when Hermann Hreidersson's elbow connected with Kevin Davies, a cheekbone fractured and Hermy saw the red card appear from the refs pocket...Later, Amady Faye went to ground after another clash with Davies, and it was ten men each. This after Scott Carson saved a Diouf penalty (above), and Darren Bent had won and scored a similar effort at the other end. Dazza went on to grab a second goal and Charlton's season seemed to finally be under way. As we now know, that wasn't really the case...

It will be interesting to see if any of the main protagonists from this encounter feature tomorrow night; for Charlton, Iain Dowie has injury doubts (surprise surprise) over Diawara, Reid, Faye, and Darren Bent, plus Dennis Rommedahl and Jerome Thomas (left) are not fully fit. Bolton also have players missing - their own Faye is out injured, as is Kevin Nolan through suspension. It remains to be seen if Sam Allardyce will take the compettion seriously this year, as he has previously put out a number of reserves and concentrated more on league status. Dowie would like that luxury, but must be desperate to see Charlton win after six games without a sniff. It is doubtful that we will see Alaistair John on the bench as we did in the previous round...

This is the team I expect our head coach to field at The Valley -

Thomas Myrhe
Luke Young
Talal El Karkouri
Jonathan Fortune
Hermann Hreidersson
Radostin Kishishev
Matt Holland
Bryan Hughes
Jerome Thomas
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Marcus Bent

Subs from - Andersen, Diawara, Ashton, Sankofa, Faye, Sam, Rommedahl, Darren Bent.

It will be interesting to see what sort of crowd turns up for the game - I doubt Bolton will bring more than 500, but ticket prices are low (£15) so home support may be OK (15,000?). Midweek games tend to get the crowd going a bit more than Saturday (or Sunday) games, so the atmosphere could be OK if the team plays alright and the boo-boys stay away.

My one-to-watch tomorrow night is Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink; it can't be many times that Jimmy has been dropped in his career, but that is what happened on Saturday. A decent response is required, and a home goal from the Dutchman is just what the Dowie doctor ordered. If the defence can hold, one goal may be enough...

Pedro45's score prediction would love to be able to get anywhere near, but the injuries to both teams and who gets picked from the residue leave any firm prediction about as much chance as Killer has of getting a scoreline right! I'll plump for a 1-0 win, but only if Big Sam puts a few reserves out and keeps Anelka and Diouf under blankets all night.

Some are saying that the Premiership should take priority over this cup at present; I am of the view that a result is a result, and that will only help the team come Saturday and St James' Park. I just hope it doesn't go to extra time and penalties, as I'm not sure my girlfriend will wait that long to pick me up afterwards!

Come on you reds!

Curbs on Kish...not!

I pick up one of the London free evening newspapers on the way home, and what hits me first tonight as I scan the front page? The "Curbs on...Bulgarian Workers" headline. Is this Alan Curbishley actually coming clean on how he sees Kishishev controlling the midfield? Well, Kish does run around an awful lot when he plays. What would his view be - after leaving the club would our last manager be positive in his opinion of our Bulgarian? Nope, it was nothing to do with Kish or Curbs - all about shutting the door on East European migrants. Oh well, maybe one day Curbs will write another book and really say what he thought about Radostin, and the rest of his Premiership signings...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Pointing the way ahead...

Charlton Athletic 0
Watford 0

One point is better than none, especially when you have lost the last five matches, but ultimately, the Addickted will be disappointed not to have won this match.

Dowie did what many fans had asked, and dropped both of the players who had not been performing in recent matches - Hughes and Hasselbaink - and switched to a 4-5-1 formation. Initially, this seemed to work, and early chances for Rommedahl, Thomas, and Darren Bent went begging.

Midway through the half, Watford applied some pressure through their long ball/long throw in tactics, but Charlton survived without too many worries. The half ended with Charlton back on top and again missing goalscoring opportunities as Foster saved well twice from Reid.

The second half was similar to the first, with Charlton mainly in control, but with Watford having a good period of pressure midway through. We all saw the "Misses Robinson" headline last week after the England game; this week, the present served up by the excellent Ashley Young should have led to Darius Henderson scoring from ten yards, but all I can say is "Misses Henderson presents"!

Charlton had two good penalty claims - one for an awarded handball that was clearly inside the area, but was given on the edge, and a better shout in the second half when Faye was bundled over when poised to shoot. When you are at the bottom, you get no luck - I think Lennie Lawrence said that...and it is still true!

New refereee Mason did OK when awarding fouls, but was let down by a worryingly inaccurate east stand linesman, and his inability to let the game carry on quickly after the award of a foul. Several times he stopped Charlton taking free kicks immediately, when they tried, as two yards was too far away from the exact place of infringement...

Ultimately Charlton played fairly well, but with no luck. Carson wasn't extended, though he was under pressure from crosses, especially in the second half. Young and Hreidersson did OK at full back, but their final ball is lacking. Diawara was very good again, and reminds me a little of Richard Rufus - pace, timing, unflurried. El Karkouri did OK, but I wish he wasn't given free kick duties, as these usually end up as goal kicks! The revamped five man midfield showed great improvement from a few weeks back. Faye handled most things coming through the middle, and even ventured forwards more often than we have seen in the past. Holland ran all game and even picked up a booking for a "professional" foul when Watford broke - it was his best game of the season by far. Reid was very good too, filling the gap behind Darren Bent, and feeding the wingers well; I did wish he would play an earlier ball to Bent though, who made many runs that were wasted as Reid dallied with his delivery. Rommedahl continued his good form, and maybe could have scored very early on if he had shot first time instead of cutting inside. Thomas also did well before running out of steam soon after half time (why did Dowie waste another twenty minutes before subbing him?). Hasselbaink tried hard after coming on for Thomas, but had no luck.

A better home effort, but no win; Bolton on Wednesday now becomes another big game for the club, as defeat there, and at St James Park on Saturday, would leave Dowie in a tenuous position in my opinion. The options of a replacement should not yet be considered, but you have to question how long the board will go before making the decision to either sink or swim with Dowie, or get a new coach who might make a difference.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Wat's in Store

It's an important game...

We can win...

We will win...

Hopefully the team will all have this sort of positive outlook for the game against Watford.

The team I expect Iain Dowie to put out is -

Scott Carson
Luke Young
Talal El Karkouri
Souleymane Diawara
Hermann Hreidersson
Amady Faye
Omar Pouso
Andy Reid
Dennis Rommedahl
Jerome Thomas
Darren Bent

Subs from Myrhe, Fortune, Kishishev, Holland, Hughes, Ambrose, Bent (M), Hasselbaink.

My one-to-watch is Rommedahl, who has the pace to skin Chrissy Powell alive. He must be due a goal at The Valley soon, and could be the player to start to turn the season around for the Addicks.

Pedro45' score prediction is a 3-0 win; anythng less than an emphatic win could lead to a very long hard winter, and I don't want to contemplate that!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Operation was/wasn't a Success

Fulham 2 Charlton Athletic 1

The support that Charlton received from their fans, much of it a result of the successful Operation Craven Cottage initiative, was great, but it wasn't enough to earn any points. Goals from Brian McBride and Claus Jensen gave Fulham a two nil lead midway through the second half, and though Darren Bent pulled one back a few minutes later, the truth is Charlton didn't have enough belief to equalise.

The game started off quite slowly, with the only action coming from the rauccous Charlton crowd. It was great to see the away section almost full (I'm not sure how many Addicks made the trip, but it was a significant number in a 19,000 overall attendance figure.

Charlton came in to the game after settling down in the first ten minutes or so, and soon bossed the match, but without scoring. Hasselbaink fired at Niemi; Reid shot just wide, as did the flying Rommedahl, who caused all sorts of problems wide on the right. Darren Bent floated a shot just over. At the back, the recalled Souleymane Diawara had the crowd singing his name after several good interceptions; when he gets to know his team-mates, he could become a great buy.

After half time, much was the same until Fulham brought on substitute and ex-Addick Claus Jensen. We had seen it all before really - Claus made the first goal, and typically scored an excellent second what seemed like moments later. Game over. Jerome Thomas' first outing of the season tried to lift the spirits but he, and Rommedahl, were starved of the ball late in the game. Another substitute, Marcus Bent tried to inject some passion into the evening, and certainly put himself about, but with little result. It was left to Thomas to wriggle into the penalty area, then get hacked to bits, and the ball fall to Darren Bent to poke wide of Niemi and home from 14 yards with fifteen minutes left. Hreidersson and Reid had late headed chances but both times lacked conviction, and maybe belief.

Overall, everyone played their part, with the only two problem areas being Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink who seems a bit lost at present, and Bryan Hughes, who just isn't good enough. Both ended up substituted, so maybe Dowie can see the problems with these two aswell. Hopefully, Omar Pouso will come through another reserve game tonight and be fit enough to start on Saturday. Forward options are very thin on the ground, unless a return to 4-5-1 is considered by Dowie.

Watford's visit on Saturday now takes on huge significance; the Premiership's bottom two meet, and anything but a home win for the Addicks will heep a whole lot of pressure on Iain Dowie. The team that he wants on the pitch is almost completely fit now, and the excuses have to stop from this point forwards.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Monday Night Football

It's not the start of the Premiership season, so much as the start of Charlton's Premiership season hopefully...

Charlton travel across town for the game against Fulham rooted to the bottom of the table - one win from seven tough games is all that Iain Dowie's men can show. Is it because we are rubbish? No - we've had a tough start, lots of injuries, and now we are getting key players fit, we will start to show the real Charlton to all those doom and gloom merchants. That's it - Easy, isn't it! Three points at Craven Cottage and the season and Dowie era are both well and truly under way.

Hmmm. I do hope so, but Operation Craven Cottage or not, this is no easy game to turn round our season.

Fulham have a good home record, and Charlton haven't won there since John Pearson and co won during midweek back in April 1986, a game that took us very close to promotion to the top division for the first time in years. Fulham have also had plenty of injuries to contend with this season, and there midfield has been woefully short at times, but they too have bodies returning and we would do well to respect them. Centrally, they will probably have Papa Bouba Diop and Michael Brown kicking shins, though it is possible that ex-Addick Claus Jensen may get an outing at some point. So they are not that short of midfielders!

For Charlton, Scott Carson will continue his good form in goal, and Luke Young and Hermann Hreidersson are also certain to start in defence. Up front, Darren Bent and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink should start, but the rest of the team are by no means shoe-ins.

Of the injured players, Souleymane Diawara played in the closed doors friendly against Arsenal last week, so he comes back into defensive contention, as does Omar Pouso in midfield who has now played a couple of games recently. Andy Reid is another midfield option after playing a starring role for Ireland last week. Dennis Rommedahl also played internationally after injury forced him out of the last Charlton match, and Jerome Thomas could also feature out wide for the first time this season. Hopefully, Amady Faye and Darren Ambrose have also shaken off recent knocks, and will be fit to play a part.

Overall, Iain Dowie has a lot more players to chose from than he has at any other time this season; this is the side I expect to see take the field -

Scott Carson
Luke Young
Souleymane Diawara
Talal El Karkouri
Hermann Hreidersson
Amady Faye
Bryan Hughes
Dennis Rommedahl
Andy Reid
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Darren Bent

Subs from - Myrhe, Fortune, Kishishev, Holland, Pouso, Ambrose, and Marcus Bent.

The eleven looks a lot more competitive than it has done, and is much nearer what could be considered our best eleven (Pouso for Hughes, and Traore for El Karkouri...).

My one-to-watch is going to be Andy Reid who, having played so well for the Republic last week, can hopefully carry on his form for the Addicks.

Pedro45's score prediction has to be tainted by the fact that we would take any result we could get at present, and I'm going for a 1-1 draw. I'd like to forecast a win, but feel that unless the team play really well, they may not find Fulham as easy as some people think they are, so we'll settle for our first draw of the season.

The ticket office stopped sending out tickets last week, but did advise supporters that entry to the ground could be gained on the night. Hopefully the effort of a few to galvanise enough support to sing the boys to victory will work, and a good atmosphere can be generated.

Come on you reds!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Charlton links

This seems like a good time to remind everyone of the other blog sites that are all things Charlton related. I’ve added them all to my side bar so you can click on them whenever you wish in future. There probably aren’t as many as some other Premiership clubs can boast, but I do think that the content on some is of the very highest quality. A brief appraisal of each is included (just my own opinion – please take the comments in the spirit they are meant…), and I encourage readers to visit each of the sites and make their own judgements than rely on my own personal views. If I've missed anyone out, I apologise, but please let me know and I'll add you/them to my side bar links.

In no particular order…

Frankie Valley
One of the funniest blogs around – Frankie (to his friends) rips into anyone and anything that takes his fancy, and is particularly adept at winding up the opposition fans with fantastic wit and satire well before they arrive in SE7 for a game. The comments section is excellent, and there is regular contribution from fans of other teams too.

All Quiet in the East Stand
Tells it like it is – the oldest (or maybe that should be most experienced) Charlton blog; Inspector Sands takes no prisoners, and has been known to rattle many a local cage with his viewpoint.

What was the Score
The view from Chicago, usually as seen on the TV; this gives us local lads an excellent perspective should we ever want to know what it’s like to follow Charlton if we should emigrate.

SE7 Dreams
Essex based fans who joined the blogging world last season – very quiet recently…

New York Addick
Another Yankee view from an ex-pat living Stateside. Slightly more hard hitting than the Chicago version, NYA does come up with some amazing stats that inform us why Charlton are (usually) doing so badly.

Views from an Iberian Valley
Not content with US-based bloggers, Charlton boast two Spanish versions; the Wordy Nelson likes to share his opinions on how Dowie is doing, and why he is on a par with Curbs.

The classic Andy Hunt (…is wonderful) blog, sent all the way from Belize where Andy and his lovely missus now reside. The much loved Ex-Charlton, Newcastle and West Brom striker has plenty of astute observations from the ex-pro angle; not to be missed.

An Addick for Life
Fairly irregular but interesting blog, sometimes acting as a rallying cry for all and sundry.

Cynic Athletic
Fairly straightforward fans blog – previews, reports, opinion, plus great videos from last years cup quarter final! A little quiet recently…

Addicks Premiership Diary
Excellent opinion coupled with (possibly) insider knowledge, Wyn lets us know as soon as he can on anything that moves in the Charlton camp, and couples this with the action from local team Leamington. Surreal canine match reports too!

Addicks Fotopages
Pictures from every home game - well actually, the pub before every home game, and the away fans who have been welcomed in to pose. A nice change as the images mean more than the words.

Build a Bonfire
A blog that lived between the start of 2004 and the end of 2005; possibly now deceased?

South Londons Finest
Another possibly dead blog; six months was enough time for this fan to shoot the breeze.

Or sometimes called Talk CAFC, this site is also intermittent, and may be a variance on Valley Floyd James previous incarnation (see below).

Valley Floyd James
The youthful James used to provide previews and match reports between his homework, but seems to have been banned by the parents from spending too long on the computer recently.

Charlton Life
This is the relatively new all-singing-all-dancing premiere blog about Charlton – by the fans for the fans. Several new contributors, each with hard hitting opinion – extremely well presented, it’s where we would all like to be if we could design our own sites.

Madrid Nights
The other Spanish Charlton blog. Match reports and opinion when viewed from southern Europe.

Missed Goals and Empty Glasses
Occasional ramblings through the bottom of a beer glass – sometimes Charlton get a mention.

The King of Sweden
Warm and witty with the odd Charlton piece thrown in for good luck.

Opinion on Charlton from the other side of the world – Indonesia in fact. TV tinted opinion, but with an edge.

Dutch Addick
A nice sight with previews and reports, and not a clog in sight.

The wonderfully artistic Leaburns Shins is a dab hand at the drawing, so we get to see his take on how gorgeous Luke Young is, and how ugly Iain Dowie is…

Reet Smoot
An old hand – Reet lets rip with his Charlton opinion every now and then.

And no Charlton links blog would be complete without the "bible" site that holds us all together - Forever Charlton
Keep up the great work Dave!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Why is Steve McLaren scared of taking off his so-called superstars when they are playing badly?

We saw enough on Saturday, and it was repeated again this evening. Frank Lampard - awful game. Substituted? No chance! Michael Carrick? If they called Ray Wilkins the crab, then Carrick is a lobster! Yet he still had 180 minutes from the two games. Rooney is off form - everyone knows this, yet McLaren kept him on the pitch when his general play was very poor.

I think McLaren has bowed to player-power in the teams he has picked recently, and then been too scared to change things in a positive manner when it all goes pear shaped. The three late substitutions today made it obvious that he knew that the 3-5-2 formation was an error. He switched back to 4-4-2 at that poiint, yet would it not have been more adventurous (when 2-0 down) to have played Richardson and Wright-Phillips in place of the anonymous Neville and injured Cole? Of course not - he couldn't take these two players off! That might have upset them!!!

And why when the team is crying out for pace up front does he continue to let the forward who has bundles of it, and who, by the way, is the top scoring Englishman in the Premiership, sit on the bench gathering splinters? Darren Bent - England needs you!

I hoped that McLaren was going to breathe fresh air into the England set up after Sven's departure, but the man who succesfully played 2-4-4 when Boro needed goals in Europe last season seems to be genuinely scared of changing things in a positive manner and risk upsetting his "big team" megastars.

Come on Steve - get a grip and start putting out teams that will win. If you don't, you will go the same way that Taylor, Erickson, Venables and co went before you - ripped to shreds by the media!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Bent in!

Darren Bent has made it into the England squad after all. His main competition for a place on the bench next weekend has withdrawn through injury allowing Dazza a chance to win more caps. Of course, if he does get onto the pitch in one of the World Cup qualifiers, Charlton will have to pay additional transfer fees to Ipswich as part of the original transfer agreement. Now if only Gary Neville could pick up some strain or another, we can have two players in the squad...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Season starts now...

Charlton Athletic 1 Arsenal 2

Predictably, Charlton lost at home to Arsenal yesterday, and moved to the foot of the Premiership table for the first time. As others have forecast, the start to the new season conjured up a series of tough games, and these have been made even harder by a few teams playing above their previous status (Villa, Pompey), playing the "big" teams (Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea) and by the horrendous list of injuries to the new signings that Iain Dowie made in the summer.

From here, things can only get better...

The defeat by Arsenal showed up some strengths, and some weaknesses.

The strengths
Darren Bent can score goals in the Premiership, even against the top sides...Andy Reid is a capable player too, but sometimes doesn't pick the easiest pass when open to him...Scott Carson is a fabulous goalkeeper...Luke Young is one of the best full backs in England...Amady Faye has what it takes to fufil the holding midfield position that Charlton have lacked for several seasons.

The weaknesses
Jon Fortune isn't good enough for this league (if he had tracked closer to Henry prior the the first van Persie goal, he could possibly have prevented Henry turning)...Bryan Hughes is very limited...Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is not as mobile as he once was and also not as sharp.

Bearing in mind the above, when the injured players return they should be able to slot in and fill many of the positions that we have weaknesses in currently - Diawara for Fortune, and Pouso for Hughes are obvious examples. Who can replace Jimmy Floyd though is a problem, as Marcus Bent, and Kevin Lisbie have both had chances before and been found wanting.

With Traore and Sorondo also set to return in a few weeks, the defence will be strengthened soon. Jerome Thomas and Darren Ambrose are also getting back near full fitness, and Lloyd Sam and Simon Walton (when he returns form Ipswich in January) will also help make Dowie's squad stronger. Dennis Rommedahl and Amady Faye will also have recovered from recent knocks/strains by the next match too hopefully.

It's not all doom and gloom; we can't get any lower, and the international break, with some key players not being involved - what has McLaren got against Charlton players??? - it should be a time for bonding and tactical adjustment.

By the time we get to Craven Cottage in a couple of weeks, this Charlton side will know that they have to produce, as failure to do so will lead to a long, cold, winter of discontent on and off the pitch.

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