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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