Friday, April 13, 2007

Going Good at Goodison?

It may be Grand National weekend, but Charlton face a stiffer hurdle than the Aintree course if they are to get anything from the match against Everton on Sunday.

A 6-game unbeaten run may be in the bank, but Everton are one of the form teams in the Premiership at this time, and anything point-wise from this game will be a betting bonus.

Alan Pardew’s team shouldn’t roll over or fall at the first fence though; even against the better teams in this league, he has them organised and able to compete, even if we do not have the utmost skill to create enough to hurt well-organised defences.

Everton have a solid defence (is Gary Neigh-Smith playing?), a combative midfield, and a forward line that has options of height and pace and youth, plus good finishing ability - they are no donkeys and will be short odds to beat the Addicks.

This is the side I expect Alan Pardew to ride out on Sunday afternoon –

Scott Carson
Luke Young
Talal El Karkouri
Souleymane Diawara
Ben Thatcher
Alexandre Song
Matt Holland
Jerome Thomas
Darren Ambrose
Zheng Zhi
Darren Bent

Subs from Randolph, Bougherra, Faye, Hughes, Rommedahl, Lisbie, and anyone else who is fit.

From the way that they both left the field last Monday, it looks doubtful if old nags Hreidarsson or Marcus Bent will be fit this weekend. Luckily, Thatcher is back to fitness at just the right time to replace Hermann, and big Benty seems to have lost some of his on-field zip since he hooked his stirrups onto Teddy’s filly, and will not be missed as much as he might.

Hopefully I’ll be able to listen to some of the commentary on the radio, as I’ll be in transit (stuck on trains/buses) during the whole game.

My one-to-watch this match is going to be Scottt Carson (left). Scotty returns to Merseyside as a Charlton player for the first and probably last time, and no doubt he will be aiming to put the stick he will receive as a ‘Pool player right back whence it came. If Charlton are to get anything from this match, Carson will need to play a blinder.

Pedro45’s score forecast is a 2-0 defeat. I hope the blinkers mean I’m wrong but the clean sheets have to end sometime, and the lack of goals is starting to become a worry (even though Dazza is back playing quite well and looking sharper than for some time).

I guess that if we can hold them in midfield, be solid at the back, cope with the pace that will inevitably mean the referee is under pressure to give fouls, and somehow have enough possession to get the collective breath back, then we could be smiling during our Sunday tea and get a lump of sugar as reward.

This Pardew-inspired Charlton team keep amazing us; when we bloggers all wrote about the certainty of relegation back in January, little did we know that come mid-April we would be out of the bottom three. Of course, if results go against us we could be back in there again by the time we kick off on Sunday, but at least we have some hope now.

The last five games of the season require more effort, from everyone, than the last six games have - the run in is long and hard. If we see that effort, we might, just might, finish up in the right league next season and not the knackers yard. At least we still have hope (and not just about getting a free season ticket!) and that is something after this season of change.

Come on you reds!

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