Thursday, April 05, 2007

Resurrection to continue at Easter?

Will it be a Good Friday? Let’s hope so. Charlton travel north to take on Manchester City tomorrow buoyant after back-to-back wins. Now just a single point behind Sheffield United, anything but a defeat will take Charlton out of the relegation zone.

Can we do it – yes we can!

The injuries, which potentially would have hit the Addicks hard in March, are now slowly clearing up: Ben Thatcher is almost fit and could play; Hermann Hreidarsson’s knee (left) is hanging in there; Madjid Bougherra is fit again; Alexandre Song played last week, and will now be fitter still; Darren Ambrose made a cameo appearance against Wigan, and he should be fitter now; Marcus Bent played 45 minutes against Wigan with no obvious effects; and crucially, Darren Bent is being nursed through his knee problems and (touch wood) it doesn’t seem to be getting any worse.

With two games over the Easter weekend, Alan Pardew may have to be careful with some of the above players, rest players through substitutions, or give them just one game each, but he does seem to have enough cover in most positions now to cope.

City have been through a rough patch themselves in 2007, but seem to have emerged from the bad times with a couple of recent wins. Stuart Pearce was favourite to be sacked just last month, leaving him plenty of time to manage the England Under-21’s, but now seems to have settled the matter by steering City up the table a little. A defeat tomorrow though would plunge them back into the dog-fight that is developing down the bottom.

The recent winning runs by Charlton and West Ham have concertina-d the bottom of the table, and now several other clubs are anxiously looking at fixtures lists and worrying if there points total is going to be enough. Villa, Middlesboro, Fulham and Newcastle could all suffer if they have particularly bad runs (a la Charlton over the last five years or so!), but Wigan and Sheffield United are the clubs most in danger of losing out in the relegation race to one or more of the current bottom three.

All of us can ponder the fixtures, write down who we think will win each game, work out the points totals, decide if 40-points, 38-points, or even less will be enough to see Charlton (and other teams) survive. My own (overly pessimistic) view is that at least three teams will fail to get more than 35 points; that reasoning does tend to rely on a number of draws where teams involved in the battle (like Charlton and Manchester City tomorrow) meet each other, so it is flawed if teams start to win…

Hopefully, Charlton will be one of the teams that can get past that 35-point barrier; that would make me very happy!

Pards team for Eastlands?

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

Subs from – Randolph, Bougherra, Sankofa, Thatcher, Faye, Rommedahl, Bent (M), Lisbie.

My one-to-watch tomorrow is going to be Alexandre Song (left). The youngster will need to force himself onto games like this, and be combative when facing Barton etc. If we can win the midfield battle, then the victories come too (see Newcastle, Wigan, Portsmouth, etc). Song played well at Watford, but was a little off the pace last Saturday, and gave the ball away a couple of times when he shouldn’t have; now hopefully completely fit, we need the young Cameroonian to show his potential and be at his best, and hit the runs of colleagues with his accurate passes.

Pedro45’s score prediction is a banged on 0-0 draw. Both teams defences have been a lot more solid over the last month, and I just cannot see many, or any, goals coming. Much as it would be nice to see Nicky Weaver bending over to pick the ball out of the back of the net (another) four times, I’m not sure that either team will want too open a game. City would probably settle for a point, and I think Pards will too.

Mind you, the last time Charlton won any games on the bounce, the sequence was actually four games long, and wouldn’t it be fantastic to do the same once more at the back end of this season!
Come on you reds!

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up the addicks!
Course we can do doubt
It's all in the mind.

If we believe we can, we will!
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