Friday, May 11, 2007

The Last Dance...

Our final fling after seven seasons in the Premiership is an away game at Anfield. I’m sure some fans will take it as an opportunity to celebrate our relegation, much as we did back in 1990 at Old Trafford. A similar score (1-0 defeat) will be a good result.

We all, deep down, knew that things were looking bleak this season, especially after seven defeats in the first eight games (thanks Bolton by the way!). Spurs may have nailed the lid shut, but the coffin has been closed since Stead scored past Carson early in April...

Just as happened all those years ago, our opponents in the last game of the season have bigger and better things on their minds; not just a cup final against a Croydon-based team for the Scousers though. No, they are off to the Champions League final and a re-match with AC Milan.

Liverpool rested a lot of their team last week allowing Fulham the chance to get a win that kept them in the top league, so it will be interesting to see who Benitez puts out against us on Sunday. It may well be that his top stars need a game, as otherwise they would have gone three weeks between semi-final and final without breaking sweat.

Alan Pardew on the other hand has to decide who he should play – does he immediately look to the future and next season, or give a final game to many of those who won’t be hanging around for Championship football.

Definitely not playing is Scott Carson, who is not allowed under league rules to play against his contract holding team. This will allow either Darren Randolph to make his debut, or Thomas Myrhe to make a farewell in the goalkeepers shirt.

Also back and available will be Ben Thatcher, at left back, after his one game suspension through being sent off at Blackburn two weeks ago.

Apart from that, Pards has a pretty open book, barring niggly injuries to Hreidarsson, El Karkouri, Thomas, Darren Bent, Marcus Bent, etc.

This is the team I think our manager will send out before the Kop –

Darren Randolph
Luke Young
Talal El Karkouri
Souleymane Diawara
Ben Thatcher
Zheng Zhi
Alexandre Song
Matt Holland
Darren Ambrose
Marcus Bent
Darren Bent

Subs from – Myrhe, Hreidarsson, Faye, Hasselbaink, Thomas, Hughes, Lisbie, Sam.

I cannot see Rommerdahl being included after his media outburst, and would rather see Lloyd Sam out wide than any of the others who may jump ship in the near future.

My one-to-watch this Sunday will be Darren Bent; Dazza will be playing his last game for Charlton in my opinion. If he can sign off with a goal or three that would be fantastic. It would also add a few quid to his transfer value! He may well be playing against his next club too, so what better way to introduce himself to the Anfield regulars than by knocking the ball into the back of the net at the Kop end!

Pedro45’s score forecast is yet another defeat, I’ll go for 1-0 this time, in a repeat of our 1990 Old Trafford party. It would be lovely to go to Anfield and turn Liverpool over, but I don’t think that is possible, especially as the may have a few first-teamers out on the pitch.

We have had a very good seven years in the Premiership; lots of great games (Man Utd 3-3), glory days (Chelsea and Arsenal 4-2’s), fantastic players turning out for us (di Canio, Parker, Dazza, Deano, Murphy, etc etc), and against us (Keane, van Nistelrooy, Fowler, Owen, Shearer, Cole, Giggs, Gerrard, Henry, Vierra, etc etc), plus plenty of fun (too many times to mention!). It’s all over after Sunday, but the memories will linger on.

Next season, we will hanker after what we are missing, and it will be up to the club – management, fans, and players – to ensure that we get back to the top level so we can start to enjoy it all over again.

Come on the Darren's; Up the Addicks!

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