Saturday, December 27, 2008


I suppose, in this short preview, I shouldn’t write much of a Charlton related expectation into this tough Sunday game, coming on the back of a hard fought draw at home on Boxing Day. But then, Sheffield United also had a tough game on the same day, and both teams have equal time to recover.

The likelihood is that the Blades will expect three points against the leagues bottom team, and will hope to score a bunch to balance the five they got at the Valley in Alan Pardew’s last match as manager.

Since then of course, Phil Parkinson has changed quiet a few things: out of the side have gone Nicky Weaver, Yassin Moutaouakil, Kelly Youga, Matt Holland, and Linvoy Primus, and in have come Rob Elliott, Martin Crainie, Jonathan Fortune, and Jay McEveley, plus Martyn Waghorn (who did briefly appear as a sub in that home game).

The tactics have changed too, from 4-5-1 to a consistent 4-4-2, so it will be good to see how we match up.

Recently on-loan Keith Gillespie has gone back to United, so I’m sure he will bring them up-to-date with the likely team and tactics, but the good thing is that this seems to have given confidence to Lloyd Sam as he has little threat to his place in the side at present.

Of course, we don’t know if any injuries picked up against QPR will fail to heal in time from Sundays game (for instance, Hudson took a couple of knocks, as did Waghorn), but barring these, this is the side I would expect to carry on the resurgence in form shown in the second half at The Valley –

Rob Eliott
Martin Crainie
Mark Hudson
Jonathan Fortune
Jay McEveley
Jose Semedo
Nicky Bailey
Lloyd Sam
Hameur Bouazza
Andy Gray
Maryn Waghorn

Subs from Weaver, Moutaouakil, Youga, Basey, Wright, Shelvey, Holland, Dickson, McLeod, Todorov, Burton.

My one-to-watch in this game is going to be Hameur Bouazza; he was so good in November, but at times since then he has just become one hell of a frustrating player. He is quick, has a good shot, can cross, and links well with McEveley, but sometimes he just turns off. When dis-interested, his play is sloppy, lacks effort, shows poor decision making, and is just plain frustrating. I’m hoping that the fine effort from Sam on the opposite wing on Boxing Day will gee him up to start producing what we know he is capable of.

Pedro45 has to make a score prediction, and bearing in mind that every positive result this season has been followed by a defeat, I’m not sure that this game will see a change to that sequence, much as I would wish it. I predict a 2-0 reversal with both teams a little tired meaning that United do not force home their superiority too much. I'd love to be proved wrong, but I fear that it will take a change of year before we see any chance of a victory.

This prediction, if it is proved correct, would see Charlton equal their previous worst ever sequence of results – 16 games without a win in 1955. In 2009, the home games against Norwich (in the cup) and Forest in the league a week after, will provide the best chances of breaking this sequence, and for Parky to hang onto his job as manager. That is, of course, if Sheffield United do not get to see two Charlton managers sacked after results against them this year!

Up the Addicks!

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