Thursday, April 09, 2009

Let's Feel The Love!

I went to see ABC at the Royal Albert Hall last night, and their performance of The Lexicon of Love album, with full (BBC Symphony) Orchestra was wonderful. This Saturday though, I doubt that such feelings will be on offer at The Valley, as Birmingham City bring their promotion chasing band-wagon to SE7.

Nothing less than three points will do for the Blue-noses, and their style of play offers less to the beautiful game than others who play more expansively. We can expect to see a combative type of play from the Blues, with Cameron Jerome bullying our central defence; with ex-Addict Lee Bowyer and Lee Carsley snarling and hassling our midfield; and with an uncompromising defence that includes the giant Tunisian Radhi Jaidi. No, there won’t be much love flying around with this lot in town. The danger man though may be an old Charlton nemesis – Kevin Phillips, who always seems to score against us…

Charlton do actually go in search of their first back-to-back wins for many a Valentine’s moon; last Saturday’s midfield inspired win at Southampton was most welcome, and I’m sure manager Phil Parkinson will be looking for much the same once more. The only bad thing to come out of that match was a number of bookings (four) plus Parky himself being sent off (top pic), which has led to an FA charge for him to answer. Of course, the two-goals conceded will bouy the opposition, if they need any help that is?

Althouugh, That Was Then But This Is Now, Parky is likely to send out much the same squad to try for a result in this game, and after explaining once again to the media that he has a preference for a five-man midfield due to the options at his disposal, I fully expect to see exactly the same starting eleven as that which played at St Mary’s.

The only changes may come on the bench, where Tamer Tuna has been added to the squad, although I think this will just be a good experience for him and it is unlikely that he will be given a seat in preference to either Svetislav Todorov, Deon Burton, or Chris Dickson. I’m sure that Parky will be hoping that his best players can get something in this match, and if they do, that the forward roll continues on Monday at Coventry. That is much more likely time to see changes to the squad and bench, as players who picked up injuries in this match fail to recover. Hopefully, no injury will be as bad - or look as worse - as that which Carsley inflicted on ex-Addick Chris Iwelumo on Monday, as Birmingham closed the gap on leaders Wolves, but I do expect City to give Charlton far less space in midfield than Southampton did last week, and where and when Charlton do have possession, we can expect swift firm tackles and plenty of SOS messages.

This is the team I expect Parkinson to name –

Rob Elliott
Danny Butterfield
Darren Ward
Mark Hudson
Kelly Youga
Therry Racon
Zheng Zhi
Nicky Bailey
Lloyd Sam
Jonjo Shelvey
Tresor Kandol

Subs from Randolph, Weaver, Moutaouakil, Solly, Holland, Basey, Spring, Arter, Ambrose, Wagstaff, Todorov, Dickson, Tuna, Burton.

Pedro45 does fear that Tears Are Not Enough for Charlton to get anything in this match, and predicts a 1-0 defeat; I just feel that the Blues may want it slightly more at this stage of the season. Of course, if the confidence gained last week continues, and if Shelvey, Racon, Bailey and ZiZi continue to dominate in central midfield, then we do have a slight chance. My concern is that our defence is not capable of holding what Birmingham can throw at us, whether that Poison Arrow comes from Jerome, or Phillips, or even another ex-Addick Hameur Bouazza; it does seem a long time again that he was actually playing on the left wing for Charlton, and the terms of his departure just a few months ago in January will mean he will not be expecting a warm welcome back to The Valley by Addicks fans.

My one-to-watch in this game is going to be Zheng Zhi; while others spent last week celebrating their goals, ZiZi (left) had his excellent second half shot saved, and was subbed with twenty minutes left to leave him goal-less in this match, even though he was playing well. I expect him to bounce back in this game, and show a potential Premiership side that he is their equal, in the hope that other top clubs are watching and will come with The Look of Love and a new contract offer that shows him How to Be a Millionaire.

I did pretty well last week, getting the team, subs and result forecast correct, and with my one-to-watch scoring - hopefully that will continue, but with the correct result!

My love affair with Charlton means that they do have All of My Heart (well, nearly all if Mrs Pedro45 is watching!); the chance to finish this appalling season on a high is still in the players and managements hands – another win coupled with other results (not least off the field concerning Southampton!) could have one or two people getting excited, even though most of us do accept that this season is one bound for the drop.

The love-in continues - Come on you reds!

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Maybe a little extra...isn't Lee Carsley serving the first of a three match ban?
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