Sunday, December 31, 2006

Arsenal preview

Happy New Year! 2007 promises to be an interesting year for Charlton, but it’s also an opportune time perhaps to remember that it’s only a game of football and there are more important things in life (like getting drunk tonight).

Our first game in 2007 will be against Arsenal, a regular opponent at this time of year, the memory of a 2001 victory at the Valley courtesy of a Dean Kiely penalty save from Nelson Vivas, a particularly vivid one. Their defeat at Sheffield United was painful enough, but now I fear the double-whammy of a stylish Gunners side with a point to prove on Tuesday.

The mini-revival under Alan Pardew has been timely, and hopefully silences the tiny minority of fans that felt things would improve if only Les Reed had more time and his own players. Whilst not seeking to get carried away, it has been achieved without our most creative player (Reid) whose swift return will be very welcome.

January meanwhile promises to be exciting for us in the transfer market, and it would be reassuring if the implied early-month action revealed itself with some quick new blood in the wake of Zheng Zhi (for whom a visit to the Emirates has surely come too soon). Pardew does not suffer fools gladly and it would not be a surprise to see Hasselbaink, Diawara and Pouso making a swift exit, though I might perhaps be alone in bemoaning a departure of the Senagalese defender who has shown enough to warrant more time in my view.

That victory for Sheffield United put our survival challenge back a couple of points, but I continue to believe our best hope remains a six club scramble for 17th place rather than hoping that just one other team joins the South-East trio of Charlton/West Ham/Watford in the mire. Hence in a slightly perverse way we should for now root for the Hammers and the Hornets when playing any of Man City/'Boro/Sheff Utd/Wigan. So long as Charlton rack up the required wins (which is a given if we are to maintain survival hopes), then this will be our best hope.

Few of the 2,900 Addicks at the Emirates will be expecting an Addicks victory, and if reports are to be believed, they shouldn’t be expecting a swift exit from the stadium either. It is undeniably impressive from the TV pictures but from a logistical perspective, building a new 60,000 stadium in the middle of densely-populated Islington makes as much sense now as it did at the planning stage.

However, Arsenal are weakened by injuries to key players and ten points already conceded at home suggests a degree of vulnerability. My main concern is that we approach the game in the right frame of mind, allow Arsenal to play their fancy football until the final third but then defend like lions and perhaps nick something on the break. Too many times over the past couple of years have we approached fixtures like this with a defeatist attitude.

Derek ‘Killer’ Hales has not yet delivered his first verdict of 2007 (KillerWatch© -£501) though it is apt surely that his cumulative losses of £501 coincide with the most important week of the darts calendar. Bryan Hughes’ late winner denied me a third correct score forecast in four Premiership matches, and whilst I am confident we will approach the game with the aforementioned right attitude, I cannot see us taking anything from the game. NY Addick predicts Arsenal 3 (Van Persie 2, Baptista), Charlton 0.


At 1:08 AM, Blogger Ken J said...

Happy new Year, NYA.

At 2:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy New Year NYA,

I am off to see the MIGHTY ADDICKS on Tuesday but I am hoping that a poor Arsenal will show followed by an awesome away performance by Pards Red army...

so worst case Arsenal 1-0...

but glass half empty ??? 0-0

however glass half full .. 0-1


Happy New year!


At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You would not be alone in being disappointed should Diawara leave, I think he shows promise....

It highlights however the failings of Dowie, who brought in developmental type players, rather than proven and ready players...

At 12:12 PM, Blogger worcestershireleaburn said...

How about the 4-2 win at Highbury a couple of seasons ago? We can get something from this game, given our new steely resolve, a bit of luck, and Arsenal's long injury list. Come on you Reds!


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