Saturday, April 21, 2007

Deflation

When the fourth official indicated five minutes of additional time, rather than be excited about the possibility of pumping a few more hopeful balls forward, I was more concerned that we might blow the single point we had barely deserved.

Whether it was due to the over-hyped build-up to the game, or the warm temperatures, Charlton ultimately put up a flat and uninspiring performance. Pardew's positive nature might point to the point gained over Wigan today, but the reality is that West Ham gained two on us (implying finishing above Wigan might still not be enough), whilst Sheffield United and Fulham remain two and three points away respectively, with three very tough fixtures for us still to come.

Pardew's starting eleven implied plenty of attacking intent, but our inability to maintain possession and play passing football rendered 'Plan A' worthless. Hence, by the time Hreidarsson was thrust forward as a makeshift striker in the final minutes, it was clear that we were seeking three points by brute force as opposed to guile. One could point to a disappointing performance by Song, or perhaps the fact that Ambrose and Zheng appeared unclear exactly what roles they were supposed to be undertaking, but if we're honest the truth might simply be that the present crop of players is just not good enough, despite all of Pardew's best efforts.

However having taken the lead thanks to a wicked deflection, it was very deflating to concede such a soft equaliser. For the second weekend running, poor decision-making by Ben Thatcher permitted Jon Stead a route to goal, and he finished with aplomb. In this era of millionaire footballers, it is galling to know that the likes of Thatcher are woefully unable to utilise their 'wrong foot' to intercept a simple through ball, preferring to over-compensate with his left foot and ultimately screwing it up.

Thousands of Addicks will head to Ewood Park next weekend, but the three points we so desperately need will need to be supplemented (even to the extent we managed to gain them) by at least three, and perhaps even four points from Spurs/Liverpool. The more optimistic fans might suggest that a sum total of four more points might just do it, but I can't see three teams finishing on 37 points or less.

With West Ham/Wigan/Sheff Utd guaranteed a combined total of at least four points due to their head-to-head fixtures, an extraordinary triumvirate of performances is now required. If we bow out of the Premiership then let's hope we've done it by throwing caution to the wind in the hunt for three unlikely victories. For those of us that loathe the idea of being 'happy to take a point', at least we now know draws we surely not be good enough.

Meanwhile, we should all be cheering on Liverpool against Chelsea on Wednesday, in the hope that a upcoming Champions League final leads them to rest players in their final Premiership game, assuming we still have hope by then. When you have to worry about Champions League semi-finals because of their effects on Charlton, you know you are teetering on the very brink.

2 Comments:

At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Nug said...

Spot on with your analysis NY, I think it really is a must-win game next week...how often have we said that this season? Anything less than 2 wins out of 3 and we've had it, although Fulham don't look like they'll be picking up too many points this season. Will enjoy the trip up to Ewood next week though, all this is better than mid-table mediocrity....I think.

 
At 11:32 PM, Blogger Ken Jennings said...

Perhaps too much larking about with 'bonding' exercises (which seemed odd to me with the season about over) got them a bit 'soft' but for some reason it was almost men against boys out there. Sheffield looked the fittest team.

Even before the final whistle, I realised our team is just not good enough and even if they do pull it off by some miracle (I've even started talking to God again) there will need to be some serious house cleaning.

The perennial problem of being way too lightweight in midfield was once again all too apparent.

As for Thatcher, he looked so awkward trying to get to that ball, I thought he was injured.

 

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