Friday, April 20, 2007

Sheff Utd preview

"I, I wish you could swim,
Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim,
Though nothing,nothing will keep us together,
We can beat them, for ever and ever,
Oh we can be Heroes, just for one day."

The biggest Charlton game since May 1998? Definitely. The biggest game since May 1987? Almost certainly. How about the biggest since 1947 then?

The stakes are so much larger today than in 1998 for example - after all, having beaten Sunderland we returned to the same division just one season later, so what did we really gain other than the experience? The Leeds play-off game meanwhile might have seen the club disintegrate had we lost it, but then again by 1990 we were back in the second tier again (and still at Selhurst Park), so perhaps the club would have survived after all.

For the last time until the final day, all four of the candidates for 17th place (no disrespect to West Ham) are playing at the same time on the same day. Whether or not the latest scores from their games makes a difference to our approach, is the type of decision that Pards gets paid the big money for.

I have great faith in our manager and the team he has moulded in his image, but we must be realistic enough to realise that fortune always plays a key role in one-off matches. Having seen Sheffield United play against both West Ham and Man Utd, it is clear they are an honest and hard-working side, albeit lacking in flair. There were times that we appeared to be outmuscled by Reading for example, and we cannot afford to be intimidated.

Although he is beginning to frustrate a little, Zheng Zhi is the fulcrum about which the team's fluid formation can turn. Indeed his continued presence should permit both wingers to torment their full-backs, with Zheng able to support the lone striker or Song/Holland in midfield, depending on our risk tolerance at various points during the game. If one accepts that none of our fit central midfield options offers any creativity, then surely we need to maximise our options out wide in order to score goals? Three of our four goals against West Ham for example, were delivered from the flanks and although he played a key role that day, I would prefer Rommedahl to Ambrose on the right, with Thomas on the left.

It's unlikely to be pretty, but the referee Alan Wiley is arguably the best arbiter in the Premiership. Calm heads will be required on the Charlton side, and the fans too ought to be reminded that despite the enormity of the occasion, nothing will actually be decided at 5pm. A frenetic panicky atmosphere could conceivably harm our chances.

Derek 'Killer' Hales (KillerWatch© -£471) fancies either 1-0 or 2-1, though I will back a slightly more comfortable Addicks victory in a game marred by at least one red card. NY Addick predicts Charlton 2 (Bent D, Zheng), Sheff Utd 0. Att: 27, 108.


At 11:53 AM, Blogger Confidential Rick said...

NY whats with the picture of Lou Reed?

At 11:59 AM, Blogger New York Addick said...

Someone pointed out that whoever's photo I put in that top-left corner became cursed. Firstly Darren Bent (got injured), then Andy Reid (got injured) and then Alan Pardew (our form dipped). Hence by putting Uncle Les, I am hoping he and his Fulham team became cursed also. I will replace it with Paul Jewell or Neil Warnock at some point.


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