Friday, May 11, 2007

Liverpool preview

It's a little late to be playing for pride. For far too many in the squad, 'pride' is just a word in their dictionary somewhere between 'Prada' and 'Prima donna.'

However whilst it's too late for pride, we still have one Premiership place still to play for, and the remote possibility that West Ham do end up having points deducted after all. But for that outcome to potentially have any consequence for us, we have the not insignificant challenge of overcoming Liverpool.

Only Manchester United have triumphed at Anfield, and incredibly Liverpool have conceded just five goals at home all season. It's the type of statistic which on the one hand helps to explain their disproportionate European success, whilst serving up new questions about their inability to recreate that form away from home, and thus genuinely mount a Premiership title campaign. Just six wins on the road is the same number achieved by Manchester City.

Not surprisingly, we have not sold out our away allocation, whilst it's probably also safe to presume that many Addicks who purchased tickets before the Spurs game, will recall the concept of 'sunk cost' and spare themselves a battle with the M1/M6 on a Sunday evening. And with £500,000 potentially at stake if we somehow manage a victory, there's every chance we will see the same type of tired looking line-up (which is probably enough to keep a few more of the faithful at home).

However one player who will presumably make his debut is Irish keeper, Darren Randolph. It reminds one of the time that young Lee Harmsworth was thrust between the posts on the final day in the early-1980s at Manchester City, conceding five goals in a game that was equally meaningless for the Addicks (albeit not for City). The next time I came across Harmsworth, he was playing for Dulwich Hamlet at Barnet, and given the typical recent career path of our homegrown 'talent', young Randolph might too be well advised to keep some souvenirs from Sunday.

All eyes however will rightly be upon the games at Old Trafford and Bramall Lane, with neutrals like myself now willing on the delicious possibility that Sheff Utd and Wigan could conspire to relegate the Hammers, if the Champions are winning comfortably. It's been correctly noted both here and elsewhere that West Ham will be the more formidable Championship rival, but the Tevez affair really rankles, and there's more important issues at stake here than our own promotion prospects next season. Don't be surprised to see 'Kenny (og)' on the scoresheet.

Derek 'Killer' Hales (KillerWatch© -£621) has yet to offer his betting recommendation (presumably for the final time), but I suspect it will be a cryptic 'greater than 3.5 goals' prediction, which in Killer-speak means we'll get hammered. And with a pre-Athens party atmosphere likely at Anfield, and Kop favourite Robbie Fowler probably making his final appearance for the Reds, I fear that young Darren Randolph will indeed be given a 'baptism of fire.' NY Addick predicts: Liverpool 5 (Fowler 2, Bellamy 2, Bougherra og), Charlton 0. Att: 44,822.

Ps - has anyone else wondered how Robbie Fowler managed to get into the photo above of our 1947 FA Cup celebrations?


At 2:24 PM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

That is definitely him - he has had a long career and started very young.

I do hope we are not stuffed tomorrow but I too can't see any other result.

At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Hamertime said...

May I ask why the Tevez affair 'really rankles'? Or have you merely been swept up in the media tide? The impropriety connected to the charges against us, are that a 3rd party could 'in theory' have influenced the decision to play Tevez or Mascherano. What the FA, and everyone else with their eyes open, will have seen is that there was no proof of MCI influencing team selection in anyway, the constant dropping of Mascherano and Tevez exemplifies this.

That clubs are not 'spitting feathers' over Manchester United's undoubted influence to ensure Tim Howard did not play against them and hence, lead them to winning the Premiership before playing Chelsea is beyond me. But all this talk of legal action against West Ham smacks of sour grapes to me.

At 2:56 PM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

It seems fairly clear that West Ham secured the services of two of the best players in the world through foul means. In short, they would not have been able to afford them (or more pertinently persuaded them to join) otherwise. One of these players has since gone on to secure >70% of the votes as WHU's Player of the Year.

If this wasn't the case, why did WHU feel the need to lie to the Premier League about the deal?

And then thanks to the case dragging on for so long (not WHU's fault of course), we are supposed to accept that a points deduction would be an unfair burden on the fans/club because it would guarantee relegation? It's a little like pleading on behalf of a murderer because he's got a wife and kids.

It's not sour grapes - neither player had any direct affect on our points total and we have been cr*p all season, but then again if we finish 18th we have genuine cause for complaint.


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