Friday, August 10, 2007

Scunthorpe preview

When the opening day fixtures were announced in June, we were not merely brought down to earth following our relegation, but plunged into it and then repeatedly pummelled until the message was received.....we're a Football League club.

Less than three months ago we almost beat the Champions League runners-up on their territory. Only three of the players who started the game are likely to be involved on Saturday (Bougherra, Ambrose, Thatcher), such has been the transformation during the summer.

When I wrote these types of previews last season, I could usually say something reasonably intelligent about our opponents and how they would approach the game, but I cannot even name a single Scunthorpe player (especially now that Billy Sharp has left). Given that they wear claret and blue, perhaps we can just sit back and pretend they're Aston Villa and imagine last season never happened.

Our summer transfer targets have generally been intelligently identified, and the logic behind each can be fully understood. The same applies to the players sold or released. Although we should mount a very solid promotion campaign, nothing is guaranteed and hence the decision to build a largely young and hungry squad will hold us in good stead. The total fees paid for Varney, Moutouakil, Zheng, McLeod, McCarthy and Sinclair are swamped by the Darren Bent proceeds, let alone the extra cash received for Young, Diawara, and Rommedahl.

In my view, Pardew's biggest selection headache both tomorrow and going forward, revolve around how best to use the talents of Thomas, Reid, Ambrose and Zheng without upsetting the balance of the side. With Semedo surely set to start in the holding midfield role, I suspect he will seek to utilise the delicate creativity of both Ambrose and Reid, and will compromise by adding some steel in the centre via Amdy Faye.

The back four looks pretty well set up (although I would prefer to see Chris Powell at left-back), whilst up front I would expect McLeod to accompany Todorov, with Iwelumo's height reserved as a substitute option either defensively or offensively as the game goes on. Hence I would expect us to line up as follows: Weaver, Moutouakil, Thatcher, Bougherra, McCarthy, Reid, Semedo, Ambrose, Faye, Todorov, McLeod. Subs: Randolph, Fortune, Powell, Sinclair, Iwelumo.

Nothing will be decided tomorrow, but it offers an early chance to send a warning signal to the rest of the division that Charlton mean business. Despite the ignominy of following up a trip to Anfield with a home fixture against Scunthorpe, I cannot deny that I am approaching tomorrow's game with a frisson of excitement, not felt probably since the start of 2000/01. It will be the first opening day fixture I've attended since Manchester City turned us over in Aug 2003. NY Addick predicts: Charlton 3 (McLeod 2, Todorov), Scunthorpe 0. Att: 22,644


At 11:18 AM, Anonymous BillericayDickie said...

I too am excited about tomorrow. It is a start of a fresh challenge. Pards has brought in his own players who would appear hungry for sucess. This is in contrast to the overpaid crap that Dowie landed us with last season.

Hopefully we should soon start to see some wins, some goals and at long long last some exciement. Isn't it better to be a big fish in a smaller pond than a minnow in the big pond?

For the first time in god's know how long I am actually looking forward to tomorrows game. Hopefuly relegation will prove to be blessing in disguise.

At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

McLeod won't start this one, but might still get two goals!

I don't like Reid playing on the wing - he doesn't stay there, at that was shown against Braga last week. Would like to see Sam start this one with Semedo in the centre and either Zizi or Reid more central like, and then Ambrose on the other wing.

At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BBC Sport verdict: Relegation produced the inevitable cull and of the three relegated teams Charlton may find it hardest to come to terms with the peculiar, physical challenge of the Championship as new faces bed in.

Key man: Svetoslav Todorov

They really don't know much about football the BBC, do they?


Post a Comment

<< Home