Friday, October 26, 2007

QPR Preview

Those Charlton fans seeking a scapegoat for our worrying loss of form, need look no further than me. Here is our Championship record for games that occurred whilst I was in the USA:

P6 W3 D3 L0 Pts 12

And here is our record for games that occurred whilst I was back in the UK:

P6 W2 D1 L3 Pts 7

You will be thus encouraged to learn that after tomorrow's game, I do not currently have plans to be back home until March at the earliest, and thus our promotion campaign can flourish again in my absence.

In a low-scoring sport like football, there is considerable scope for randomness to affect results, yet be interpreted otherwise. Consider for example that just three of Charlton's dozen Championship games this season have been settled by a margin of two goals or more. It is not surprising therefore that somewhat random occurrences like deflections, injuries and dodgy refereeing decisions can have a disproportionate impact on results.

In this context, it's vital therefore to isolate those factors that are not random (and can be improved upon) from those that are, but more importantly at least from my perspective, refrain from suggesting that plummeting from 2nd to 7th this week is cause for panic.

Here are some factors which, in my opinion, are reasonable for fans to question presently:

1. Have we become overly reliant on lazy long balls to Chris Iwelumo?
2. When will the £3.1m spent on Varney and McLeod be justified?
3. How we will cope without Todorov, our flexible striking talisman?
4. If Bougherra and Fortune continue to demonstrate a lack of leadership, what are our alternatives?
5. Despite his attributes, does it make sense to unbalance the side with Mills at left-back?
6. Does Andy Reid have to play centrally to get the best out of him?
7. Surely Darren Ambrose must offer something at this level, but what and how?

All reasonable questions in my view, but again they should be viewed in the context of what is essentially a brand new side. It was remarkable to note for example that of the 14 players who participated on Tuesday night, only three (Thomas, Reid, Fortune) were at the club a year ago. For this reason alone, we have plenty of scope for improvement, whilst some of our nearest competitors are surely playing to the very maximum of their potential.

In light of our current lack of confidence, the arrival of 24th placed QPR at The Valley ought to be viewed as a welcome chance to reassert our promotion credentials. Then again, those of us with long memories will recall a game at home to bottom-placed Swindon in 1999/2000 when our 12-game winning run ended in defeat thanks to a Dean Kiely screw-up.

Although it doesn't feel like it, QPR have now been outside the top flight for over a decade, another shining example of how quickly a club's fortunes and expectations can change post-relegation. Their caretaker manager Mick Harford was widely regarded as one of the hardest men in football, so his team will not lack for passion on Saturday.

It may not be a mere coincidence, but our recent run of one point from nine occurred during Lloyd Sam's suspension, which has now ended. He will surely return to the fray on the right. With Pardew unable to accommodate both Andy Reid and Jerome Thomas without the former returning to the centre, it will be interesting to see if he does indeed shift Reidy inside, perhaps offering Zheng a free role just behind Iwelumo. Indeed, as much as I like Zheng in central midfield, I think this is the role in which he is the most effective given his energy and finishing ability, but relative lack of creative flair.

In defence, it seems that Danny Mills impressed at left-back despite my reservations about the efficacy of this concept, so Moutaouakil will no doubt start again, with Sam Sodje surely pushing for a start in defence after four goals conceded in two games, probably in place of Bougherra. Thus I expect us to line up as follows:

Weaver, Moutaouakil, Mills, Sodje, Fortune, Semedo, Zheng, Reid, Thomas, Sam, Iwelumo. Subs: Randolph, Bougherra, Basey, Varney, McLeod.

I am looking forward to enjoying a pre-match meal with some fellow bloggers including Frankie Valley and Charlton North Downs, and whilst the mood might be a little sombre, a win will see us move back up to 3rd, an outcome most of would gladly have accepted in the summer.

NY Addick predicts Charlton 3 (Iwelumo, Zheng, Varney), QPR 0. Att: 21, 209.


At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear NYA,
I thought Mills coped very well on the LHS.Z-Z looks better further forward.We are using too many long balls to Chris I, considering what he did against Sh Weds with his feet.
Semedo looks like he could play a number of positions and says his natural position is in defence-so Sem central defence and give Racon a chance in midfield-he looks a good passer and shows good movement however we may lack abit of central midfield bite that way.
Who do you drop out of Fortune and Boug? I couldn't pick between them.
I think our wayward forwards can't fail against QPR.Enjoy!
David Whyte-Whyte-Whyte


Post a Comment

<< Home