Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cardiff preview

The vagaries of the fixture list ensure that we will take on Cardiff for the second time in a month, whilst we are yet to play either of our most feared promotion rivals, West Brom or Watford.

Others have tried to pinpoint what went wrong against Sheff Utd and Burnley, and from my perspective there's little I can meaningfully add, except to acknowledge that other results presented a great opportunity to have been top of the Championship right now. Defeats always hurt but it's worth remembering that 4 wins and 5 defeats, is still better than 9 draws, even though the latter would probably 'feel' less painful.

Pards has generally avoided much generalised criticism and rightly so, but now is a good time for him to really prove his worth. His focus right now should probably fall under three headings:

1. Sloppy goals
2. The Andy Reid conundrum
3. Iwelumo and who?

Having thought we had stumbled across a fabulous central defensive partnership, we concede six goals at home (albeit including two penalties for which they are blameless). Some general trends are worrying and all suggest a lack of concentration rather than technical deficiencies. Firstly, at home when we concede first, we tend to do so early on (eg. Plymouth, Burnley, Sheff Weds). Second, we've often conceded twice in quick succession (eg. Sheff Weds, Burnley, Colchester). Third, we've often condeded key goals shortly after scoring (eg. Barnsley, Hull, Scunthorpe).

Andy Reid is a vital player for us obviously, but we risk becoming overly reliant upon him, perhaps running the risk of playing 4-5-1 purely to get the best out of him. Unfortunately his lack of mobility makes it problematic to play him centrally in a 4-4-2, whilst out wide the game can pass him by. Given his additional commitments for Ireland, perhaps it's time for Pards to prove no-one is guaranteed a starting berth by resting him at Ninian Park?

Despite a scoring record that I find perfectly acceptable, Chris Iwelumo attracts his fair share of criticism on the message boards. Unfortunately when we lost Todorov to a season-long injury, we probably deprived the big frontman of his ideal partner, best exemplified when we took Sheffield Wednesday apart in the second half in August.

The pacy but raw alternatives (Varney and McLeod) have certainly not yet convinced, and raise possible question marks over Pardew's transfer market judgment given the amounts spent (although frankly, it's too soon to tell). With only the free-scoring but loaned out Chris Dickson or James Walker as possible 'traditional' alternatives, perhaps we may finally find that Darren Ambrose's best position is actually upfront (where I believe he began his career). I think management gurus call it, 'thinking outside of the box' (in this case, the penalty box).

Thus, whilst I expect anything but, I would like to see Pards start on Tuesday night with the following line-up: Weaver, Moutaouakil, Powell, Sodje, Fortune, Sam, Semedo, Zheng, Thomas, Iwelumo, Ambrose. Subs: Randolph, Bougherra, Holland, Reid, Varney.

NY Addick predicts Cardiff 1 (Hasselbaink), Charlton 2 (Ambrose 2). Att: 14, 201.


At 8:52 AM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

So why is Mills dropped?

At 4:10 PM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

I'm not a member of the "Danny Mills can do no wrong" Club I'm afraid. He was dire when I saw him against QPR, and I find his lack of discipline to be odd given his experience. Moreover we have an excellent replacement in Moutaouakil (and a better one in my view).


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