Friday, December 14, 2007

WBA Preview

When you consider that a win for Charlton by two goals or more will put us top of the table for the first time, it puts in perspective some of the suprisingly negative sentiment that still exists amongst supporters.

It will undoubtedly be a key test against the free-scoring Baggies, and the possibility of being brought firmly back to earth is not negligible. However, it will also give those more bullish fans amongst us (me included) a chance to repeat a theme I expect to return to several more times this season.....we're firmly in the promotion hunt with considerable scope for improvement.

A couple of friends here in New York are Baggies fans so there should be some healthy rivalry at an ungodly pub hour tomorrow. I've always had time for the Baggies to be honest, not least thanks to the generous standing ovation they gave our all-conquering 1999/2000 side on the last game of the season (grateful no doubt for the tame way we rolled over to assure them relegation safety). It's a shame Dean Kiely won't be in goal for them, because there's a true Valley hero if ever I saw one (and poorly treated too I might add).

Less pleasant memories of The Hawthorns for me (the highest ground in the country incidentally) include the FA Cup defeat in 1990, a tie played in a virtual monsoon which neutralised any implied advantage we ought to have had given our old Division One status at the time.

Our last visit there in 2005/6 saw a 2-1 win thanks to a Danny Murphy double, continuing our fine start to the season. That 4-5-1 formation with Bent at the pinnacle, the pace of Thomas and Rommedahl on the flanks, Murphy and Smertin in front of Kish as the holding midfielder had given us optimism (soon dashed) that we might mount a real European challenge.

Unfortunately we faded badly and Curbs was soon gone, but fast forward two years and we have stumbled across another 4-5-1 formation which seems to serve us equally well; let's hope this story ends better.

Despite Pards implying that he might revert back to a 4-4-2 given Lloyd Sam's suspension and doubts over Jerome Thomas, it seems illogical not to start with Darren Ambrose in the hole which he climbed out of with such effect last weekend. In order to accommodate this, I believe he will begin with Luke Varney on the right, with the obvious ability to revert back to 4-4-2 if the game demands it.

Let's hope that Ambrose has finally found the position in which he can shine. Given his obvious natural talents, finishing ability and inventiveness, it has been frustrating to watch him rarely fulfil his potential for us. Either way, the idea that he is a useful wide midfielder for us, or even outright winger, probably ought to be put to bed for good.

In defence, I am looking forward to the return of Yassin Moutaouakil on the right, whilst Madjid Bougherra can slot right in alongside Sam Sodje in a pairing which should ensure plenty of entertainment, hopefully of the flamboyant kind rather than the comical. If Chris Powell is unfit, Jose Semedo seems an obvious choice for left-back, a position he looked perfectly comfortable in during the second half versus Sheffield Wednesday.

In the meantime, one has to wonder about the rationale of having our own Kelly Youga impressing Iron fans at Scunthorpe, whilst we suffer an ongoing left-back crisis. Admittedly he would be suspended tomorrow anyway, but as the Yanks like to say, 'go figure'.

I expect us to line up as follows: Weaver, Moutaouakil, Powell, Sodje, Bougherra, Reid, Zheng, Holland, Ambrose, Varney, Iwelumo. Subs: Randolph, McCarthy, Semedo, Thomas, McLeod.

NY Addick predicts: WBA 6 (Gera 2, Greening 2, Miller 2), Charlton 1 (Ambrose). Att: 21, 208.

5 Comments:

At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kiely is out injured

 
At 4:36 PM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

Think NYA alludes to that.

I was at that Cup game. I can see the comical penalty and follow ups clearly now played out in front of us in the away end. The game should have never been played.

There were a lot of Addicks there that day though, many more sadly than will be at The Hawthorns tomorrow.

 
At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NYA
I was hoping yuo would predict another 6-1 reverse - seemed to do the trick last week!

 
At 8:36 PM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

Only too happy to oblige.

 
At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perfect - loved that e-mail post in the week btw!

 

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