Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hornets Nest

It was a bonus to watch this game relatively painlessly on the web, but overall the point gained was disappointing, although not surprising given our lack of killer instinct throughout.

As I suggested, Chris Iwelumo was brought back into the fray, and one wonders if we will see Izale McLeod again in a red shirt this campaign. He would seem perfectly suited to a rest-of-season loan in the lower divisions, and one imagines he won't be short of offers given his record there.

We generally controlled the game in shocking conditions, but virtually all of our best chances fell to Darren Ambrose whose body language screams lack of confidence. His celebrations following his fortuitous equaliser were euphoric, tinged no doubt with relief. He truly is an enigma.

It was pleasing to see our two exciting young full-backs, and whilst neither had an outstanding game, they give teams something new to worry about when going forward. Charlton fans will hope they are happy at the club and in the country, because with a combined fee of £400k, they represent outstanding value.

The other results in the Championship were interesting, and pleasingly there is a hint that the top six might just be pulling away, perhaps removing that primal fear that we could finish below 6th, allowing us to relax and seek 2nd or better.

We are now below Crystal Palace, but let's give credit to Neil Warnock whose miracle-working must have Sheffield United fans furious with their Board. Before we played the Blades in November, I wrote that, "...he is probably a far more accomplished manager than most neutrals give him credit for." Incidentally, I also voted him as my most 'unfairly maligned individual' at the end of last season. Hence Palace's form does not surprise me at least.

Although most Addicks will have seen today's game live or on the box, I will offer here my player ratings, if only because I don't get to do it much these days:

Weaver 6 - had little to do which emphasises our dominance; faultless for the goal

Moutaouakil 6 - tried to get forward wherever possible, albeit without success; what potential though

Youga 6 - got into a great late-first half attacking position; worryingly casual at times

McCarthy 8 - excellent throughout; why has it taken Pards so long to realise what he brings?

Bougherra 7 - not great for their goal, but generally solid; unfairly cited in the Davenport incident

Sam 5 - missed a great first-half chance, and did not test their full-back enough; does he have the hunger to succeed?

Holland 7 - it has taken me a while to fully appreciate what he brings to the team, but drove us on today

Zheng 6 - not his most fulfiling afternoon, but fabulous attitude as always; no wonder China's taking over the world

Ambrose 6 - enigmatic, but let's give him credit for creating the openings in the first place

Varney 6 - took over more channels than Rupert Murdoch; his tireless effort will see him come good for us

Iwelumo 6 - full of heart as always, ableit within his limited talents; Gray will offer more options
Gray 7 - plenty of promise in just a brief cameo; looks a bit like Andy Hunt which is promising

Dickson 7 - sparky livewire and unlucky not to score; has the potential to be a Valley hero given the chance

Fortune - came on with seconds left


At 8:27 AM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

McCarthy looked awful at the beginning of the season, now he is completely transformed. He seems to have experienced the footballing equivalent of being 'born again'.

At 8:40 PM, Anonymous steveb said...

While I agree with most of your ratings, I think you're being very generous to our central defenders & especially McCarthy.

His performance was more to do with Watfords lack of quality & their reliance on long balls into the box. McCarthy has always looked ok dealing with high balls but is lacking when dealing with stuff played on the ground. He has come unstuck numerous times when one on one in the box eg Lisbie.

Bougherra positional sense let him down again on Saturday when he found himself sucked across, leaving Ellington on his own.

Agree with your comments on Gray whose first touch looked much better than Iwelumo's & hopefully he will improve our goal tally, both directly & with assists. We need to score more goals as I can't see us keeping many clean sheets.

I always enjoy your articles & I hope your assessment of McCarthy turns out to be better than mine.

At 5:25 PM, Anonymous noel said...

I think it is encouraging that Pards has had the foresight to stick Magic and McCarthy together and give them a run of games to gel, and I think we're seeing the benefit of that now. He looks a different player and Magic seems to have cut out most of his 'luxury' moments that were liable to come unstuck (the build-up to Lisbie's first goal when he was dispossesed on the half-way line come to mind). Of course we will concede here and there, but it feels a lot more secure to me. Youga, for all his dash on the ball, looks to need a little more work on his defensive qualities..Smith gave him a bit of a runaround I thought, maybe that is also the result of having Ambrose as his 'support' tho. I'm in the Inspector Sands camp on Ambrose however. He's getting into his stride, and if he gets 3 or 4 pots at goal in a game he's going to get goals - it's nice seeing us not attempt to walk the ball into the net all the time too....

At 12:49 AM, Anonymous servotron said...

This was re-played on Setanta here in the states... the FIRST time I've had the chance to see an Addicks game yet this season. Glad I got to! I see positive signs from the boys, I look forward to the playoffs or better!


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