Thursday, March 20, 2008

WBA Preview

Having managed somehow to maintain a play-off place despite stuttering form since late-November, the gravitational pull of mid-table has finally sucked us down. I've desperately tried to remain optimistic about our chances, but just 4 wins in our last 18 matches tells its own story.

Some will point out that this disappointing spell of form began when Andy Reid last wore a Charlton shirt (ironically against tomorrow's opponents). But does that really tell the full story? A quick scan of the apparent talent available to Pards suggests not, and would do a disservice to Reid's genuine but ultimately flawed ability.

So where does the blame lay? Perhaps we all simply had unrealistic expectations (me very obviously included), and that this season is merely setting the foundations for a medium-term building process. Certainly whilst achieving promotion from here is an unlikely prospect at this point, I see no great reason for abject pessimism. The core of our team is young, currently underperforming, but will surely only improve.

I am concerned however that a number of our players lack the hunger required to go to say Turf Moor on a miserable Tuesday night, and dig in for a result. Consider for example that fully nine of our starting eleven that night have played Premiership football before. One would hope that professional pride would be motivation enough, but who believes that anymore?

Pards will doubtless come under pressure from some quarters if our season continues to fade away, but we need to allow him to finish what he has started at The Valley. Consider the sheer number of players currently out on loan in the lower divisions; if just a couple return with the spark of Kelly Youga, then we really could be onto something. Not all of his transfer signings have paid off meanwhile, but the likes of Varney, Gray and Moutaouakil have plenty of potential. Injuries to the likes of Todorov and Bougherra just as they were coming into form meanwhile have not helped in the slightest.

On the back of three defeats, most fans might have preferred relegation fodder to be visiting The Valley rather than high-flying WBA. However it is precisely those types of games that we have squandered valuable points in, so I don't resent the visit of the Baggies, not withstanding our failure to beat them in three previous meetings this season. Sixth place remains a possibility, but it's no longer in our hands. Let the players just relax now and see what happens.

Some of Pardew's team selections in recent weeks have been a little baffling. Fans don't know as much as the manager (nor as much as they like to think), but equally they can see from bitter experience for example that Ambrose is not a wide player, or that Lita is not well-suited to playing as a lone frontman etc. etc.. Let's get back to basics in a classic 4-4-2: Weaver, Moutaouakil, Youga, Sodje, McCarthy, Cook, Holland, Zheng, Sinclair, Gray, Lita.

NY Addick predicts: Charlton 2 (Lita, Cook), WBA 0. Att: 24, 108.

2 Comments:

At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The teams in the running were all established teams last year-and some of them success has flowed into this season.We came through significant change, but perhaps haven't a established a strong spine or stomach in this league.
Lets not give up until the maths says so
Come on you reds

 
At 2:04 PM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

Think I may have to disagree on the potential of Gray NYA. 30 years old, 10 clubs - has he really looked like scoring in what we have seen or heard so far?

 

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