Friday, April 11, 2008

Southampton preview

Charlton's season has not left much to say, which partly explains the infrequency of my posts recently. We fight on to the end of course, but the overwhelming sense is one of an opportunity lost, not least given that we are still amazingly just ten points from top spot.

However that relatively narrow gap (at least when viewed in the context of our form since Xmas), should not blind us from the true size of the challenge awaits us next season, almost certainly in the Championship.

If one views the 2007/08 Championship as being an outlier in terms of its compactness, then we may well have an additional 20 points to find next season if we are to go straight up at the second attempt. With little net new money available for transfers, Pardew's (admirable) policy of buying players with potential, rather than fading Premiership stars, will be genuinely tested.

A glance at the bottom six in the table makes for grim reading, not only for tomorrow's visitors Southampton, but also as an example of what can go wrong for formerly 'stable' Premiership clubs.

Just above the avowed minnows of Colchester and Scunthorpe (albeit collectors of 8 points from Charlton this season), sit Leicester, Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton and Coventry. Each has had well-publicised financial problems, and whilst one has been led to believe Charlton is on a firmer footing, the inherent leverage within a declining football club can be devastating.

Saints fans will drown the Jimmy Seed Stand in a sea of yellow, the colour of cowardice. If Charlton's own attempts to drum up extra special away support are anything to go by, three points are assured for the Addicks. The most recent two performances at Blackburn and Middlesbrough respectively were a shambles.

After countless tactical and selection changes, Pards stumbled across a winning formula at Plymouth.....the tried and tested Halford and Thatcher at full-back, three ball-winners in midfield, and an old-fashioned 'little and large' partnership upfront. Each might reasonably be described as a retrograde step, but as ten years under Curbs proved, sometimes the best risks are the ones you don't take.

I expect Pards to line up as follows: Elliot, Halford, Thatcher, McCarthy, Bougherra, Cook, Semedo, Holland, Zheng, Iwelumo, Lita. Subs: Randolph, Fortune, Ambrose, Varney, Gray.

NY Addick predicts Charlton 2 (Lita, Zheng), Southampton 0. Att: 24, 810


At 2:57 AM, Anonymous SLC Red said...

I travelled my usual 6000 miles for the Wolves game and we were beaten by a better team. Nerves are to blame though we were twice as good when Thomas went off. Cook is a revelation - superb winger full of energy and guile and a lesson to Thomas that will surely be taken. Lita started to shine before the end and I'm ever so pleased that he's found his place at last. I went through the BBC chart on Tuesday filling in the results and we took the last playoff position. We won all our games but I gave realistic results to the opposition. We can but hope. My son and I predicted 2-0 (Lita, Zheng) a couple of days ago so I'm pleased you concur!


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