Sunday, July 25, 2010

Low Barnet

Underhill is a curious ground.

With its sloped pitch and seven different stands and terraces, it certainly can't be accused of being soulless.

Unfortunately with just one division separating the two clubs, they are the type of surroundings that Charlton may increasingly have to get used to (especially so based on this hopefully irrelevant performance).

After the disappointment of the World Cup, I dropped off my son and made the short journey from my parents' house with a frisson of excitement at the new team that Phil Parkinson is being forced to build.

An optimist might argue that it is potentially reminiscent of season 1985/86, when Lennie Lawrence signed the relatively unknown likes of John Pearson, George Shipley, John Humphrey and John Pender.

Barnet are undergoing a similar rebuilding process under former Gills boss Mark Stimson, so the relative stability of the opposition cannot be offered as a mitigating factor.

Parkinson selected a strong side, and gave seven players a full ninety minutes on a warm summer's day (Elliot, Dailly, Doherty, Solly, Semedo, Wagstaff, Bauza).

Conclusions based on a single non-competitive fixture can be taken largely with a pinch of salt, but here are a few:

- Christian Dailly's new contract is the best piece of business the club has executed so far;

- Dailly and Gary Doherty will lack pace but they are probably canny enough to avoid being done too often (the Scot is likely to play the deepest of the two);

- Chris Solly has potential but he needs to become a more intelligent player, not least given his lack of height (not that this has stopped the likes of Philipp Lahm becoming world class) - just because you can challenge for a header, doesn't imply that you always should;

- neither Solly nor Johnnie Jackson will be overlapping their pacier midfield counterparts very often - given the above mentioned concerns about Dailly/Doherty, this may not be a bad thing;

- of the three senior central midfielders on show, only Therry Racon offers a hint of creativity - I consider Jose Semedo's 'blocking and tackling' role as crucial, which likely means Alan McCormack will start the season on the bench;

- Kyel Reid and Scott Wagstaff offer plenty of hope for good old-fashioned wingplay, but will they see enough ball?;

- Akpo Sodje is very poor technically - unless he can utilise his raw size and strength more productively, then we will really miss Deon Burton's more subtle approach;

- Guillem Bauza looked as though he'd be happier sipping espresso in a pavement cafe, or perhaps starring in a low budget French movie - he is likely to win some female hearts if he signs, but much better will be required to deserve a contract;

- assuming Sodje will indeed be the main man upfront, then some type of clever 'fox in the box' striker would appear to be the best partner alongside to mop up some of the havoc the Nigerian causes - more so at least than the dainty touches of Bauza on this showing.


At 10:01 PM, Anonymous KenJ said...

I am dreaming, with our alleged 'arrangement', we can get the Liverpool youngster Valle on loan. I think he could fill the need up front and he sure seems to know where the net is. (Yes, I know, I did say dreaming....)

At 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hard to argue with your assessment here NYA. I only saw Bauza at Welling and was more hopeful but I went looking for inspiration, so am ready to accept I may have been wearing rose-tinted glasses. Oh for another Derek Hales or a Paul Walsh!


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