Sunday, August 01, 2010

Broken Herts

Despite Watford being my nearest League club, the wife did not issue my visa until 2.30pm leaving me just thirty minutes to get to the game.

Somehow I made it, and chose to sat in the sparsely populated Rous Stand rather than join the 250 or so Addicks that were camped in the Vicarage Road end.

Parkinson again opted to start with a 4-5-1 formation, with Jose Semedo clearly the holding midfielder, and Alan McCormack the one given the most freedom to join Akpo Sodje upfront.

Sodje is clearly most effective when facing goal, able to use his raw strength to hold off defenders.

His link-up play with his back to goal however is almost non-existent, whilst in a strange genetic quirk he is singularly unable to jump in anything like the majestic manner of his brother Sam.

Fortunately early in the second half, the Addicks' new signing Pawel Abbott instantly offered evidence that he presents a far more effective option in this role.

His movement and touch (particularly an exquisite back heel that almost set up a goal) suggested an intelligent player, one who immediately reminded me of Svetoslav Todorov, another front man I had very much liked.

This is not to suggest Sodje cannot offer a role, perhaps in a 4-4-2 with Abbott playing deep and providing his partner with the types of service he relishes (ie. facing the goal).

Elsewhere, Kyel Reid was outstanding - a real bag of tricks, and equally impressive on the left and right (where he occasionally swapped with Wagstaff).

He does not have exceptional pace, but as a natural left-footer, he may finally provide the genuine width on that flank that we have lacked for so long.

Wagstaff meanwhile again drifted in and out of the game. He seems to do his best work cutting inside, despite arguably having more pace than Reid in order to really test the full-back on the outside.

Semedo did his usual destructive work, whilst McCormack made a number of forays forward in the style of his former teammate Nicky Bailey, but he was left unrewarded. His attitude appears spot on though.

Racon had a quiet game, indeed the chemistry between him and McCormack was generally lacking suggesting the pair may be fighting over a single midfield place come next Saturday.

Christian Dailly was impressive again, a truly fine example of how to keep fit well into your 30s.

Alongside him, Gary Doherty looked a little ponderous on occasion, although in League One he will rarely be tested for pace, perhaps explaining Paul Lambert's decision to let him leave following Norwich's promotion.

It's curious to note that he calls for the ball by shouting "DOC" even though his name is spelt "Doherty". Better than shouting "DOH" I suspect.

Chris Solly again looked a little intimidated, and it was little surprise that Parkinson has brought in a more experienced alternative, although the youngster's versatility and workrate should ensure plenty of playing time this season.

His replacement Yado Mambo meanwhile is a beast of a man, exceptionally well built for a mere teenager.

Johnnie Jackson is solid if rather unspectacular. His dead ball delivery is impressive however, suggesting we will pack a threat in this department with the likes of Dailly, Doherty, Sodje and now Abbott providing plenty of physical presence.

Elsewhere, Guillem Bauza continues to seek a contract. The floppy-haired Spaniard potentially offers a dose of unpredictability, but we are surely still on the lookout for the type of canny poacher who can score 20 goals this season.

The other trailist (Guillaume Norbert) was not given much time to play a role, although he slotted in at right midfield, perhaps suggesting Parkinson thinks Wagstaff cannot yet be relied on to play a full season on the flank.

All in all then, a more promising performance against an ordinary looking Watford side who look relegation fodder to me.

Parkinson's signings all seem extremely sensible and thoughtful so far, although the hard work now will be creating the 'secret sauce' that will turn a promising looking side into a promotion one.


At 2:05 AM, Blogger ChicagoAddick said...

Thanks for that NYA. I am quietly excited about the team PP is putting together. Marshall and Fortune will hopefully sign plus Bauza and a 20-goal striker. I would like to see another midfielder who can add a goalscoring threat too. McCormack, Semedo and Racon are not going to get many I don't think.

Funny what you said about Akpo - when I saw him last season I said exactly the same about this heading ability with his back to goal. His timing was dreadful.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger 515152 said...

Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it.................................................

At 9:36 PM, Anonymous Aitchyaddict said...

What a lovely comment from new signing Pawel Abbott: "As soon as I found out Charlton were interested, I wanted to get it done and go there. (Which is pretty normal). But the next bit was:"I don't think there are many people who can actually say 'I don't want to go to Charlton.' I think that says a lot about our club.

At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you say about Abbott I remember thinking exactly the same after Andy Grays first few minutes at Vicarage rd on his debut.


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