Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mere Mortals

At this stage last season, the Addicks had already accumulated 18 points, yet last Saturday's rather fortuitous win has left us on a mere 10 this time around.

They say the sign of a good side is winning without playing well (not true of course), and whilst we can thus take comfort from our position tucked in behind the League One leaders, the expected bedding down time for our new-look side is taking as long as we feared.

Indeed those six consecutive wins last season remind us that current leaders Peterborough would have been a half-dozen points adrift behind ourselves and Leeds, suggesting that there is already evidence that the division will be highly competitive.

Our fixtures so far might have appeared quite straightforward on paper, but four of the six are sitting in the top half, whilst hot pre-season favourites Southampton languish somewhat amazingly in 22nd place.

In short, if there is plenty of improvement to come from Phil Parkinson's side (and frankly there needs to be), then the potential rewards are enormous because early evidence suggests that considerably less than 86 points might be required for automatic promotion.

If one is willing (somewhat generously) to file Parky's 28 games in season 2008/9 under 'Pardew's legacy' then his League One record is 26 wins from 52 games, a nice clean win ratio of 50%.

Something slightly better (closer to 55%) is usually required to virtually guarantee automatic promotion, so we are probably not too far away with the big if being if he can eke out that 10% of improvement.

Where might that 10% come from? Early indications suggest that a Semedo/McCormack midfield partnership has too much brawn and not enough brain, whilst the lack of goals from Abbott and Benson will begin to become critical if not swiftly solved.

The injury to Rob Elliot is most untimely, and as already indicated and expected, it is too much to expect Ross Worner to fill his gloves for the busy period ahead.

I sense that we are yet to see the best of Lee Martin, and his ultimate role may well be as a deep-lying striker, taking some of the creative burden away from the aforementioned midfield, whilst providing Benson with more service facing the goal.

Defensively we look in reasonable shape, although neither full-back has given the wingers much support, although this may be by design.

Prenton Park was the scene of one of the team's outstanding early-season performances in 2009/10, and their season is already suggesting it will be another relegation scrap.

Interestingly their solitary win came against leaders Peterborough, but with 32 goals conceded at home last season (the 2nd worst in the division), this is the type of fixture that the Addicks need to win to demonstrate promotion credentials.

Manager Les Parry (like new Saints boss Nigel Adkins) was a former club physio, whilst he is surely the only League manager with a PhD.

I'm reassured to find managers gradually being recruited from outside the traditional route of ex-pros. As the saying goes, " don't have to have been a horse to know how to ride one..".

Try telling Jose Mourinho or Gerard Houllier that they're missing some unique insights by virtue of not having played the game. Indeed the opposite is most likely true, namely a fresh perspective not warped by the game's introversion.

Whilst the game is taking place, I'll be making my sixth trip of the year to New York, but will look forward to receiving news of what will hopefully be an important three points upon landing.

For my charity bet, as discussed above I fancy Lee Martin may be asked to play a more attacking free role, and if true then the 11/4 odds on him scoring any time represent good value.

NY Addick bets £10 on Lee Martin to score anytime (at 11/4)


At 10:07 PM, Blogger Kap said...

Good post NYA, statistics can reveal different things,whilst we are 8 points behind the same stage last season we are also on par with equivalent fixtures last season ( Its a long season and there will be quite a few ups and downs. If we can solve the central midfield creativity issue then I think we will be in the mix come May. Tranmere 1 Charlton 2

At 10:21 PM, Blogger Mike BARRY said...

Martin appears to ooze class and trickery but needs to apply it in terms of deilverables.
I think he will but the challenge is his, as he does not appear to have achieved it with any consistency wherever he has been in the past. It may be dangerous to rely too much on him.


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