Monday, 28 September 2015

Fruitless September...

Following on from the dreadful home defeat against Huddersfield we have since lost 3 tricky away games in Blackburn, Palace and Cardiff to complete a rather depressingly winless September.

Thankfully our surprise good start to the season means the points haul achieved in August leaves us wedged between mid table and a loss apart from being dragged into the early relegation battle.

I'd rather have a dip in form this early in the season, as we have seen in the last few Championship season you can raise your game and results sufficiently in the third quarter of the season to ensure a nervy free finish to the campaign.

A bit of an unambitious outlook you may think, but it is what it is.  We are two or three players short of a competitive squad, and when we have more than one senior injured or rested it is and has shown to be too much to ask the youngsters to completely step up.  Not their fault as individuals, they just don't have the game time and experience to really steady proceedings at Championship level. (Just look at what a positive impact Callum Harriot has had since stepping down a division to become a key player for Colchester United).

We go into October in need of a couple of decent results to help us keep some daylight between the bottom third of the table and ourselves.

Starting with a tricky Sunday midday kick off home game (annoying???) versus a Fulham team who finally seem to be finding their collective feet in The Championship.  It will be a big ask, what with our Sky TV record, but this along with the home games against Preston and Brentford are the three we really need to be targeting for 6-7 points from in October.  Of course if the boys do put in a shift and come away with a good performance and more importantly 3 points we then have to suffer the momentum sapping interruption of an international break before we travel to Reading for our next game.

With the old negativity and anti RD/sack Luzon brigade rediscovering their voices, October looks like being a potential rocky ride for the team.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Ahmed Kashi & Chris Solly 1 Huddersfield 2...

Well perhaps the tag line is a little unjust, but I've just got home from one of the most woefully inept Charlton performances I have seen for a long time.  For the second match in days, on our own turf, we were frustrated and you could say a little humiliated by two teams who are where they are in the league, all be it early doors, on the merit of their ability.

The only two players who could come out with any credit whatsoever would be Solly and Kashi. Not one to single out players, and there are a few I could (and will) after tonight's capitulation, but it simply was not good enough to contradict the bookies making us early favourites for a bottom three place.

Perhaps our blind partisan optimism stopped us seeing the practicality of the bookies stance?

We played so fluidly in the opening two home games, but tonight were disjointed, undisciplined and generally awful. Bad passing, sloppy challenges and what was worst, once our opening gambit of a tactic quite obviously was not going to work, did we change it? No! We kept passing the ball from left to right to left to right, back, forward from left to right, and again, then delivering some of the worst crosses I have ever seen. Big Mak missed two gold gilted opportunities to score, JBG and Tony Watt looked like they thought they were simply too good to actually engage their brains and make the simple pass, or in Watts case pass at all. Fox just looked entirely out of his depth. (God forbid what Zaha will do to him next Wednesday?) And Barr was all arms and legs.

Dreadful evening, awful performance, how fickle us football fans are. Has Basil been found out? Will all the knockers be proven right? Should I have had 300 quid on us going down? (Of course not!)

The highlight of the evening was seeing little Kashi physically drag the Gargantuan Huddersfield number 11 to his feet when he tried to stay down prostate in agony after a hand bag tackle. Well done Kashi for trying to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Well done Chris Solly for being such a quality player.

On the subject of the second Sir Chris (Solly), great player, but should he be captain on the pitch? Great player that he is (and I still firmly believe he will go on to great things, and win an England cap) he's simply not vocal enough to be captain. Guy Luzon, whom I'm not going to start blaming ,yet , needs to think about this. It's no good making 'one of our own' captain if there are better candidates (if not better players) in the squad who may perform the role in a more proactive manner.

A very frustrating evening, I'll be interested to see Luzons post match press conference comments on this one. I'll begin to become a wee bit cynical of him if he harps on about possession, number of passes and shots on target - because the one thing above all of those that really matters is getting the ball in the back of the neck more times than your opponent.

Nighty night.

Rotherham at home...

I'm really not a fan of the international breaks. They make the opening couple of the months disjointed, both for the team and for the fans in general. (Well that's my excuse for my own disjointed and lethargic start to blogging this season anyway).

So Sir Chris brings his Huddersfield to The Valley tonight, for the first league game under lights of the season.

Saturday saw our good start to the season, by ways of both performance and result stutter a little.

Some good passages of play were followed by a slight naivety in the final third, and to be fair to them Rotherham did a very good job of frustrating the Addicks when they did actually get the chance.

We move on, as they say that's yesterday's chip paper.

Tonight's side may well include newly loaned attacking wide man Conor McAleny who has joined us on a short term deal from Everton. Hopefully he will fit the bill, as I would much prefer to see Cousins playing a more central role with JBG out on the right.

The big thing to ponder is what to do up front. Big Mak, in my opinion, has certainly changed the course of the things in the last two home games. I think Saturday against Rotherham was his best performance so far in his fledgling Charlton career. (I also think given game time he will get better and better).

I wouldn't be surprised to see the big man start alongside Ahearne-Grant. I think Watt and Vetokele both still have some fitness issues and could do with a rest. And I'd be interested to see Ahearne Grants quick feet tested when enjoying the hold up play and flick one that we saw Big Mak execute on Saturday.

The defence is fine. (Yes even Morgan Fox, who just needs to achieve a bit mor consistency). Diarra was magnificent both defensively and charging forward to create attacking options against Rotherham.

I'm betting on a more alert frontline helping us to a 3-1 win.