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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Further Misery from the 'Ex'?

With Pards losing lots of sleep over our current downward slippage, he's now got to plan how to avoid another embarrassing defeat with a Saturday visit to the south coast. And before you try telling yourself that another defeat is unthinkable, perhaps we should all be prepared for the worst, as the team make their claim to an anonymous midtable berth by losing yet again.
Because the truth of the matter is that Southampton are one of our bogy teams, and victory on their ground has never been easy. Just to give everybody a better chance they moved out of the cramped and imposing Dell to their spacious new ground, St. Marys, in August 2001 but unfortunately the Addicks haven't improved on their visits and if we had little luck when visiting the old Dell we've had none at all at St. Marys. We've been there 4 times with 2 0-0 draws and 2 defeats with just 2 goals scored.
And at the moment it seems that everybody else is coming into form just when the Addicks roll up because the Saints are another team improving after a poor start. A miserable beginning of the season seems to have been strangely forgotten after the 1-5 thrashing at the hands of lowly Preston. Since then, in three short weeks, things have definitely turned around and they're won 3 and lost just 1, that being at 2nd placed Bristol City, where they lost 1-2. Seven goals have been scored in the wins over West Brom, Cardiff and Burnley and although they have the unique record of conceding the most goals both at home and away in the Fizzies they can also find the net at the other end as only one team, West Brom has scored more.
And, just like Plymouth last week, they have an amazing list of players that will trouble Pards in his pre-match tactical talk. Better stick to the numbers then. Just watch out for numbers 8, 9 and 31 that's all I have to say.
What the Saints fans chant is anyone's guess with the likes of Bartosz Bialkowski, Inigo Idiakez, Alexander Ostlund, Grzegorz Rasiak, Youssef Safri, Marek Saganowski, Rudi Skacel, Jhon Viafara and Gregory Vignal to name but a few. But they've also got a few easy names to conjure with such as someone called Jason Euell! He's only scored once so far but expect that to increase come the weekend..
As a team they've scored 24 times in the fizzies, 7 more than we have and scored three goals on no leass than 4 occasions....and as you would expect it's the Number 9, all 6'3" of him, the Pole Grzegorz Rasiak, that's scored the most with 5 so far. And, of course, he's the player that Pards' is rumoured to be chasing so he, for one, will be keen to impress . There's also the Trindad star Stern John on 4 and Ian's son Bradley Wright-Phillips on 3.
The last time we won in Southampton was 1988, a 1-0 victory in the old First Division although a repeat of that scoreline does seems unlikely as Southampton have scored at least once in all of their 14 games so far this season......

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Perdoname, Juande, Have you Got a Second?

Buenas Dias, Juande,
Sorry to bother you on your first day in charge but I'd just like to welcome you to the UK and give you a little bit of helpful advice to help smooth the way for you.
These double sessions for the squad that you've started are a great idea to get them useless, underachieving buggers back into shape but you know as well as I do that with only one win in 11 games these players that you're now stuck with are really not up to scratch. And like every new coach, you'll want your own players not somebody else's.
Now we all know that the secret of your success, apart from that Poulsen character, is a player called Freddie Kanouté, which is all rather ironic as he'd still be at Spurs if they hadn't already sold him to you at Seville two years ago. You'd love to take him back to the Lane and continue where you left off.
The thing is you've already got loads of strikers at Spurs, four in fact, with Robbie Keane, Dimi Berbatov, Jermaine Defoe, and not forgetting that young Darren Bent who's just arrived but has got just 1 goal this season.
So I was thinking, Juande, old mate, don't you think it would be a good idea to let the players know what's what and prepare them for the inevitable by pushing one or two of those extra bodies out on a bit of a loan deal. It'll help to focus the minds of the players left and it'll sure help with the cash flow which you'll need to raise if you want to get Freddie over. And Freddie's not going to be too keen on coming if he sees so many other strikers at the club. So it's a bit of a clear-out that you need, not a sale as such, just a nudge in the right direction.
So what about that youngster Darren Bent. He's only getting rusty sat down all day and more to the point his mum's getting real upset that she's forked out for a box and still doesn't see her little boy playing. She'll soon be knocking on your door trying to force your hand and demanding in no uncertain tones that Darren plays. You don't want that pressure, do you? You may not have meet Darren yet, he's the one thats always laughing, he was sat on the bench for the whole game against Getafe and even Jol didn't see any point in bringing him on. You do get the gist of you I'm saying, Juande?
So there is an easy answer to your dilemma, Juande. What's the point of holding on to players and keeping them on the bench when you can do a quick loan deal, give 'em a game or two and if they do well you can always get 'em back. Can't lose can you.
So here's the number you want, 020. 8333. 4000 and ask for the nice Mr Varney, that's Peter to mates like you. Mention Darren and I'm sure you can come to some simple arrangement that'll suit everyone. And if you could hurry it on a bit, 'cause we've got a game on Saturday.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Time For a Therry....

Ah, shit. Just when you think things can't be any worse, its Monday bloody morning.
But while we edge our way slowly through the morning traffic, we should spare a thought for the drama unfolding over at the Training Ground. Pards has, of course, the onerous task of convincing the boys that they're not really so inept and useless but that really they just had a bad day at the office. It can happen to anyone. Now they've got to forget all about it and as they say, move on.
He'll take the tack of slowly explaining things that went wrong, show them the video to illustrate the points and, of course, to deflect any nasty back-biting, he'll come clean and admit to everyone, cue red face from Jose, that he shouldn't have pulled off a defender of Semedo's calibre when he did. And he'll no doubt point to QPR's recent run under their new caretaker manager and remind everyone that QPR obviously needed the win more than we did.
But behind all the sweet talk and enthusiastic encouragement, his brain will be in overdrive, planning and devising changes and slight amendments for the game at Southampton on Saturday and no doubt thankful that the game is away from home. And to assist him with the unpleasantries, we can only remind him of what he said a couple of years ago at the Hamsters after a similar pointless run, "The pressure on me and on the team is increasing, and it doesn't make it comfortable. I will look in my team to find who will be up for the challenge"
In times like this it's usually the old experienced hands that are called upon. Bit of a problem there then as with all these youngsters about the only appropriate oldie we're got, Matty Holland, is out injured and we don't even have a Brian Hughes to push into the fray.....Blessings often come in small parcels so they say.
So, in anticipation of a little head-scratching, we'd like to do our little bit and put forward some advice although with so much on his plate at the moment probably the last thing that he'll be wanting is advice from the likes of us.
But then again that's what we do isn't it, like it or not. But not wishing to act the clever dick, and heap praise upon myself, no, I'll leave it to someone more capable than me of providing the answer. Yes, there's one person one there who has inevitably hit the nail on the proverbial head and its full marks to Mrs North Downs who put it in a nutshell - we're just too damned slow.
You can call it too elaborate if you like but with our highly technical team passing has become the be all and end all and speed of movement has gone out the window. We're a bit like Barcelona but without the skills of Messi and co. They do exactly what we do so well - they tap it about endlessly across the back, boring everyone rigid but just when the opposition is lulled into sleep, bang bang, a sprint into space, a ball over the top and its 1-0 before you can blink.
We're OK with the tap, tap but, as Mrs North Downs so eloquently put it, it's the sudden sprint into space that's sadly missing.
So to unveil the Master Plan, it's suggested that ZiZi is not best used in midfield and should be pushed forward. He's got three goals already, one more than Varney and before coming to Charlton he got 29 goals in 44 starts for the Chinese side Shandong Luneng, not to mention his 10 goals for China in 39 games. Go on Pards, ask him how he managed to score so many, then wheel out the Barca videos showing the runs of Iniesta into space and get ZiZi to do just that.
And with the forthcoming change to a 4-5-1 formation to prevent further embarrassment he'll be ideal to play behind Iwelumo. Out goes Luke V and in comes 23 year old Therry for his first fizzy start.
A gamble? Perhaps, but it's plain that something needs changing around here, you've only got to ask Mrs North Downs.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Charlton 0 QPR 1

Normally speaking, tears are the picture of unhappiness, the sound of frustration is the screaming of the cat after you've kicked him and the sign of broken dreams is the lifting of a glass.
But after yesterday's horror show the end result of all these feelings was the booing directed at the team at the end of a dismal game and yet another defeat.
Pardew had plenty to say after the game, perhaps too much, in fact. Because with a handful of exceptions it was his team on the field and accusations of ineptness are not going to solve the problem, or make the answer easier to find. The booing of a team is a fans justified response to an inept performance that wasn't good enough, but the managers job is to show a positive sign of strength in front of the cameras, whatever is said behind doors.
Whatever, to wet the appetite the telegraph offers a small screen-full, thankfully hidden well away, although as ex-Premiership fodder we appear first in their fizzies round-up. And there's perhaps a telling quote from Mick Harford, "There's a lot of uncertainty at the football club, but the players have responded magnificently and I take my hat off to them."
The posh_murdoch also chooses to concentrate on the visitors and shows its colours by criticizing Pards for his anti-ref comments re Tuesday. But more tellingly, it's probably the first report this season that fails to mention Andy Reid. However, once again their player scores appear distinctly strange. Everyone gets a 6 with the exception of ZiZi with a 7. Not really a sign of ineptness there. But as for their MOM, and you can't say I didn't warn you Pards, it was striker QPR Rowan Vine.
And another player in Pardew's bad books if definitely QPR goalkeeper Lee Camp. As mentioned yesterday he it was that was the cause of another three game losing streak back in Pardew's West Ham days when he was in goal for Derby a couple of years ago. A 1-2 home defeat followed. Perhaps we should sign him up before the return in West London.
And if you want to read more about chances squandered then its on sportinglife and among the stats are recorded the rather high number of 21 fouls by QPR as against the 9 by Wolves scored last weekend, when we were allegedly 'roughed-up'. More shades of inconsistent refereeing, perhaps, although obviously this week Pardew's mind was elsewhere.

But if you want to read something that makes you feel a bit better, then its top marks this week to the guardian-cum-observer which does at least give the first half to the Addicks and thankfully takes our mind off football for a few minutes by relating the racy behind-the scenes goings-on at Lotus Road. As for the Addicks, we're apparently, to put it simply, on "a veritable slide", whatever that is, and Pards oddly enough "was troubled by his side's defending." And seems we had 15 goal attempts with 10 on target. Perhaps in hindsight we should be pointing the finger more at the strikers rather than the defenders and as someone mentioned last week, where the hell are Mendonca and Hunt?

But speaking of pointing the finger, perhaps its our own Pards' that should be keeping his mouth shut, as it would appear pretty obvious that it was his own "ineptness" that lead to Semedo being taken off, thus leaving inviting, gaping holes in front of the defence.

And to cap it all Reid is booked, late-on, for dissent. Do memories of Murphy appear as two years ago he struggled to cope with the responsibility of being midfield general and was eventually dismissed against the Arse never to appear again...? Lets hope not. Perhaps Pardew's first real error of the campaign was in playing Reid against Wolves last weekend when a break was what he obviously needed after ankle knocks and the disappointment of international defeat for the Irish.

The Addicks: Weaver; Mills, Sodje, Fortune, Basey; Sam (Racon 85), Semedo (J Thomas 46), Zheng, Reid; Varney, Iwelumo (McLeod 69).
Subs (not used): Randolph, Bougherra.
Booked: Sam 81 (foul on Ephraim), Reid 87 (dissent)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Just a Coincidence...

As the polls are out in force, at least over at cafcpicks, probably the most heartening thing about today's game is that, of his 33 games in charge of the Addicks, Pardew has never lost 3 games in a row. League games, that is. Because last January, we did just that, the three in a row trick with the Arse 2-4, Notts Forest in the Cup 0-2 and then a game that gave Middlesbrough their very first away win of the season, 1-3. Just thought I'd point out that QPR have also not won away from home yet...
So that was an awful week, even worst than the current one but it was one that Pards has suffered before. Obviously he doesn't enjoy the first month of the year too much because back in January 2005, he did have three defeats in a row with westham in Tier Two completed with a 1-2 home defeat against Derby and it was Derby's first win at Upton Park for 30 years. QPR haven't won at the Valley for 20 years.
During the press conference that day two and a half years ago, Pards's laid it down "The pressure on me and on the team is increasing, and it doesn't make it comfortable. I will look in my team to find who will be up for the challenge"
And just to complete the coincidences, the goalkeeper that day against Derby was.....Lee Camp, now of QPR...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fizzy No. 13 - QPR(h)

Sorry Pards, but your Plan A has struck the rocks and is currently shipping water. The plan to beat all the bottom-half clubs, while leaving the top ones untouched, continued on Tuesday with another particularly unimpressive defeat to another top 6 club - 2 points from a possible 15 - but has been somewhat ruined by the demise of Coventry and Colchester, teams we only managed to get a point against, who have now dropped below the magic halfway line.
Back in August Pardew told us that we needed 26 victories to get back to the Premier riches and for anyone that remembers any maths from school that means beating every single one of the bottom-half teams, twice, and then sneaking another couple of wins against the new 'Big Boys'. This plan was proceeding just about on schedule until both Coventry and Colchester, by their downward slide, have proved that our wayward form is currently not even good enough to beat mediocre teams.
But before we need worry about plan revisions we've obviously got an easy three points due to us tomorrow. Or so it would appear! At the very bottom of the table, hoopless and managerless QPR, arrive at the Valley. A team with 1 win in 11, only 9 goals scored and 21 conceded, they look doomed although three teams, Southampton, Colchester and Sheff Wed have conceded more goals and their results are not exactly all gloom and doom.
In fact, since Mick Harford took over from John Gregory after the 1-5 West Brom defeat they have only lost once in 4 games and they arrive at the Valley unbeaten in the last three, with recent draws against Preston away and Ipswich at home and prior to that their only win of the season against Norwich at home by 1-0.
The best results of their season have been credible draws with the top 2 clubs, Watford and Bristol City and results away from home have been 3 draws and 2 defeats, at Preston 0-0, 2-4 at Colchester, 1-5 to West Brom, 1-1 Leicester, 2-2 Bristol City. And there's that worrying 1-1 draw at home to Watford to think about....
On the history front, there's no need to worry as its all Addicks as we haven't lost any of the last eleven games against QPR with 9 wins and two draws.
Anybody for Pards to Worry About?
One problem for the boss will be pinning down their top goalscorer and he'll need some serious spotting as they have no less than nine players, in the fizzies anyway, that have scored one goal each, so it's not exactly difficult to see QPR's weakness, a striker perhaps.
One striker that you may remember is Israeli Ben Sahar who almost joined us during the summer but thought better of it and joined QPR instead, to get more games in he claimed. Well, he's started just four times out of the eleven and has still failed to score. No doubt he'll get the winner, then...Another recent acquaintance is midfielder Mikele Leigertwood who played against us for Sheff U in the 1-1 draw in April that really just about sealed our fate.
But Tuesday night at Preston saw them field no less than 4 on-loan players and perhaps its these that are going to cause the most trouble. Ex-Luton striker Rowan Vine may be the pick of the bunch, on-loan from Birmingham. Defenders Mancienne and Cranie are also on-loan along with Hogan Ephraim from the Hamsters.

Pardew's dilemma
At long last, and who could believe we're saying that, the return of Lloyd Sam will, at least, bring some relief to the gaffer but while he's been away problems have been appearing all over the place. Sloppy goals conceded, chances made but squandered and an injury list than grows longer by the game. And just when scoring is starting to become a bit of an issue, we unfortunately lose Todorov for the rest of the season with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament. Unlucky Tods.
At least we have what appear to be two solid full-backs, even though Mills has to play out of position although its clearly a blessing that he appears to lose none of his inspiration even when moving across field.
But clearly it's the rest of the team that is giving Pardew a few sleepless nights. Defence? What defence? Its clearly time to put Sodje to the test but who to leave out. Both central defenders would seem to due for a break but which one will it be? The simple answer is, we don't know, only Pards does at the moment.
What other possibilities does Pards think he has? The game would seem to be an ideal opportunity to see just how good Frenchman Therry Racon is. A place on the bench would seem to be the least that Pardew can do to try to lift the team out of 7th place doldrums.

There's also a pressing need for a change in the front two with Varney another one looking out of sorts and there's just a possibility that Pardew may press ZiZi forward and put Racon in the middle. does appear too much of a gamble and Pardew is not a betting man. If Holland was available then he might, but at the moment I can't see it happening. Therefore the rest of the team will be unchanged, particularly bearing in mind Pardew's firm belief in a settled side.

Weaver; Moutaouakil, Bougherra/Fortune or Sodje, Mills; Sam, Semedo, ZiZi, Reid; Iwelumo, Varney

Subs: Randolph, the odd one out central defender, Racon, Thomas, McLeod


There's no apparent sign of any nerves out there with everyone that wants to predict seeing a Home Win. pedro45 sees a 4-0, newyorkaddick has a 3-0 win, while killer has a 2-0 home win. All pretty convincing then but once again I have my doubts. If it's a very nervous 1-0, last minute penalty win, then I'll be a very happy man but not really surprised.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fizzy No. 12 - Plymouth (h)

Another tough game, Plymouth at home, managed by Ian Holloway, the man with the strange and bizarre comments in post-match interviews apparently - lets hope he has some ready to expect his teams unexpected defeat tonight - now in his second year in charge after 5 years at QPR.
After their 1-0 home win over Coventry at the weekend and with only one defeat in their last 8 fizzy games, they have now moved into the top six and more important to us have an away record of 2 wins, a draw and only 2 defeats. Looking at these away games, they drew 0-0 at Blackpool last time out, lost 2-3 at Stoke and beat QPR 2-0. They have also lost to Barnsley 2-3, and beat Hull 3-2 on the opening day. So a respectable 9 goals away from home, only Cardiff have more with 10.
As well as scoring frequently, they've also sorted out the other end and haven't conceded in their last three games and now its 319 minutes since they last let a goal in. Last season saw them finish 12th and bearing in mind that Mr Holloway has promised them Premiership football, although he didn't say when, they are now are in 6th place just 2 points behind us and a win tomorrow would take them above us....
So Who We Got to Worry About?
Well, they're a bit of a rum mix and appear to be a random selection picked up off the boats down there in the harbour. In the mix there's no less than 5 frogs, 3 Hungarians, a Dutchman, a New Zealander, a Jamaican for a bit of spice and a dour Swede to add to the usual English and Scots.
Top scorer in the pot in the fizzies is the apply styled Englishman and ex-Manure player Sylvan Ebanks-Blake with 4 League goals and he'll be up front alongside the Lambert-born Jamaican spice, ex-Fulham and Sheff Utd Barry Hayles. Their midfield ace, and firm favorite with the fans, is apparently the Hungarian signed from Oporto, Number 8 Akos Buzsak and just when you have full-back problems the beeb helps-out by telling us that "on-loan 20 year old Manchester United winger Lee Martin and Peter Halmosi on the other flank were both impressive performers".
And Lee Martin, previously bought by manure for 1M from Wimbledon when only 16, - "likes to run with it and take people on it" according to Holloway - scored on his debut against Coventry to earn the three points. So Mills it is then.....and he may get a few hints from Jon Fortune who played with Martin at Stoke last season. And as a bonus, left-winger Halmosi another Hungarian, was reported as being "outstanding" on Saturday....
Pardews Pick
Pardew is going to have to earn his wage tonight and apart from rousing the team after a defeat he's going to have to rearrange his team.
The settled team idea is right out the window with diagonal problems at left-back and right-wing. Sir Chris appears to be out for 2 to 3 weeks and despite the call for Grant Basey to get a game this is no time to try out an untried youngster. Moving across to cover will be Danny Mills as he did on Saturday and the almost forgotten Yassin Moutaouakil will return at right-back.
Perhaps more important because goals will be needed to get the required three points is the right-wing problem. Coming on a storm since the start of the season, we have to face another game without the suspended Lloyd Sam. Darren Ambrose limped off during the second half against Wolves, which with his recent bad form is perhaps fortuitous, and there's really no other option except starting with Jerry Thomas. Along with Basey another youngster still currently untried is the 19 year old Martin Christensen.
Also in some doubt is Bougherra who was sick before the game on Saturday and may not be available tonight. Sam Sodje stands by. The midfield triangle should remain unchanged and we can only hope that Reidie is encouraged by the sight of green shorts in front of him to help him lift his game.
As for the strikers, Pards will be content to leave them as they are with Todorov champing at the bit on the bench.
So the team will probably be: Weaver, Moutaouakil, Sodje or Bougherra, Fortune, Mills; Thomas, ZiZi, Semedo, Reid; Iwelumo and Varney.

Prediction 2-2
The only cautious voice around seems to be Wyn Grant with everyone else including Killer going for a win. With a changed team and our skipper playing his fourth game in 10 days I can't help being as pessimistic as ever - its a 2-2 draw for me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Reflections in the Monday Gloom

A bit of a depressing day after sinking back to 3rd place and out of the desired automatic slot. Pards is confident that we are a promotion team but despite the memories of that day in 1998 nobody wants a Playoff struggle ending with a repeat of that day nine years ago. A Play-off position would be better than nothing but a top two place would be so much easier on the nerves.
As for Saturday's defeat, it was coming, for our record against the top teams is just not good enough and we have to put it right soon, ie tomorrow night with Plymouth coming to the Valley.
Scanning the stats from the weekend vainly trying to see any injustice and consolation but it doesn't work for me. The Addicks for all their first half 'domination', total possession of 53%, had a total of 3 shots on target, exactly the same as Wolves but to illustrate our poor shooting perhaps, were in front on 'missed' shots 7-2. On corners we had 8 against the Wolves 3.
After a two week break we didn't respond to going behind and Pards was upset at the lack of 'devilment and a bit of purpose' during the second half. Several things went wrong and could be used as excuses, with the injury to Chrissie Powell upsetting the formation, Bougherra being 'sick' before the game and our key man, Andy Reid, looking tired from his Irish exertions and perhaps in hindsight he should not have started. But maybe there's another pointer to our situation.
Pardew prays for a settled team and does his best to keep one and looking back to the last time we were here in Tier Two in 2000, Curbishley had the luxury of keeping almost the entire team together from the previous season to get us back up as Champions. Brown, Rufus, Powell, Youds, Kinsella, Keith Jones, Robinson, Newton, Hunt, Mendonca, Stuart all played in both the relegation and promotion years.
This time there's only three or four still here from last year and when contrasted with leaders Watford its perhaps clear why they are miles in front.
With none of the necessity for wholesale changes, Boothroyd has done a Curbishley and managed to retain most of his team from last year. Of the 16 players that played against us on this weekend a year ago, no less than 7 started their game against Hull on Saturday and another two were on the bench. The entire back four was the same as a year ago and that's the difference between the two teams, a unchanged core of players and a completely rebuilt one. And at the moment the rebuild one is not operating as well.
So its a real test for Pardew tomorrow and he faces the problem of changing his team due to injuries and suspensions and having to lift their heads after the defeat and push them back into the fray against a high-scoring Argyle team that a finishing place among the Play-offs would be a dream come true.
Don't expect a pretty game, it'll be tough out there.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wolves 2 Charlton 0

The weekend of 20/21 October has proved once again to be a crucial reflection on our season, as for the second year running we fail to score, this year for the first time, but it ends with our second defeat of the season at Molineux.
The posh murdoch was there and provide their usual player marks out of 10 and after saying that "Madjid Bougherra and Jonathan Fortune are an excellent partnership at the centre of the Charlton defence", its not surprising that, despite the mess-up with the first Wolves goal, both should get a score of 6 while every one else got a meagre 5.
MOM went to winger Michael Kightly but then the quality of the whole report is somewhat put into question when its reported that "Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey made his first save of the match, blocking a shot from Luke Varney" in the 75th minute....Perhaps he wasn't there after all.
Even the Wolves own website says that "Hennessey pulled off a excellent save from an Andy Reid header in the 21st minute". And apparently this was closely followed by the miss of the match from Ambrose who fired high over from 8 yards with only the goalie to beat.
For the other side of the coin, look no further than the sportinglife where its all innocence from McCarthy "McCARTHY AMAZED AT PARDEW CLAIM" in reference to Pards claim about our "being roughed-up".
Meanwhile, as a sweetener for Tuesday's game against Plymouth you can read about their 1-0 home win over Monica's Coventry here and start to really worry.
We're always told that you can tell how good a team is by how it recovers from a defeat, well we only have a couple of days to find out. We can question Pardew's decision on playing captain Reid, who predictably had a quiet game, for the whole 90 minutes, but there's no doubt that he will need to get his selection choice spot-on, as they say, for Plymouth.
As Saskatchewan Addick points out in frankie's page, we have failed to beat any team in the top half with only 3 points from a possible 15 and although Plymouth have already lost top-half games at both Barnsley and Stoke by the score of 3-2 they narrowly lost 0-1 at West Ham in the League Cup and are now in a Play-off position after yesterday's win.
And we now have more injury worries on our hands with Chrissie Powell unlikely to play on Tuesday and a dearth of available left-backs to cover for him while there's still a right-wing dilemma with Ambrose obviously out of form and Lloyd Sam still sat in the stands for the final game of his suspension.
Holes are starting to appear in our season and Tuesdays game will be one of Pardew's most important since he arrived last December. Three points are needed to get us put right and against the second highest scorers away from home in the fizzies, they'll be no room for any errors.
The Addicks: Weaver; Mills, Bougherra (J Thomas 70), Fortune, Powell (Sodje 36); Ambrose (Todorov 70), Semedo, Zheng, Reid; Iwelumo, Varney.
Subs (not used): Randolph, McLeod.
Booked: Semedo 88 (foul on Kightly)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

One Year On...

Its game 11 of the fizzies and with the 10 game marker reached, Pards is happy with what he’s achieved so far in his drastic rebuilding program. On the official site he says “The stats suggest that we're showing signs of being a team that could possibly be promoted. We're certainly up there with the very best sides, but obviously there is a long, long way to go. We are at least over that first part of being a new team that's finding its feet, and we have to say that that job has been achieved”
And it doesn’t take a very long memory to recall how things were just 12 short months ago and how much has been achieved since then. As we approach, what many thought when the season started would be our first real challenge, last season on this same weekend, we faced Watford at home, a team that were just above us on 4 points, for a game that many saw as our first real chance to get an easy three points to move off the bottom, where we’d been dumped three weeks earlier.
With only three points to show from our 2-0 win at home to Bolton and a total of 7 defeats we were all having our doubts about Monica but we tried telling ourselves it was all because of our difficult fixture list. Manure, Chelski, the Arse - what could you expect? This was at long last the fixture that would start the season off. But by 5 0'clock our expectations had been destroyed by a hard-working Watford that refused to be beaten and realism finally started to bite when the game finished 0-0.
It was a shock to all and truly let us know the dire state we were in. Fortunately, Richard Murray also realised our plight and even after two further clean sheets and 4 points in the next two games, away to Newcastle 0-0 and a 1-0 win over Man. City, the 2-3 defeat at Wigan on November 11th was Monica’s last game in charge.
And the changes since that day one year ago can be easily seen when we look at the team that depressing October weekend. Of the 16 players that day only 3 remain at the club, Andy Reid, Matty Holland and Jerry Thomas, although to be truthful a further 2, M.Bent and A. Faye, are strictly speaking only out on loan.
So a complete turnaround, gone are our memories of little Darren, the Hermanator, the Elk, Desperate Dan and Rommedahlia, now there's a real Charlton team. But will it be enough this afternoon?
Wolves have serious problems all over the place, in goal, full-back and in attack. Can we take advantage? Our record this season against the top teams is not good as shown on charltonathletic-mad. In our 4 games against teams in the top half we've only got 3 points out of the possible 12 with draws against Scunthorpe, Barnsley and Coventry and a defeat at Stoke.
And just to show a perverse Addick feeling when things are going so well, we have to lose sometime, will it be today?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Preview - Wolves (away)

Seventh in the table and just 4 points behind us it's Mick McCarthy's Wolves and they're next up tomorrow.
Wolves have a very long history being members of the first Football League in 1888 and have spent 60 seasons in the First Division ( although only a single year in the Premier) while the Addicks have only had 26 seasons in the top flight. They can also point to three League Championships in 1954, '58 and '59 but sadly for Wolves fans all long before the Premiership was even dreamt of. And, despite Hayward's millions, success has eluded them almost completely since the '50's and in the last 23 years only one season, 2003/04, has been spent in the top flight.
But at the moment they're having a good run with 4 games without defeat, although currently a bit of a striker problem has arisen with a torn hamstring set to rule out Irishman Stephen Elliott while Stephen Ward – McCarthy’s other option in a striking role – is also struggling with a long-term knee injury. And now its reported that summer signing Freddy Eastwood has an Achilles problem.

Not A Lot to Shout About!
After a total of 32 years in the same League as Wolves, we have only a grand total of 5 victories to point to at Molineux. The better news is that we've won the last two in 2003/04 by 4-0 and in our Promotion season 1999/2000 by 3-2.

The Opponents
Keep it Tight!
With only 1 goal conceded in their last 4 games, its not hard to see how McCarthy sees his football. And on first half form there's only one team better in the Division, Stoke. In all 10 games so far, Wolves have only conceded once in the first 45 and have not gone in for their half-time orange in a losing position. On 6-match current form, they lie 10th with 8 points from a possible 18, while the Addicks are 3rd with 12.
Five home games so far, with 3 wins and 2 defeats, last time out was a win 1-0 over Coventry with a 90th minute goal, before that a 2-0 win over Norwich, a 0-1 defeat by Hull, a win over Blackpool 2-1 and a first day defeat by Watford with both Watford goals coming in the last 4 minutes.

Who Are Yorr?
Remember Jay Bothroyd?
With injuries to all three main strikers Stephen Elliott, Stephen Ward and Freddie Eastwood, its more than possible that ex-Addicks Jay Bothroyd may make his first fizzy pop starting appearance of the season. So far he's made only 6 subs appearances and scored just one goal which was much the same as he did with the Addicks with 6 goals from only 4 starts and no less than 21 sub appearances.
His mate on the bench has usually been fellow striker Freddy Eastwood but at least he's gone 2 better and scored three times to be the leading goalscorer. But he's only started 4 League games all season and is normally behind Elliott, Ward and Andy Reid's Irish mate Andy Keogh in the pecking order. In fact the last time Eastwood started was their last defeat, 5 games ago, 0-1 to Hull, shame then that he doesn't look like playing.
In defence we'll see two aging 30 year olds with 33 year old Gary Breen, apparently once on the Addicks books but without playing a game, and who has the record of having been relegated from the Premier with three different teams Coventry, West Ham, Sunderland, although not THE record as our very own ex Hermann Hreidarsson did it with 4 clubs, including the Addicks of course. And beside Breen will be 32 year old Jody Craddock - somebody who'll remember a very sunny May day in 1998 as well as anyone, especially as he had the privilege of seeing a Clive Mendonca hat-trick at very close quarters.
In midfield for Wolves there'll be 6' 4" Nigerian Seyi George Olofinjana, McCarthy's choice as the best midfielder in the Fizzies (!). But we can't leave this section without pointing out the star of the show, England U-21 international Michael Kightly. Apparently styled "the Ryan Giggs of non-league football" whilst spending two years with Grays Athletic he joined Wolves in November last year since then scoring 9 times in 26 games. Not bad for a winger! As he's only 21 that makes him 17 years younger than his direct opponent tomorrow....Good job you've had a bit of a rest, Chris.

The Addicks
Still no Sam
With Pards approaching a settled eleven, there's only a couple of problems that he'll have to consider for tomorrow.
The only unknown element, apart from the right wing, is the injury situation with Fortune, who had to be substituted after just half-an-hour against Barnsley so it could be Sam Sodje to continue at centre-half.
And with Ben Thatcher, last seen against Sheff Wed back in August, and his niggling knee problem also continuing, and the unfortunate Cory Gibbs with his three fractured metatarsals in his left foot, its down to Chrissie Powell to continue but maybe we'll see 18 year old Grant Basey, now back from his loan spell at Brentford.
The right wing, especially as it's an away game, will probably belong to Ambrose with the remainder being the same as the Barnsley game, although there may be a doubt about Andy Reid and his ankle problem. Its possible that Pards may not want to put him out for the full game so after a good showing on Monday in the Reserve game against Brighton, Therry Racon may start his first game especially as the main danger from Wolves looks to be that youngster on the right wing Michael Kightly.
Weaver; Mills, Bougherra, Fortune (or Sodje), Powell; Ambrose, Semedo, Zheng, Reid (or Racon); Iwelumo, Varney.
Subs : Randolph, Racon, Thomas, Todorov.

What Does Pards Say?
No Comment
There's no words of wisdom, just yet.

Draw 0-0

This game doesn't look like its going to have many goals and a single one may settle it. It may even be the first 0-0 of the season.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Irish Crown Jewels

After England's defeat on Russkie plastic and wondering how much longer McClaren's going to last, and there's a good report in the posh murdoch, there's really only one thing you want to know isn't there? Did he play or not?
Well, it seems our little irish wizard recovered from his injury enough to try to save Stevie's blushes and started the game in Dublin against Cyprus in the hope of qualifying for Euro 2008. And not only did he start but Reidie was the only Irish midfielder to last the full 90 as all the fella's around him were subbed.
Player scores from eleven-a-side give him a score of 6 and to save you reading it it says that "Again the centre-point of Ireland’s play but the boys in green were technically and numerically outmatched by Cyprus in midfield".
There's a pretty little green pitch on telegraph with more stats. Reidie, was plainly the centre of everything with a total of 73 passes, with his fellow midfielder Joey O'Brien on 26 and he even had more shots that striker Robbie Keane. MOM was given to Steve Finnan who scored the late equaliser.
Meanwhile, another player, out on the right wing, was Andy Keogh who we may meet again on Saturday as he's one of the 6 players that have played all 10 fizzy games this season for Wolves. And just to keep him fit for the weekend he was subbed after an hour.
But will our talisman be fit for the game on Saturday? Ninety long minutes and the disappointment of non-qualification will have taken their toll on Reid, a man who gives his all for his country, and his appearance at the weekend for another 90 may be in doubt, especially as it seems he hasn't trained all week because of worries over his ankle.
Pardew, you remember, left him on the bench for the first half against Colchester on Sept 15 after Reid returned from the Irish game against the Czech Rep the previous Wednesday when he again played the full 90 minutes. Against Colchester, he replaced Thomas at half-time to try to recover a 1-2 deficit which ended with ZiZi scoring the equaliser.
So unlike the still missing Irish Crown Jewels, will our Reidinho sparkle on Saturday? Pards, the decision's up to you.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Crazy World of the Fizzies

My dog's a bit of a bizarre character, chases flies and ignores cats, shits on top of a wall or bush so everyone can get a whiff, and fights like crazy whenever you take him for a walk but in a funny kind of way his strange behaviour reminds me that life in the fizzies is also a bit of bizarre adventure.
Like one of those fantasy games on your PlayStation, weird characters that you've never imagined, let alone cast your eyes upon, appear before your eyes and try as hard as they can to mess up your day and if they're really being nasty, take away all your points.
And just like the video game, they're too many to count and as soon as you dispense with one, another one pops up and so it continues in the quaint scary world of the fizzies.
The list of available monsters in this strange world seems endless, we've already had Izzy Iriekpen (Scunthorpe), the 6'4" twins from Stoke, Mamady Sidibe and Jon "the beast" Parkin, George - "Big George", please - Elokobi (Colchester), Dele Adebola and Michael "mosquito" Mifsud (Coventry) and last week Kayode Odejayi (Barnsley). Now waiting in the wings is another monster called Seyi Olofinjana.
As mentioned last week he's another 6'4" giant, towering a full 9" over our little irish fella, and a midfielder that Wolves manager McCarthy thinks is the best in the Division. Umm! Rather strange then to see him languishing down there in 77th spot in the actim listings while the real King of the Jungle, Reidie, sits comfortably in 3rd place. Obviously one of those players that not everyone can appreciate.
So anyway, Seyi Olofinjana is from Nigeria, is 27 and has played for his national side 9 times, without scoring apparently, although since his purchase for 1.7 mil in the summer of 2004 he's scored 13 times from midfield for Wolves in about 100 games. Not renowned for his strength in the tackle - stick Ambrose on him Pards - and apart from the Hungarian Denes Rosa, who has yet to play a fizzy game this season, is the only non-British Isles player on the Wolves books.
Incidentally, the Addicks surprisingly, have only 4 players in the actim top 100, Reid, ZiZi at 22, Weaver 40th and Lloyd Sam at number 74 which I suppose shows how worthless are the numbers or maybe shows that we have used more players than most other teams in the League thus sharing the points around. Both our nearest rivals Watford and WBA have used 20 players so far, 4 less than the Addicks, and in comparison, Watford have 7 players in the list while West Brom have a staggering 10.
Whatever, Pards will be one who will not be taking too much notice of these listings. Monsters or not, he'll keep his nerve and blast each one away as and when it appears. Which, I suppose, is just how to attack that video game.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Andy Reid 0 Germany 0

Reports of a swollen ankle were obviously a little exaggerated and the injury was not going to be enough to keep our wee irish wizard away from the fun over there in Dublin. And a home tie against mighty Germany would go some way to compensate for some of those dreary games in the fizzies and he duly took his place in the Irish midfield last night.
The irishtimes reports on the game at Croke Park and although saying that "creativity was conspicuous by its absence", tells us that "Andy Reid and surprise inclusion Andy Keogh worked tirelessly and at times showed neatness of touch and tremendous vision".
Our skipper played the whole 90 minutes and despite the fact that "Reid was overburdened", Staunton displays none of Pardews' ability to change things around and the game rolled on towards a dull 0-0 draw.
The independent gives us an "inventive Reid", well we already knew that, but confirms that the Irish bid for qualification to the Euro finals is still alive which almost certainly commits our wee irish fella to yet another international game in Dublin on Wednesday against Cyprus. And he won't be helped by the suspension to fellow midfielder Lee Carsley.
Meanwhile, our ex-winger Rommedahl was playing in the 1-3 Danish defeat against Spain and despite putting a excellent chance into the side-netting in the first half somehow managed to convince the Real Madrid fanzine AS that he was the pick of the Danish team. Just try watching him every week, Señor AS, you won't give him two stars then.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Wee One Plays, Apparently..

Rugby or football? The question has already been asked by chicagoaddick but what football is he referring too? Do we want to watch the cream of English football play Estonia in the afternoon, the locals Spain play Denmark in the evening, with that little rascal Rommedahl apparently playing on the wing, or do we nip up the Shamrock to get a look at the wee irish fella with the ex-swollen ankle? With both Mrs Nelson and the dog both needing attention, it's a one from three choice and looks like the rugby is out.
Yes, seems the wee one has got over his premature swelling as realised by just about everyone except Pards with the sportinglife telling us he enjoyed full training yesterday while the beeb reports that fluid around the ankle could still be the problem.
The telegraph also thinks the wee one is going to play and lists Reid in the starting lineup and reports Stevie S in belligerent mood by claiming that the Germans recently "had made derogatory remarks about all things Irish". Doesn't everyone, Stevie? And since when did you ever see a German drinking Guinness?
Looks a bit like Staunton is seeking to deflect blame for Irish non-qualification for he it was that omitted the wee one from the game against Slovakia in Bratislava at the beginning of September where the Irish managed to throw away victory through allowing a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw. Sounds a bit familar.
Anyway, the irishtimes, are under no illusions about the visit of non-Guinness drinking Germany to Croke Park, but strangely compare the great wee one to Grannygate Stephen Ireland and add that in his absence "Reid could hold the creative key".
So, sounds like I can hear the Guinness calling.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Or should it read eyes, lies and illusions? Anyway, there's not much else to occupy ourselves with on the last day of the week before a weekend void of football, sorry, void of club football. 'Cause these internationals are OK but if our boys ain't playing its all a bit boring isn't it? England on a plastic pitch, I don't think I'm going to bother. And looks like we won't even be able to enjoy the silky skills of Reidie in a green shirt as he's saving himself for the Wolves game next weekend. Well, there's always the rugby, I suppose.
But meanwhile we can all enjoy ourselves looking at the League table. No, we're not top just yet but it's always best going into the final bend on the shoulder of the leader, and the final bend is months away and lots of things are gonna happen in the next 7 months and nobody's going to lead the table from September till May. So there.
But at the moment Watford are the bees knees with no less than three players in the footballleague team of the week, but strangely no sign of any Addicks. But there's one here that Pards will enjoy, showing the Addicks top on current Form without a defeat in 8 games. Although we now have a settled team the table on players used illustrates our early season new-squad-itis and lists us up there amongst the leaders with 24 players used this season. Meanwhile, our next weeks opponents, Wolves, despite having no less than 14 midfielders on their books, have only used a total of 19.
As for the attendances table, there're enough to make a Spanish Second Division manager weep into his half-time té, with 8 teams averaging over 20,000 a game. We're in 5th spot with an average of 21,945 per game.
But one stat that will shock everybody and make November 10th a day to fear, is the appearance of a ex-player at the top of the shoots-on-target table. Andy Reid, apparently, has hit the woodwork 3 times, more than anyone else as noticed by Richard Murray, and has had the most shots for an Addick, although, sorry Reidie, most were off-target. So who is it with the highest shoots-on-target - why, its our old friend, JF Hasselbaink with 24 on target, although true to form only 3 have actually gone in.
But there's more stats over at actim and there's no surprises here where the little irish fella is streets ahead of the opposition, in the midfield anyway. And although there's no Addicks in the top 5 strikers, there's no sign of JFH either, No surprise there then.
But to add to our delight, who's this named as top goalkeeper; Nicky Weaver, of course. And as with all statistics nothing seems to match, and the full listing seem to defer somewhat, probably due to their given date of 4th October. Anyway, to our amazement there's no sign of Jose Semedo in the top 100. Maybe they don't like them Portuguese johnnies.
So anyway it seems the question on who is the best midfielder in the fizzies is done and dusted, 'cause its all there in black and white and an odd shade of blue.
And for those that are still wondering what to do this weekend here's a useful short on youtube demonstrating the art of Dice Stacking(!) - start practising- , while those with a nervous disposition should look away now.
Apparently that innocent looking laptop of yours can kill you, as explained here. Well, it is a Mac.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Best Midfielder in the Fizzies?

Well, the good news from over there by the Liffey is that after the scan nothings been shown to be broken - thank god for that - but it looks like Andy Reid's swollen ankle will keep him out of the World Cup qualifier against Germany on Saturday and to emphasize the point Sunderlands' midfielder Liam Miller has been drafted in by boss Steve Staunton.
Quite honestly the really good news would be that the ankle kept him out of both the Irish games and left him ready to get fit for the forthcoming visit to Wolves.
Wolves, in preparation for our visit, have also drafted in a new player with the 19 year-old midfielder Darron Gibson joining on a three-month loan deal from Manure. McCarthy can thank Coventry for the move as its due to Manures' exit from the Carling that has lead Fergie to announce recently that his young players would be available on loan after his side crashed out of the Carling Cup to Coventry.
Gibson, will have a tough time getting noticed as he's the 14th midfielder on the Wolves books, and he'll have to battle it out with the likes of the huge 6' 4" Nigerian Seyi Olofinjana, last season's top goalscorer with 11, to get a game in the Wolves midfield. Wolves boss Mick McCarthy has recently hailed the Nigerian the best midfielder in the Championship and had this to say recently about tongue-twister Olofinjana, "If there's a better midfielder in the Championship then I'd like to see him."
Which is the perfect encouragement for our Reidie to get himself fit again for the visit to Molineux on Saturday week. Sit back Mick you're about to see him.
One Point 5 Million, summer buy from Southend Freddy Eastwood is their top goalscorer with 3 but after starting like a train and netting in each of the first three games of the season he's having a bit of a barren spell and hasn't scored in the last 7, so started the last game, a 1-0 last minute goal, home win over Coventry, on the bench.
But with 6 players having started the 10 fizzy games - the Addicks only have two ever-presents, Weaver and Semedo - they have a much settled side but sadly ex-Addick Jay Bothroyd isn't one of them. He hasn't started a game yet and after 6 substitute appearances has scored just once.
Wolves are having a good run unbeaten in four and with only 2 goals conceded in their last five games. From their 5 home games, they've won 3 and lost 2, beating Coventry 1-0, Norwich 2-0 and Blackpool 2-1 but losing to Hull 0-1 and on the opening day of the season, 1-2 against Watford with both Watford goals coming in the last 3 minutes.
So 7th in the table with 15 points, just 4 behind us, it'll be another difficult game for the Addicks and with Wolves only having scored 11 times - only one other team outside the bottom three has scored less - and with the Addicks having scored in every game, we can expect a close, tough encounter.
And before anyone writes in to mention it, yesterday's deliberate mistake was in stating that Fulham are the premier side with most ex-Addicks. Of course, West Ham with their links to the Valley have more with no less that 4 ex Charlton players. Sadly Paul Konchelsky isn't one of them but they still have Carlton Cole, Lee Bowyer, Jonathan Spector and Scott Parker.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tired Psychological Problems

There's another fizzy pop sacking in the news today and it affects Pardews' old mate, and assistant manager at Upton Park, Peter Grant, at Norwich. Phil Parkinson may be uneasy by the news but Pards will be more concerned about the pressure and building workload on his players than changing assistants.
Fresh from denying ZiZi a trip home to play in the World Cup, he's obviously worried about the fitness levels of skipper Andy Reid, who carrying the burden of Ireland seemingly alone, always returns from international duty dead beat. And not surprisingly. Anyone who saw his determined, give-it-all performance against the Czechs last time out, and read his latest interview, will understand exactly why Pards rested him, for the first half anyway, when he returned for the game against against Colchester.
Shame then that Reidie will apparently not be helped in the Irish midfield by the aptly-named Stephen Ireland who will again be absence but not this time because his granny has died.
Psychological problems, however, don't seem to be affecting our loan players as highlighted by chicagoaddick. Its even been rumoured that some of the Big Boys have been taking an interest in our young midfielder Josh Wright. Don't take any notice Josh, your place is with us, well Barnet actually.
It seems that the grass is always greener in every prospective job and even in F1 the soon-to-be ex-champion Fernando Alonso complains to all that will listen that there is a life after McLaren and goes on to list all the ex-McLaren drivers that he has talked too just to convince himself.
But just to illustrate to Josh exactly where his best place is, its obvious that the better-life over the horizon policy doesn't apply to ex-Charlton players. You only have to take a look at the Premier table and notice that the team with the most ex-Addicks, Fulham, is lying an uncomfortable 18th.
Yes, the team of Murphy ( who hasn't started a single game yet), Konchesky and Smertin are not doing too well at the moment and their ranks also contain Clinton Dempsey, whose club New England Revolution was offered $1.5 million by the Addicks in August 2006 but that deal was rejected by MLS as obviously being far too low, before unluckily for him, he finally moved to Fulham for $4m a few months later.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Relax Chris...Anyone Can Make a Mistake

Sorry Chris,
I've just been informed by someone who wishes to remain anonymous that a mistake has been made on this blog.
The fact is we are NOT due to travel to distant Plymouth on Tuesday October 23rd just 3 days after the trip to the wilds of Wolverhampton. In fact the game on the 23rd is against Argyle, but at the Valley. At 8 o'clock I believe, but you better not take my word for it.
But don't take it the training too easy Chris, 'cause I've just noticed from the CAFC site that when we do finally make the journey to far-off distant Plymouth on April the 5th next year we are unfortunately scheduled to play two games that day as it's also the date arranged for the FA Cup Semi-Finals. Tough life or what!
Regards, Nelse

Plymouth Midweek? Not a Happy Chris

Pardew turns tough guy with the news that he wouldn't let ZiZi go home to China in late October to see his mum and at the same time take in their two World Cup games against Burma.
Is Pards turning political after the recent disturbing scenes of demonstrating Burmese monks running for their lives from gun-toting police and is he introducing his own sanctions against the ruling military junta? No, its because we have another burst of 3 fizzy pop games in a week just after the international break and we need our goalscoring midfielder ZiZi. Seems that "international break" doesn't translate too well into Chinese and the Chinese with that odd lunar calender of theirs have got the days mixed up and planned the games a week late.
So, what's that you say? Three games in a week again? Yes, after playing 7 games in 21 days, then nothing at all for 14 days due to the international break the madness starts again with a batch of 3 League games in 8 days. And this time there's a lot of travelling involved with the trio of games starting with a trip to Wolves on Saturday the 20th, then its all the way down to Plymouth for a Tuesday game then back home for QPR on the Saturday. Thats 750 miles in a week with 270 minutes of football thrown in which is all very well for the youngsters and even our 27 year-old Chinaman can handle it but Chrissie Powell must be right upset with the planners.
Over here in Spain there's no international break for Tier Two football, but while there's a few aging legends about, there's no such thing as a desperately needed international player for the calibre of Andy Reid either.
So perhaps with all these games coming up its no surprise to see a mention of new faces at the training ground last Friday as noticed by addickted. Seems our ex-Arse loanee, Alex Song, popped in for a bit of a run-about. Rather odd as the Arsenal Blogs claim he's out injured with a slight calf problem but whatever Alex, with just 18 minutes played in 4 substitute appearances this season, is obviously experiencing the wonderful impatience of youth and is getting fed up only playing for an average of 4.5 minutes per game and is desperate for action.
A full game in the Carling thing against Newcastle, where he played in central defence is not really what he has in mind, but perhaps Pards does as he could use Song for cover of just about anybody. And where better to go than back to where he is obviously appreciated, compared to the nagging doubts he seems to kindle among the Arsenal fans.
And with so much of our play currently going through skipper Reid perhaps its time for Pards to think about taking some of the creative strain away for our little irish fella.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Psychology of Disappointment

Unlike mid-week games, at least we've had one day to get over the frustrations and concentrate instead on our creativeness and the number of chances we had on Saturday.
But it was all rather like that past nightmare of determined efforts to get into that exciting-looking party, you spent nearly an hour-and-a-half knocking on the door before at last your bangs are heard and its opened only to discover that the parties being held by your ex-wife and her new man. And you're lucky to escape further embarrassment when she fails to recognize you due to your exhausted appearance and you can make your escape clutching a meagre can of beer that you managed to snatch.
The reality in the telegraph however chooses to focus not on our good play but instead on the polyglot combination of Barnsley although, despite the wealth of exciting foreigners, highlights the games star performer, Andy Reid. Labelled 'conductor' as he "orchestrated" our efforts, the overall term applied by the papers to the teams efforts appears to be "wastefulness".
There's no player scores from Alyson Rudd at the posh murdoch but he obviously enjoyed some post-match entertaining and tells us that our Reidie has had "a stint at an Italian health farm" to improve fitness and to ensure a regular supply of the black stuff, has just opened a bar in Nottingham called "the runner". Strange name Andy.
And at our friends over at the guardian there's a straight comparison between the Ambrose miss and the late chance spawned by Barnsley.
There's obviously the best report of them all laying waiting for us in the independent, but all I get at the moment is an annoying "The page cannot be displayed". So much for modern technology.
And as an aside, and thinking about servers being down, anyone wanting a quick relief from fizzy football should talk a look at this amusing resubtitled parody of something called isketch. As the video's set in a bunker in 1945 and is in German, it carries subtitles so if you're at work you can turn down the volume.
Anyway, back to the football with the match stats talking of 14 Addicks corners and 16 attempts at goal - our highest total of the season - , although only 6 were on target apparently and although its disappointing to create so much and still not win it has to be remembered that this was the third game running when we have conceded a late goal with all three coming in the last 6 minutes of the games.
And if Pardew wants to try to understand the psychology of his team, perhaps he should ponder on why we are the best team in the League when at a losing position at half-time have come back and won 4 points from that situation, obviously due to his half-time admonishments, whereas at the other extreme we are 21st in a table of 'Points Lost' when ahead.
Yes, once ahead in a game by scoring the first goal, as we often do, we have then failed to kill off the opposition 4 times and conceded goals leading to 9 points lost as experienced against the likes of Scunthorpe, Stoke, Coventry and now Barnsley. And as a consequence of points dropped against these four sides our record in games played against top half teams in the fizzy Table is 15th while against bottom half teams we are 1st in a table with 5 wins and a draw in 6 games.
However, as our big apple correspondent has recently pointed out, due to our summer spending on strikers we have scored at least once in every game played this season and have scored first in 11 of them, so Pards, how can we complain. We're in the top two with 19 points and all we can hope is that we continue in the same way, because none of us wants to read, or even write, articles in May next year entitled "The Psychology of the Playoffs".

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Kites in the Sky?

After a bizarre week with 18 men brawls and subsequent FA hearings pending, another strange day dawns with two Brazilians from Barnsley coming to the Valley with a team currently hot on our tails while the off-beat mood is obviously affecting everyone as reflected in the Addicks Blogs as newyorkaddick bemoans the forthcoming sale of Sooty and recalls horrific happenings from his childhood days while over in chicago we're treated to a preview of the film the Kite Runner, based on a book by khaled hosseini about the story of childhood memories in Afghanistan.
So there is a real life outside football, and its good to see but reality does seem to be a missing concept as far as the predictions go for today, as the Addicks continue in their happy confident mood. Perhaps it's all those miserable years of underachieving struggle that has given me that pessimistic footballing outlook but it's obviously not shared by other Bloggers.
Pedro45 sees it as a 4-0 win, while newyorkaddick, pre-sooty that is, went for a 3-0 home. drinkingduringthegame is another confident one with a 3-0 Addicks victory and at last Barnsley get on the scoresheet with the Kappacino Kid over at hilltovalley forecasting a 3-1 win.
All pretty emphatic then with even WynGrant talking of a 2-1 win although he rather hedges his bets and included the possibility of it being a 1-1 draw.
And over on paddypower all you'll get are odds of 8-13 on a Charlton win with Barnsley priced at a long 4-1. Well, they never make a mistake, do they ? So it looks a cert home win then.
But, compared to the killer Derek Hales, everyone's still a novice. He's forecasted 3 correct Addicks scores in a row and the most important thing today is what's he going to predict? And according to Hales its another cleansheet to keep Weaver happy in a 2-0 win. Well, that'll do very nicely.
As for our opponents, apprehensive about their visit to a place they have never won, they don't have their usual Hungarian in attack so must apparently choose between a Peruvian, a Dane or a Nigerian to form the sharp end of things. I can't think of a more unlikely trio. And not wishing to push the joke too far, but its about three players that having played a total of 1017 minutes of fizzy football so far this season and have managed to score just 1 goal between them. No wonder its a home banker.
But as Pardew highlights, "Barnsley are a good side and they've got a couple of outstanding players, Brain Howard in particular, who we're going to have to keep an eye on". Not missing a trick, Pards has noticed that it's Brian Howard who gets most of the tykes goals, 6 so far, from midfield.
But as Pards prepares his final eleven at 2 o'clock this afternoon, am I going slightly mad or does ZiZi look a dead ringer for Sooty, and with Semedo playing Sweep and Reidie pulling the strings is there a subliminal message coming from over there in New York?
Come 5.50 ( spanish time, that is) we'll all know the reality.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Preview - Barnsley (home)

OK, we'll start with the really bad news; Barnsley have never won at the Valley or Sainburys or Upton Park against us in 20 attempts. There that's over with and out of the way. And don't say I shouldn't have mentioned it, 'cause its already been highlighted on the official CAFC preview as well.
Anyway, better not tell the team as perennial Tier 2 they may be but right now Barnsley are looking pretty tough opposition and after playing the team with most yellow cards in the Division, Coventry, with a total of 18, we now face one known for its aggressive Northern edge - not another one, thank god Lloyd Sam's not playing - that have collected 16 yellows.
Barnsley, a name that rolls off the tongue and being the team that have spent more seasons, 66, at the second level of English football than any other conjures up distant memories of our past in Tier Two football.
But you can forget all that, the game tomorrow is not about the past, its about the future. We can talk of 46 cup finals, as everybody else seeks to put one over "Premier" Charlton, but this game against Barnsley is one that will demonstrate exactly where we are against a team on top of their form.

Twenty games at the Valley ( and elsewhere), and we have 13 wins, 7 draws and no defeats. Overall, its an impressive 17-12 to the Addicks.

The Opponents
Unbeaten in 5
After finishing last season 4th from bottom in their first year back in Tier 2, Barnsley are having a good run. In 4th place with 15 points, just 3 behind us, they've not had a defeat in 5 games. Away from home they've drawn with Colchester and Stoke, beaten Southampton 3-2, and suffered their only away defeat at West Brom 2-0 just over a month ago. They've also beaten Scunthorpe at home 2-0, their only other loss being an opening day upset 1-4 at home to Coventry.
So as a direct comparison against the Addicks, you'll be interested to notice that they've done rather better than the Addicks against both Stoke and Scunthorpe.

Who Are Yorr?
Brazilians? In Barnsley..
For such a died-in-the-wool Yorkshire side, there's a bit of an international squad up there in Barnsley at the moment with two Brazilians Dennis Souza and Anderson De Silva, a couple of Germans in goalie Heinz Muller and full-back Dominik Werling, an Hungarian Istvan Ferenczi, a Peruvian Miguel Mostto, a Nigerian Kayode Odejayi and not to mention Lewin Nyatanga from Derby, that have all featured this season.
They've got a bit of a sharp-shooter in midfielder Brian Howard with 6 fizzy goals, the second highest in the League, although 3 have come from penalties. Number 9 up front is the Nigerian Kayode Odejayi. But we don't have to worry about István Ferenczi from Hungary who, obviously not superstitious, wears the number 13 shirt but unfortunately his lucks out and he's injured.
And a name from the past is the Jamaican international, Number 20 Jamal Campbell-Ryce who made just 3 appearances for the Addicks in his three years here and signed for Barnsley in the summer.
The manager is Welshman Simon Davey, only in the job since November but already showing signs of stamping his own ideas on what was once a dour Tyke team.

The Addicks
Suddenly we're a Settled Side
Yes, it's probable that Pards would now be naming the same team for the 5th League game running if it wasn't for some diabolical provocation from Hull full-back Ian Ashbee last Tuesday. As it is Lloyd Sam will sit out his three match ban leaving a spot open for.....
Well, as we'll need a bit of width with Sam missing and with so many left-sided players, one thing that occurred to me is that he'll keep Andy Reid on the bench for the first half and give Jerry Thomas a chance on the left and play Darren Ambrose on the right.

Weaver; Mills, Bougherra, Fortune, Powell; Semedo, Ambrose, ZiZi, Thomas; Iwelumo and Varney.

Bench: Randolph, Moutaouakil, Holland, Reid, Todorov.

Meanwhile, behind-closed-doors, Cory Gibbs played a full 90 minutes against Ipswich in a Reserve friendly. Mark Kinsella said after the game, "Cory did okay. It was a good workout for him, and we'll obviously see how he reacts in the days after the game." Watch out, Chris...

What Does Pards Say?
Keeping Stum
Still smarting at not being able to play his settled side, Pards has kept stum about tomorrows game.
Home Win 2-1
It'll be a tough game for the Addicks, and Pardew's formation will be key. Tiredness, after Tuesday's brawl at the Gateway to Grimsby may be an issue with Chrissie Powell playing his hundredth game in 3 weeks and the little irish fella not renowned for stamina in this two games in a game crazy fizzy pop League.
But this is a must-win game and with no game for 14 days we have to stamp, not literally of course, our authority over one of our close rivals to get the three points.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Us at the FA...Never...

The Addicks are smiling from ear to ear at the moment especially after West Brom missed their chance to overtake us last night with their 1-1 home draw with Stoke, a scoreline that keeps us in that coveted 2nd spot.
But it's been a very strange week. The pictures from the Hull 18 man brawl ( who was missing ?) and the reports that the FA will be "considering the referee's report and investigating the incident and also looking at video evidence before deciding what further action is necessary," make for some strange reading for an Addick. When have we last been involved in such controversy?
But it completes what has been a definite turn-around for the Addicks and its been compounded and put into focus by an obviously misguided mate from Hull, feed twisted reports from various Hull websites, asking if I am embarrassed or ashamed of being associated with a bunch of hooligans.
So it's pretty obvious at the moment that after the prissy behaviour of the Prem, things are definitely changing around the Valley, with the Addicks getting stuck-in and proving that they can deal with the rough as well as the smooth.
The violence appeared to start with Saturdays draw with Coventry where Pardew accused us of "shooting ourselves in the foot" and then we go to Hull where manager Phil Brown claims he "was mugged in his own back yard"
But there's no doubt that toughness is a necessary attribute in the fizzies and our gaffer has already outlined the fact. After the Stoke game back in August, our only defeat, Pardew said "Percentage football is a big factor in the Championship and we need to grow in that department. We need to be big enough and strong enough to deal with it, and we obviously weren't on Saturday"
And then after further disappointment at Coventry he painfully explained, "We need to learn the discipline of winning away in this division; there are certain tricks and traits that you need and we didn't explore them today."
But we obviously did on Tuesday and so our progress back to the top continues apace. Five victories so far and a total of 18 points when, if you recall, Pards said a month ago that he was looking to get 26 wins this season to get an automatic place. Looking back to last year, Sunderland, the champions, won 27 games and finished on 88 points while Birmingham won 26 to finish second with 86 points.
And if you want statistics, Sunderland collected 1.91 points per game average last season; currently we're ahead of that with a nice round 2 points per game....
Roll on Barnsley.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bye, Bye, Llanera...

Its not often that an English football team is mentioned in the economic sections of the Spanish national papers but the Addicks have managed it. And as a parting gift from our ex-sponsor, in some papers we've already been promoted back to the Premier thing.
And the news has also hit the UK with the telegraph among the first to notice. Insolvent is not a pretty word and there's pictures of people with houses half-build who are definitely more affected personally that the Addicks but after the banks have refused to grant further loans to a company with debts of 748m in that funny European currency it looks like the end of another sponsorship deal.
Desperate to deflect the reason for the collapse the Spanish banking world have pointed the finger at the unrealistic dreams of Fernando Gallego, one of the owners of the company, but have mysteriously failed to mention Charlton's relegation last season as another factor in the company's collapse.
Anyway, lets hope that in future deals the management take more care in the selection of potential sponsors before committing ourselves to unnecessary expense, for as Wyn Grant mentioned a few days ago the same thing happening twice would appear a little careless.
And speaking of unnecessary expense, expect a quick sale of currently labelled merchandise via the shop before we announce the signing-up of another company dying to part with their cash.

Hull City 1 Charlton 2

"Mugged in his own backyard" was how Hull manager Phil Brown saw last nights result but the sportinglife was more impressed by Charlton's "real professionalism" and added that "it bodes well in their efforts to make an instant return to the Premier League."
Brown, still upset after the game moaned about "There's been an injustice served in more ways than one and without getting myself into trouble, we didn't deserve to lose the game."
Much the same was trotted out on Saturday after the draw with Coventry but Pards wouldn't be losing any sleep over what the opposing side have to say and seemed perplexed by it all and in turn added "I've got a bit of a problem with it, Ashbee made a late tackle, kicked him twice and grabbed him round the throat." So we're appealing..
The guardians also seen prettier nights and although the figures in the Sporting Life give Hull more pressure with 7-4 the score of shots on target and a corner count of 8-0, there's also the foul tally of 22 to 13 that probably explains Pardews later comments "They tried to knock us out of our stride and they did that to some degree. We've now had two tough away trips and did look a bit tired. But technically, there's no doubt about us being good enough."
Meanwhile, West Brom play tonight, keen to regain 2nd spot, with a far from easy home fixture against Stoke and looking forward to the weekend both rivals have away games with Watford up at Scunthorpe - 3 wins and only 1 defeat at home - while West Brom have the easier job at Southampton, who not content with having the worst home record in the Division with most goals conceded have now the worst away record as well after losing 5-1 yesterday at Preston.
The Addicks: Weaver; Mills, Fortune, Bougherra, Powell; Sam, Semedo (McLeod 90), Zheng (Sodje 90), Reid; Iwelumo, Varney (Thomas 90).
Subs (not used): Randolph, Todorov.
Goals: Varney 40, Iwelumo 88.
Bookings: Bougherra 33 (foul on Hughes).
Red cards: Sam 42.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Problems Ahead?

The two points dropped on Saturday to a late Coventry equaliser have had the consequence of pushing us out of the top two as West Brom did the inevitable and crushed lowly QPR by an emphatic 5-1.
The last time we suffered such a meaningful late equaliser was the 2-2 draw with Fulham back in December last year in Pardew's first match in charge when a mistake by the referee in giving Fulham a free-kick lead to a last-gasp goal. Those two points dropped haunted us for the next 5 months and we can only hope that we can recover ourselves tomorrow so we can forget the latest slip-up as quickly as possible.
We've had what Pards' foresaw as 4 difficult away games at Stoke, Palarse, Colchester and Monica's Coventry and got ourselves 5 points out of a possible 12 but perhaps we should compare that haul with the team just above us.
As pointed out on Saturday, one of our more serious rivals is West Brom whose impressive home record of 4 straight wins have come against 22nd placed Preston 2-0, 8th placed Barnsley 2-0, 15th placed Ipswich 4-0 and bottom club QPR 5-1 and although they've lost at Sheff. U and Burnley they have got themselves above us thanks to 4 points earned away at high-flyers Scunthorpe and Bristol City.
They've also scored the most goals in the Division and conceded the least and after losing in last seasons Play-Off final against Derby have more experience than the Addicks of life in the Fizzies.
So when do we face them? Well, its our 22nd game on a Saturday 10 days before Christmas, an away game when most of us will be traipsing around behind the missus buying the last minute presents.
The return is game 40 on March 22nd but that's a long way ahead and of more immediate concern to Pardew will be the next game and in the congested Fizzies games come quick and fast and there's another one up tomorrow with a visit to the KC Stadium in Hull.
And it's another buoyant team after a recent win after Hull enjoyed a second home victory of the season on Saturday with a 3-1 win over Ipswich and they'll be eager to get another three points to get them into those tempting play-off positions just two points in front of them.
It'll be their fifth home game of the season and they've already got a point against Stoke in a 1-1 draw and their only home defeat was on the opening day of the season to a late winner from Plymouth but tomorrow's worry for Pardew will be the unfortunate and untimely return to fitness of someone we've meet before, 32 year old Henrik Pederson.
He played his first game of the season after an Achilles problem and scored twice and there's also his old mate from Bolton Jay-Jay Okocha to cause us problems.
And speaking of problems, there's news that around 20 creditors of Llanera have formed a "group" to better address their concerns and have approached a lawyer to press their claims for around 2 million Euros in short term debt and 3 million in total.
There's a good article by WynGrant that explains the issue but the word "mismanagement" is one that comes to mind when despite the current rising cost of mortgages in Spain affecting Spanish buyers, there remains a seemingly endless influx of British buyers all along the coasts of Spain. The fact that the company is a family business has tended to hide the numbers involved but it appears that on a sale income of 6 million Euros in 2006 they paid their managers a total of 30 million!
Looks like another problem soon to come our way....