Saturday, 25 October 2014

Billionaire swoops for Palace

American billionaire Josh Harris is on the verge of taking over at Crystal Palace according to press reports this morning: Crystal Palace

However, it should be emphasised that it is by no means a done deal: Speculation premature?

Friday, 24 October 2014

Charlton lose at the Cottage

Two goals for Fulham in the first eleven minutes led to defeat for Charlton at Craven Cottage tonight. Lacking four regular first team players, Charlton staged a spirited fight back in the second half but to no avail with Fulham adding a third in the closing minutes.

The first attack from Fulham almost led to an own goal from Morgan Fox, in for Wiggins, but Solly retrieved the situation. However, after a foul throw decision, Charlton won the first corner of the evening, but Bikey’s shot went five yards wide. Moussa put it wide when he could have put the ball out to Solly on the right.

Solly gave the ball away and the unmarked Parker put the ball into the roof of the net on five minutes. Ben Haim put in excellent work to frustrate the next Fulham attack. There was a late flag against Tucudean who was onside.

Henderson made an initial save, but the follow up saw Fulham made it 2-0 through Rodallega on 11 minutes as the rain came pouring down. Charlton’s passing game wasn’t working. They were giving away possession too much. Parker was finding too much space in midfield.

A good ball in from Fox gave Charlton a corner, but the keeper saved. Charlton had settled down and were having a better spell of possession, but then Fulham attacked again. Jackson got a gash over his right eye and had to go off for treatment. He had a bandage on his head.

Charlton nearly conceded a third from Hoogland after the popular Parker, who was serenaded by the Addickted, won a free kick.

Fulham won a corner on 33 minutes, but Henderson claimed it. Bikey made an important interception. After some good work on the right, Charlton won a corner which was cleared. After losing his man, Bulot shot well wide.

When Charlton did get the ball, they were closed down.

Half time: Cottagers 2, Addicks 0

After good work by Bulot Charlton won a corner, which was followed by a second. A shot by Bikey was deflected and then led to a third corner, and then a fourth which was cleared.

Charlton won their eighth corner which was cleared. Fulham counter attacked, but Wilson defended well and got the ball back to Henderson.

Burn put the ball in the net for Fulham, but it was ruled offside. Moussa turned and put in a shot with his right foot, but it went just past the post. He was then taken off and was replaced by Gudmundsson. Bulot moved up alongside Tucudean.

Gudmundsson made an early impact, winning Charlton their ninth corner, followed by their tenth and then their eleventh. This ended in a goal kick, but it was a good spell of pressure from Charlton.

Fox was taken off and replaced by Ahearne-Grant with Jackson coming out to the left. Ahearne-Grant twisted and turned to put in a shot which led to a corner. Bulot pulled his hamstring and Morrison came on with Bikey going up front. Bulot is likely to be out for a few weeks, adding to our injury list. A dangerous Fulham ball flashed across the goal. Bikey clattered Parker. In the 88th minute Rodallega scored the third for Fulham as Morrison slipped over. Wilson hit the inside of the post but the offside flag was raised anyway.

Possession was 50-50, Charlton led on corners 13 to two, but of 23 Charlton shots on goal, only three were on target.

Bookies make Fulham favourites.

The bookies have made Fulham firm favourites for tonight's clash at Craven Cottage. Fulham are 4/5, a draw is 5/2 and Charlton are 7/2.

Igor Vetokele will not be available and Gudmundsson is also unlikely to play. Buyens is suspended. However, Chris Solly will be back. Scott Parker is available for Fulham after being rested for the game against Rotherham earlier in the week. Against Norwich at the weekend 'He was the first target for every Fulham pass, but frequently won possession and launched attacks.'

Our track record against Fulham is not good. They won the last meeting 4-0 at Craven Cottage in the FA Cup in January 2012. The last league meeting ended as a 2-2 draw at The Valley in the Premier League in December 2006. If I remember rightly, this was when the lino made an offside decision against us that contributed to our relegation.

Fulham are unbeaten in the last six meetings in all competitions, winning three. Charlton's last win was 2-1 at The Valley in the Premier League in December 2004. Fulham are unbeaten in the last 10 meetings at home in all competitions, winning seven. Charlton's last win there was 3-0 in the old Division Two in April 1986.

Although they are 22nd in the table, Fulham are 7th in the form table above Charlton in 14th. Fulham have lost only one of their last six games in all competitions, winning four and drawing one. Their only defeat since 20 September was 2-0 at Middlesbrough in the Championship on 4 October.

Fulham have won their last three home games in all competitions, against Doncaster, Bolton and Norwich. Their one goal win against Norwich 'did little justice to their superiority' according to The Football League Paper.

Against Norwich, Fulham were dominant in central midfield. Bob Peeters has refused to say whether he will use Jordan Cousins in midfield. Many Addicks think that he is better there than on the wings.

If we can get something out of this encounter, we will be doing well.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Results are better than the stats

A couple of Addicks have been taking a look at the stats for the season so far. One reports: 'We've averaged 44% possession; had a total of 114 shots to the opposition's 205; with 40 on target to their 57; and 16 goals to their 12. Behind these stats are our 40 corners (only 14 at home!) to their 118.'

'If you want to be positive, then we have a much higher percentage of our shots on target, and of those on target, we score 40per cent whereas they only get half that.'

Another Addick commented, 'We have had more possession than our opponents only once in the last 8 games! That is consistent with our season to date: for example in our last 5 games we have only managed a total of 29 efforts on goal (around 6 a match) compared to 80 by our opponents over the same games (an average of 16 attempts per match).

So what are we to make of this. The glass half empty view, as represented by Derek from Dymchurch, would be that we have been riding our luck and will eventually get found out.

The glass half full view, which I prefer, is that we have found a way of coping with the weaknesses of a relatively thin squad vulnerable to injuries to key players. We have a strong defence, exemplified by Bikey, a point made in this report of the Bolton game: Defensive display . If we get a bit more pace and penetration going forward, we would be a real threat.

It should also be noted that we have beaten the two teams in the promotion places. Of the four teams above us, we have beaten one and drawn with two (one yet to play). So there are grounds for some optimism, particularly if we strengthen in the January transfer window.

In this connection, reports of Bob's dinner meeting with Roland are mildly encouraging whilst not containing any firm commitments about strengthening the squad to the extent necessary to push for a play off place: Squad strengthening

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Charlton cling on for win

Charlton beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1 at The Valley last night to go 7th in the table. The Addicks had just 38 per cent of the possession. Charlton had one corner to 14 for the visitors.

The Addicks took the lead with their first real chance. Yoni Buyens spotted Tucudean's run behind the Bolton defence and played a clever ball over the top for the Romanian, who raced towards goal and fired beyond Andy Lonergan.

The Bolton players did not let their heads drop as former Charlton defender Dorian Dervite headed narrowly over from a corner before Beckford missed the ball when in front of goal.

But Charlton doubled their lead early in the second half when Tucudean squared a pass for captain Jackson to slot home. Moxey gave Bolton hope when he drilled in from the edge of the area, and Dervite came close to heading in a late equaliser, but Charlton displayed great team spirit and kept their defensive shape to hold on for the win. Ben Haim played a key role in the defensive effort.

Buyens is suspended for Fulham after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.

Derek from Dymchurch writes, 'Let's face it, apart from a few patches, we were outplayed for most of the game, but once again we managed to ride our luck. A special word for Cousins who never gave up chasing and harrying.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Addicks 'perennial strugglers' says Lennon

New Bolton Wanderers manager Neil Lennon has labelled Charlton the 'perennial strugglers' of the Championship, although he admits they have made a good start to this season: Lennon

Lennon comes to The Valley fresh from a 1-0 victory over Birmingham last Saturday which has led to the sacking of their manager Lee Clark.

The absence of Igor Vetokele with an Achilles problem will be a concern for the Addicks.

It will be a return to The Valley for Dorian Dervite whose departure I regretted at the time. On Saturday he was 'brilliant in the air' according to the Football League Paper.

Indeed, with the exception of Jermaine Beckford who 'struggled to make an impact' the whole team seems to have played well. Lonergan in goal made some 'smart saves', while McNaughton was 'solid at the back and caused problems for Birmingham when he went forward.' Matt Mills was 'disciplined in his defensive duties' and Dean Moxey 'made a number of vital blocks.' Skipper Jay Spearing was 'tenacious' and Neil Danns 'shielded his back four brilliantly'. Lee Chung-Yong 'showed off his quick feet and extensive passing repertoire'. Darren Pratley 'put in some teasing crosses'. It isn't going to be easy.

The last meeting ended as a goalless draw at The Valley in April. Bolton have won only one of the last seven meetings in all competitions. Their only win since 2006 was 2-0 at home in December 2012. Charlton are unbeaten in the last four meetings at The Valley in all competitions, winning three. Bolton's last win there was 1-0 in the Premier League in October 2005.

Odds are: Charlton 5/4, Draw 23/10, Bolton 11/5

Monday, 20 October 2014

Peeters for mother ship?

Rioting fans forced the abandonment of Standard Liege's match at the weekend and tried to reach Roland in his box. The club is now just above the relegation zone.

The Belgian press is speculating that Bob Peeters may now be asked to return to the mother ship, but this does not seem like an immediate or very realistic prospect: Bob Peeters

Roland is travelling to England today and is expected to be at tomorrow night's match against Bolton, but this trip has been planned for some time.

Bob Peeters has subsequently ruled out any move to the mother ship: Staying in SE7