Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The need to score goals

Charlton face Ipswich at Portman Road tonight. The Tractors have a good record at home and they will want to get revenge for their somewhat unfortunate (from their perspective) recent defeat at Charlton when two of the three goals were scored by the famous Welsh international, Owen Goal.

We have a leaky defence and a midfield that often goes awol. However, leaving those substantial problems aside, one can't win matches if one doesn't score goals and we have scored one in three.

I think one of the problems here is Luke Varney who is a like a rabbit caught in the headlights when he sees the goal in front of him. A few years ago Varney was playing for Quorn in the Midland Alliance at the same time that Leamington was in that competition.

The line between success and relative failure in football is very thin. Leamington have a side made up of former Academy players at Villa, Blews, Sky Blues and the Baggies (one or two have played in the Football League). There is a lot of hoofing the ball, but also some fluent passing and occasionally one sees flashes of real skill which suggests that one or two of these players could have made the grade if they had had a lucky break.

In particular, like Varney, they are good at penetrating defences at speed which is why the Brakes have a 100 per cent league record. But I wouldn't take Josh Blake off his postal round and sign him up for Charlton. My point is that Varney lacks the experience and polish that players with a consistent Football League track record have. He may have shone at Crewe but there is a difference between League 1 and the Championship - note the way in which Forest and Doncaster are struggling.

We don't lack strikers, although we have never seen Fleetwood play. It is possible that he may be recalled from Cheltenham when his loan spell ends, given that Pardew is increasingly clutching at any straw - and Fleetwood could just be the firm branch he can grasp to get out of the raging torrent sweeping him and the club towards Relegation Falls.

No doubt Pardew will go for 4-5-1 tonight with Todorov or Gray lonely as a cloud as long balls whistle past them. Given that we will probably lose anyway, I would shake Ipswich with an attacking 4-4-2 formation with Varney on the wing. I would put Todorov up front, perhaps replaced by Gray in the second as he tires and combine them with Dickson. I would drop Bailey who has been having a bad run. Mouto2 at right back, Cranie and Hudson in the centre and Basey over Youga at left back. Holland, Ambrose and Sam to complete the midfield. It may sound crazy, but it's no crazier than anything Pardew has done.

My prediction: a 2-0 defeat, another outing for Pardew's big book of excuses, and real pressure on us for the game on Saturday.


Unknown said...

I think that lineup is spot on, except I'd leave Varney out altogether. What does he have to do to get dropped? We're all concerned about his goalscoring form, but he's not even using his pace effectively; good strikers still stand in the right positions and beat men even if they're low on confidence (they just don't score for a while). I don't think Varney contributes anything: he's poor in the air and he's normally offside.

Wyn Grant said...

You're right, Mike. I just didn't want to be too nasty because I think that he does give his all - it's just that his all isn't good enough.

Anonymous said...

You are both forgetting that we are absolutely bound to lose anyway because if he picks Ambrose ( particularly away from home) its the same as pl;aying with 10 men or possibly less given the encouragement he provides to the opposition.

Anonymous said...


Dave said...

I wandered lonely as McLeod saw balls float high o'er his head,
When all at once I saw the crowd, few of whom were wearing red.
Beside the pitch, behind the goal,
demanding Pardew be on the dole.

Sorry Wyn, couldn't resist it.