Friday, 9 January 2009

So, farewell then, Hameur Bouazza

Winger Hameur Bouazza has left Charlton to join promotion chasing Birmingham City. Bouazza came in for a lot of stick from the Addickted, and he probably wasn't Premiership level which is why Fulham loaned him out, but he is clearly thought to be good enough for Birmingham.

He did give us penetration down the wings and he did score some very impressive goals. He also failed to take advantage of some chances which was probably while there were so many complaints about him, but the extent of them was a reflection of the 'scapegoat player' phenomenon: fans are reluctant to criticise the team as a whole, or even the majority of them, but pick on one or two players to account for poor performances. More often than not, this is a defensive midfielder who is charged with playing the ball sidewards or backwards - which is what you often have to do to keep possession.

Elsewhere, 'Charlton winger' Dean Sinclair (who he?) has joined Grimsby on a month's loan after featuring at Cheltenham (a clear step forward there, then) while Stuart Fleetwood is being kept on for another month at Brighton.


sm said...

Given that his half hearted defending was the main reason for the opposition goals in the last two home games, I think that he might be a worthy scapegoat.

Anonymous said...

At the QPR match he took 4 corners, none which beat the first defender and missed a straight forward chance in the Derby match to wrap things up.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with you that midfielders often have to pass backwards to retain possession. That is the exact cause of Charlton's lacklustre midfields ever since I've been watching the club.

When Bailey played against Reading earlier in the season he was a revelation due to his movement in the middle of the park, something that Charlton's coaches have clearly neglected to preach to our central midfielders. I was a big fan of Curbs' teams but felt he avoided playing through the middle and often accepted us lumping it long. Reason being that there were no options in midfield. Our players have been like statues in that position for too long, always marked, never moving. Sadly Bailey has lost his movement off the ball and has lost his confidence to hold onto the ball in the middle and develop his own space.

Its no surprise that the best midfielders Charlton have had at the club tended to be those that could spot a forwards pass and hold onto the ball in possession. I'm thinking Kinsella, Parker, Reid and Jensen. The reason some midfielders at the club come in for stick for not passing forward or 'doing much' at all is because they appear technically limited and deserve the jeers, Ambrose springs to mind.

Wenger's ethos at Arsenal has always been to move the ball forward and never to look for a backward pass (except when the ball is in the opposition corners owing to his bizarre aversion to aerial crossing) and it has worked to great effect. The players he coaches often come with limited pedigree but he coaches them to play a game focused on movement and keeping the ball moving forwards. Charltons midfielders showcase the limitations of our coaching and our players I'm afraid.

Blackheath Addicted said...

I think I fall into the category of those who criticised Bouazza, at least in print. But I don't really think this was scapegoating. I found him very frustrating as he was clearly capable of being a key player for us, but too often appeared to be interested only in adding his name to the scoresheet rather than providing as well. His attitude to defending seemed to sum him up. The best that could be said there is that his ineptness when defending meant he was best deployed anywhere else.

Wyn Grant said...

Interesting and thoughtful comments, but I am not convinced that his departure strengthens the side.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting comments, especially from Anon II. However, whatever his limitations might be, I don't see how the loss of Bouazza helps the fight against relegation. The real question is whether Parkinson can pick a better team/system without him than with him. In that context, the problem is who will play instead and will they improve the balance of the side. Ambrose apart, and we are all aware of his weaknesses, the alternatives are all likely to be more defensive, for example Grant Basey. That may be good because we clearly need to "tighten up", but Basey obviously offers much less of a threat going forward and nor is it obvious that he'll help us keep the ball.

It will now be very interesting to see what Parkinson does next. I thought that the experiment of playing Shelvey in a free role behind Burton showed a lot of promise last week and with a stronger bank of four in midfield, able to win and retain more possession it might work well. I also like the way that Parkinson is "stiffening" the back four. We are going to need the breaks, but all is not lost yet.