A pall of gloom seems to be hanging over other blogs and the lists about tomorrow's game against Southampton. Leaving aside statistics which claim that runs end with the seventh match, is there any basis for these concerns?
Southampton have 'strengthened' their squad, but this seems like a typical Pardew loaning spree without much thought about how the new acquisitions will fit into the squad at all. Indeed, it was clear that Pardew had made an important discovery in football tactics: it is not a team sport. Just put eleven assorted individuals on the pitch, preferably some of them should not speak English, change them around each week and, hey presto, you lose.
Of rather more concern is the report of two of our key midfield players being potentially injured, although Lazarus like recoveries have been known from this situation. I think that Bailey will recover from his knee problem. Racon is a more serious doubt because his hamstring problem seems to be back related and using a player with that sort of injury risks longer-term complications. Racon has been a fulcrum of the side, but I think that to suggest we can't win matches without him is going a bit far.
Pardew will, of course, have knowledge about some of our players, but whether he can use that to good advantage remains to be seen. One should never read results off the table, but nor should one succumb to the reverse effect. Norwich next week is a far more difficult match.
I probably have more friends who are Saints fans than for any other club. My colleague in the office next door and the one immediately opposite him (they could stretch a 'Super Alan Pardew' banner across the corridor, but seem lukewarm about him); the godfather of my eldest granddaughter, Joe the Saint; a friend of forty years standing; my publisher at OUP; and, I discovered this week, my research partner in Biological Sciences.
I think it will be quite a close contest, but I am going for a 1-0 win for Charlton.
Congratulations to the club on making all tickets for the paint drying trophy against Barnet £5. I would go myself but it's a very busy week.