Sunday, 12 December 2010

Pressure on this afternoon

The pressure is once again on the Addicks this afternoon to beat Walsall and restore their position in the npower League One table. They are now fourth, but they are only behind Huddersfield on goal difference and one point behind the Owls. A win would see them back in second place and one point behind Brighton.

The Seagulls lost 2-1 at Huddersfield and for a moment the pitch after the game looked like an ice hockey rink after a bench clearance as players traded blows. Despite their 0-4 win over us, I am not convinced that Brighton are invincible and I think that Huddersfield are in many ways a bigger threat.

With their financial worries behind them, Sheffield Wednesday beat the Gasheads 6-2, a team that we could only manage a 1-1 draw with them. The Owls have the stadium, the history and the support base and while owner Mandaric may be a chancer, he is nobody's fool.

Other results went our way. Bournemouth lost 0-1 at home to Hartlepool. The Cherries have done well after fears that they might be in a relegation battle, but I don't see them getting promoted. Colchester drew 0-0 at home to mighty Yeovil and I don't see the Oystermen staying the course.

Southampton faltered again, losing 0-2 at home to Brentford, making our Boxing Day home match with the Saints even more crucial. The Bees are on something of a roll which is a concern as what will inevitably be a tired Charlton side faces them at Griffin Park in the paint drying trophy.

See you this afternoon!


Jon said...

In summary

Pressure on

Benson in

Charlton deliver desperately poor performance

Maybe I'm seeing a different game (the stout defence of PP by Wyn and others, suggests this) - but there is a pattern here.
Another game in which we meandered through, letting our opponents grow in confidence (some of their first half clearances had the desperation we know only too well), made several changes around "goal machine" Benson, who managed to miss our two best chances, and took until 10 mins from the end to gain any sense of urgency.

We are still asking our fullbacks to cross the ball, rather than the winger to beat the opposition and cross, although admittedly we have minimal threat when a cross does come in. Presumably it's Kinsella who thinks we still have Luke Young playing right back, and someone clearly told Docherty that Rommedahl was playing, given the pace on some of the through balls.

The decision to sacrifice wagstaff and play Martin, at the time our most influential player by far, further back, behind the entirely without hap Benson and the lumbering Sodje was beyond belief.

Every match shows us both that we need to finish in the top 2 to have any chance of promotion, and that we have only a miniscule chance of so doing. It is not a question of commitment, but of nerve, and the team doesn't have the conviction. Throw-ins in the opponents half that end up with our keeper, crossfield balls that are played behind the target, a central midfield that doesn't push forward or back together, slow decision making...
I'm not saying that PP has to go, but this run of results has largely been achieved against the run of play and today we could easily have lost by 3 or 4 to a side who are not just no Brighton - they are no Hove either. A huge improvement in performance is required, and if he persists with him he will make Benson another Varney. At the moment, he is reminiscent of Clive Mendonca - in every area except goalscoring.

Hopefully due diligence does not include assessing him as an asset.

Anonymous said...

The problem is not just Benson though. We don't have a striker worthy of the name. And here's where i really step out on my own. Our midfield pairing of Racon and Semedo simply are'nt good enough.

Wyn Grant said...

I agree with Daggs that the central midfield is a problem, although I would be more critical of Racon than Semedo. Right back is another weakness.

Jon said...

True enough it isn't just Benson, but the team has been built around him, he has played vastly more than any other striker, and his game is all about scoring goals. Persisting with him to the point of Curbishley like obstinacy is not good for the team or the player.

Right back - I would say is the second issue, and guess what, another PP signing, who came into the side rather dubiously, Solly was looking good, and has kept the berth despite some very poor performances. 2nd half Francis kept throwing the ball in to Semedo, not asking for a return and as Semedo has no left foot, that goes back to Docherty....

Personally given the opposition I think we could have started without Semedo, played Martin and Anyinsah off the striker and actually put them under pressure. We lost 3 pts and 5 GD on Sheffield this weekend, but it looks increasingly as if we should be more worried about Walsall.

Anonymous said...

This is all decidedly OTT.
Francis is a flawed talent, but he has been improving, his crossing is usually good (he has provided alot of assists this season) and although he is sometimes positionally suspect he is a decent strong, fit defender with an aerial presence. He's not as good as Richardson but he has potential (1/2 million for Richardson and peanuts for Francis was good business)

Racon and Semedo have played well this season (Racon improved and Semedo just under his very good best), Jackson and McCormack are competition for these places also so it's no crisis if Parkinson decides to make a change here.

Benson has scored goals this season, as has big Joe. Both can score headers if provided with decent service, and although Benson hasn't set the valley alight yet it is far too strong to suggest he has been (or will ultimately be) a failure. You don't get Rooney for 20k and Benno even on recent showing is vastly preferable to a 1.5m albatross like McLeod.

Fortune is a bonus to have this season, and whilst he hasn't looked brilliant we have Seip and Dailly should we need them.

We have been doing well and winning games, we have no god given right to be in the top 2 and there are teams in this league who have more expensive squads with more sought-after players than us.

It's a long season, doesn't all this flip-flopping tire you lot out?
We had a bad day, there'll be better days to come.