Sunday 22 March 2015

Royal Crumble

Reading, like their biscuit counterpart above, eventually crumbled

Another 3 goals from the Addicks yesterday with all of them coming in the second half. The late second goal from The Royals made it look closer than it was and we should have had four or five in truth.

Whilst not exactly in top gear I didn't think we were that poor in the first half and we played some nice neat football at time. The defence went to sleep for Reading's fist goal allowing Number 7 too much time and space in the box and he wasn't going to miss.

I guess the last minute reshuffle due to Solly's injury sustained in the warm up didn't help. Overall as seems the case of late the team coped manfully with the defensive realignment. Gomez who had obviously prepared for a centre-half role once again impressed at right back. He will be some player.

Luzon is clearly rather good at galvanizing the team at the break as the lads came out all guns blazing in the second half and produced some of the best football we've witnessed this season. The driving runs of Watt have really added to our attacking play. He was voted man of the match and like Jordan, his cellar must be getting packed with bottles of bubbly.

Tony duly received his final man of the match presentation in Crossbars where the screening of the rugby and £3 a real ale pint initiative seemed well received judging by a larger then usual post match turn out. 

Despite what Clarke said in post match interview it was a clear handball for our first and I see little evidence to support his claim that their defender was pushed, As ever Buyens dispatched the penalty. I believe that's his 7th goal from the spot and he never looks like missing. As I said last week I've never known us get so many pens in a season. As we are it's a good job Yoni is there to dispatch them.

The return of Henderson has been crucial in our good run. it's not just his ability as a keeper but his organisation of the defence. I noticed yesterday that after successfully defending a corner he ran out to speak to Watt presumably about where he needed to do a little better. This wasn't done in an unpleasant way and is good to see.

I've just read from Ketts on Doctor Kish that Yoni's yellow card yesterday means he'll miss the Millwall and Fulham games which is a real shame. I don't think he's been as bad as some make out. There have been lacklustre performance from him I won't deny but never that poor. Then again many folk wrote off Bulot.

On a similar note Eagles had a poor game yesterday but in my view he's not cut out for the striker role. He may do it better with a traditional target man but it wasn't working for him yesterday. 

I was pleased to see Church come and enjoy a goal scoring cameo. He could so easily have scored before he did with his thunderous shot well saved by the keeper. 

A break now until the Long Good Friday appointment with our friends down the road. Of course we always want to win but if we can add to their woes by denying them anything other than a win that'll do for me.

Hopefully we'll be back to full strength for that one. A team that sees Igor and Solly return and Diarra in for Buyens would do it for me.

Friday 20 March 2015

Royal Visit

Following what seemed an unthinkable set of results that have been achieved since the Norwich game, we are well and truly in mid-table obscurity. Normally these last few fixtures would be viewed as an opportunity to blood some youngsters and plan for next season.


However, the volatile nature of our players contracts and several being loans dictates otherwise. Luzon can’t be sure if he himself will be in SE7 at the start of next season let alone anyone else !


If we can hold onto the better players and even, dare I say, add one or two then we’d have a good shout at promotion next term. Whether Roly is of a mind to spend more is open to question. He seems to take the view that we should largely be developing our own players.


As much as promotion is what we should be all about a part of me thinks we’re better off not being a part of “ the best league in the world “ ( this is the league that has failed to provide even one quarter finalist for the Champions League – perhaps they just don’t pay them enough ! ).


The constant changing of dates and kick off  times would seriously pee me off. Add to that the inevitable increase in season ticket prices as well as the ludicrous prices for away tickets ( my lad’s friend, a Saints fan, tells me an away ticket for the Chelsea game was £55 – it was live on Sky !!! ).


On top of all that you can add regular beatings from most teams and patronising comments from the “ TV experts “ who in so doing show themselves to be ignorant of clubs like ours rather than add any value.


I think that those of us who so badly misjudged Luzon can continue to eat humble pie with seemingly every game. It’d be harsh to blame him for last Saturday’s defeat to Rovers when his team defends that.


However, he does get credit for having the nous to determine that there was little point in playing the ball on the deck at Blackpool. Get it up there was the aim and you can’t say it didn’t work.


My initial fear that players wouldn’t respond to him were misplaced as they seem to have taken to him very well. That includes those we were led to believe had an axe to grind.


Sadly for us Addicks the Championship season doesn’t run March to March or we’d be right up there. Whilst Luzon’s achievements to date don’t quite match those of Riga’s he has done a job that is almost as impressive.


I know as a supporter I’ve rarely felt so low as I did at the time of his appointment. Happily a lot has changed since and Valley visits have again become the joy they ought to be ! 


It’s a shame that we’ve had to endure such awful early and mid-season periods for the last two campaigns.


On to Saturday then and we entertain a Reading team that is bound for Wembley next month. Will this prove a distraction ? Not if last week’s opponents are anything to go by. One assumes their players will be pushing for a starting place in the semi.


I expect us to be a match for them though and if we can avoid the errors that marred our last home performance then it should be a cracking game. If there are three goals then it’s odd on we’ll come away with the points.


As for our starting eleven again it’s a tough one to call. I think I’d prefer Bulot to Eagles as he offers us natural left sided play. Happy with either Buyens or Diarra starting. I know Church is up against his old team but leave aside the sentimentality and if fit, Igor should start.


The expense of the Wembley trip may stop a few Royals from travelling but it would be good if we can have a good home turn out especially with the fixtures running out fast. Hopefully that will see a more upbeat atmosphere than the one which greeted the players last Saturday.


Come On You Reds !

Sunday 15 March 2015

A Bad Day At The Office

Oh dear !

A rather subdued atmosphere greeted the players as they came out to play each other for the third time of asking this season. Sadly for the Addicks the result was the same as the previous two. 

Unfortunately the game was up in the first half as two rather basic errors gifted Rovers the first two goals and their players are clinical and don't need a second invitation.

I doubt anyone would have selected a different side to the one Luzon chose yesterday and the team has responded well to changes in personnel during his tenure to date. However, those changes have largely been forced due to suspension or injury. 

A real shame that our defence had a collective off day. In addition, the rest of the team weren't really on it either. Cousins was once again man of the match and that cellar of his must be pretty full by now.

Despite all that we did rally in the second half and had Igor's header gone in or Watt scored then you'd have fancied us to win. As ever the fine margins play a part.

Buyens once again coolly despatched the penalty. I can't remember us having had so many penalties in one season.

Another aspect of this season is that it the only one I can remember where no game has been postponed or cancelled due to bad weather or a cup clash. Odd games have moved a day but not one cancelled or postponed as I say.

Generally I think most Addicks are happy to put yesterday down to a bad day at the office. A real shame for the visiting Belgians in the west stand. 

On to Blackpool beach on Tuesday. Going back a few years and the lads could have trained in the sand pit in Upper Belvedere. My one trip to Blackpool for football was the infamous defeat under Pardew and I'm in no hurry to go back.

Good luck if you are going. I expect the lads will be determined to put on a better show than yesterday.

Finally, happy mothers day to all the mums out there ! 

Friday 13 March 2015

Albert Ross Signs On Loan

Ok, so no we haven’t signed a player called Albert Ross and yes, it is all nonsense with a ridiculous play on words that suggests we have a partner for Eagles whose name has similar golf connotations. If he did exist then he would of course play on either wing and love the music of Fleetwood Mac.
If I’m struggling for an opening paragraph then occasionally it doesn’t hurt to write some old rubbish. Sadly it tends to go on to permeate throughout the whole piece and today is no different !
A return to S.E.7 this Saturday for the Addicks – dare we hope for another 3 goal thriller and a points total to match ? Let’s hope so as I’m rather enjoying this recent run and aside from lifting collective spirits it hopefully convinces our better players that it might be worth lingering around “ our gaff “ ( that’s for the benefit of a regular reader but please don’t think I’m encouraging you ! ) a little longer.
Blackburn are still involved in the cup and no wonder as they overcame the biggest hurdle in beating us in the third round. However, I don’t expect them to be too distracted at present because the replay with Liverpool is not until 8th April.
In midweek Rovers managed a last minute goal to secure a win over Lancastrian rivals Bolton. That Jason Steele was man of the match tells you that it was a fought victory. 
Things have settled down of late for Blackburn following turbulent times with the Venkys and plethora of poor managerial appointments.
Gary Bowyer seems a level headed and calm manager and probably just what the doctored ordered as far as the Ewood Park outfit are concerned.
Rovers are in good form and will provide the toughest test since Derby. However, given our own recent good form the lads should be up for the challenge. One hopes that Henderson and TBH will return. Young Gomez will probably appreciate a rest and we have a midweek game coming up and squad rotation hasn’t harmed us at all of late.
The pilgrimage to the Valley has been so much more enjoyable of late and again I’m really looking to the game. Last time at home we acknowledged the wonderful Cousins. Hopefully we can so again on Saturday before acknowledging the wonderful mothers on Sunday.
Come On You Reds !

Thursday 5 March 2015

Our Perfect Cousins

CAFC Player of the Year 2014-15
Life at Charlton has certainly never been dull this season but of late all the excitement is thankfully occurring on the pitch !
The two 3-0 home wins that followed the Norwich nightmare were followed up by perhaps an even more impressive 2-1 win over Forest. I say more impressive as one needs to take into consideration injuries and a new make up of the team. In addition, the changes made at half time either due to injury or perhaps tactical were so very effective. 
Like most I was concerned when I looked at the side Luzon put out on Tuesday with  Solly, Johnson or Gudmundsson all missing from Saturday’s win. In addition, it took a while took fathom who was playing where. All credit to the manager as it’s hard to fault the set up and system that went on to secure the win against the tricky trees. 
Bulot scored twice in another good performance form him to underline what a good player he is and how he has been so badly misjudged by many Addicks.  
Of course there were so many excellent displays across the whole 14 that graced the pitch. You’d have to include Le Point in that as we witnessed an altogether better cameo from him as opposed to last time out ! 
Most notable of all was Cousins. What a player and what a character. He never appears to moan wherever he plays although we all knew long ago he should be in centre-mid. His performance was a man of the match one despite contention from Freddie with the two goals. 
Jordan was somewhat unlucky not to win player of the year last season. He must be a clear favourite at this stage. He’s always full of running and energy allied to great determination. 
It’s rather appropriate to compare his standing in the football world to that of Diego Poyet. Diego was magnificent for us last season and when receiving the player of the year award in May things looked very rosy indeed for him. 
Sadly, he hasn’t been very well advised it would seem. His agent should have either had him sign a new contract with us or if moving to a Premiership club insist that Poyet was loaned straight back here or some other Championship club. 
Since his move to the Boleyn Ground he has been treading water as far as his career is concerned. He has made 3 appearances for them – one in the league cup and certainly one or two as a sub. He got loaned out to Huddersfield and played twice there. 
It’s a shame for Diego as he is such a promising, accomplished player with great potential. I sincerely hope for his sake that things turn around not least because of his achievements and performances for us last season.
Poyet’s now at a stage where he doesn’t seem to even make the bench for the Hammers. He may be earning more than Cousins but I’d reckon that Jordan would command a bigger transfer fee and hence wages too. 
Cousins displays maturity beyond his years both on and off the pitch and is a real credit to the club. It’s great to witness one of our own doing so well and with such style. It’s one of those things that makes you so proud to support the Addicks.   
Onto Cardiff on Saturday then and despite their midweek win you’d have to expect that we can get something there. Having Tan as an owner cannot be easy but Russell Slade has a big job on his hands as the expectation of the fans is so much greater than it really ought not to be. 
Many clubs bigger than Cardiff haven’t bounced back after relegation from the top flight. In a number of cases ( I wonder who I’m thinking of ? ) matters get considerably worse. 
Aside from up front pair if the injured players return then Luzon has a real job on his hands in selecting the team. In a matter of weeks the squad has transformed and there is real competition for places with nearly everyone capable of doing a job. 
Good luck to everyone travelling to the Principality on Saturday. 
Come On You Reds !

Sunday 1 March 2015

Steaming Ahead

Good signing - Tony Watt x 3

It seems that Tony is getting his career back on track. Following another good performance yesterday he collected another man of the match award. At this rate he'll need a bigger cellar for all the champers.

Watt has good close control and makes positive runs. His second and our third goal yesterday was a delight. Shades of Mendonca at his finest I'd say and we all know how good he was especially with his back to goal.

I was ever so slightly critical of him in the first half where I thought he wasn't selfish enough. On a couple of occasions he got into good positions and seemed overly keen to pass instead of taking a shot himself. The aforementioned goal showed what Watt can do when he does take that approach.

Yesterday's game was quite a comfortable win for the Addicks and indeed should have been more emphatic. Better finishing and a calmer approach would have seen us two or three more to our total.

Gudmundson again weighed in with another goal resulting from another good strike. You always fancied him to make the most of the free kick. It was nice for Johann that on this occasion he scored and we went on to win as that so often hasn't been the case this season. 

There were two changes to Tuesday's team with Cousins come in for Wilson and Gomez in for the injured TBH. Surprisingly Church made an appearance on the bench.

Right from the off The Addicks were on the front foot and that positive approach has been quite notable from the last few games. Perhaps the dire first half performance against Norwich was the catalyst for the change and ultimate turn round in our fortunes. Whatever it is it's most welcome and the football is a lot easier on the eye as a consequence.

Huddersfield's main threat came through Miller who was giving young Joe a torrid time. He is a most promising player however, I couldn't help but think that Bikey would have sorted him out. Fortunately Miller is not a noted goal scorer as with better finishing he could have easily joined Watt on a brace.

The bumper crowd and fantastic reception given to Chris Powell all went towards making it an almost perfect day. Charlton managed not to make a horlicks of it all on this particular football for a fiver day.

The bumper £4 programme ( why ? ) contained details of next term's season tickets. The price of my ticket has been frozen apparently but will cost me £25 more ! Hmmm, more easily explained by the marketing department than semantics.

Our third 3-0 win in two weeks and how the footballing landscape has changed as a result. Still much work to do to be safe from relegation and I always feel we're only one or two significant injuries away from being back to square one. However, we have managed to win competently twice now without Wiggins and the Valley Review editor.

Is it time to reappraise Luzon ? The team has certainly turn itself round from the debacle of Watford and fiasco of a first half against Norwich. It must be down to more than just playing players in their rightful positions. You'd like to think so and that Guy has a clear view of how the team plays and it is be implemented on the pitch.

On to Tuesday then and another midlands team once managed by the great Brian Clough. Forest will pose a real challenge and with them likely to come with a positive attitude it should be a good game as Brucie would say.

In addition, for the second home game in a row another former Charlton manager and legend will be on the oppo's bench. Robin Michael Lawrence is the current assistant manager at the City Ground. He will receive a warmer welcome that the manager who is so closely associated with the Nigels.