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Monday, October 30, 2006

Only a Point

After the let-down of the promised “Big Week”, with its two supposedly easy games against Fuham and Watford we’ve now just completed "Huge Week" featuring games against Bolton in the League Cup and Newcastle in the Premiership.

So are there any crumbs of comfort to take from the week? Well, one good thing is that, including the Watford game, we’ve now managed three clear sheets in a row which must prove that the defence is coping, with El Karkouri being given man-of-the-match by one paper. But as with life in general when one thing goes well something else fails and so it seems with our attack. We only have one headed Marcus Bent goal to show from our efforts over the three games. Our forwards are getting fewer chances and are snatching at the ones that they are getting.

But be positive you say. If you had whispered in my ear last weekend that your crystal ball had told you that we would end the week unbeaten with an away point and a place in the next round of the Cup, I would have been pleased, surprised but pleased.

But I need more reassurance, more facts and as the wonders of technology have failed to reach the wilderness here I have had to reply on words and impressions rather than seeing for myself. Is it best to read the friendly Blogs first? They’ll be biased, of course. Some players they won’t like because of past performances, conversely some players can’t do no wrong. The newspapers are more open, hopefully, but annoyingly sometimes choose to concentrate on a topic outside the game to make it interesting(!). Harry’s TV problems, the ex-players jinx etc.

The newspapers don't give me much confidence. I read words like “abject”, “feeble” and "dishevelled" that don’t play well with my indigestion. And of course, the players are reading the same reports as well and that can’t be good and if results don’t improve soon the players are going to lose what belief they may have at the moment.

But whatever the reports say, it has proved to have to been a week of lost opportunities. We all hoped for more than a draw against Watford at home, what better chance to get three points. And then meeting a below-strength Newcastle, without Owen, Dyer, Emre, Martins and Ameobi - what an opportunity to snatch something. Fulham went there and did just that coming from behind with 2 late goals to win the three points. How far away are we from achieving the same? Even Monica says we didn't deserve anything. Since when has that been important?

So make no mistake, its only October but we are definitely in a relegation battle. Every game from now on is going to be a cup final; every single one of them is vital if we want to stay in the Premiership. Next up are Man. City, another club suffering from bad results and just 4 points above us. They also have the worst away defence having let in 13 goals away from home.

Going back to the Newcastle reports - telling it like it was is chicagoaddick who says that Marcus Bent was our best player. It shows what a strange game it is that some reports say the team played better when he was replaced. The telegraph is a bit positive and apparently saw the entrance of Bryan Hughes as a general improvement while the Observer as usual dismisses us as abject and feeble. The guardian simply says we were bad.

All the footballing textbooks will tell you to start at the back. First get a strong defence, good goalkeeper and build from there. After three games not having conceded a goal I suppose that we at least have that.

For the record the Charlton team was (4-4-2): Carson, Young, El Karkouri, Diawara, Hreidarsson; Rommedahl, Holland, Faye, Reid (Kishishev 71); D Bent, M Bent (Hughes 59).
Subs: Andersen (g), Hasselbaink, Fortune. Booked: Faye.

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