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Sunday, May 06, 2007

37 of 38 - Spurs (home)

With both Weat Ham and Fulham winning yesterday it really is must-win time. Its taken a long while getting here but now its down to the maths. The Addicks are now in the difficult, with a capital D, position of having to beat Europe-chasing Spurs tomorrow and then getting a win at Liverpool on the last day of the season. Even if that impossible double is achieved, we'll still need the results at Old Trafford and/or Middlesbrough to go our way. Its all a bit of a tall order and one wonders if there's any fire left in the team, and Pards, to continue fighting.

As for Spurs, 5-1 in December wasn't it? The big question is, can we do better this time? Without a win in 5 games and only 3 goals scored, our recovery has all gone a bit flat and the obvious answer is therefore no, but hey this is football, you gotta have belief and all fat ladies have been banned till the last day at Anfield.

So what of Tottenham? 6 wins in their last 9 games scoring a massive 22 goals into the bargain have taken Spurs up to 9th in the table, and just a couple of points away from a UEFA spot next season and now with a couple of games in hand. In those nine games there's only been 1 defeat, away to Chelski 0-1. In fact, you have to go back to February 10th to see their last major hiccup, a 1-2 defeat away to Sheff U.

And in keeping with their late run towards Europe, they keep going till the end of every game with 7 of the those 22 goals coming in the last 10 minutes.

So a win, or even avoiding defeat, for the Addicks looks difficult. But there's a couple of things to bear in mind. Of the 5 away games Spurs have played against the bottom 6 teams they have only won once - against the Hammers and they've not kept a clean sheet away from home in the last 13 games. And its not so hot in away London derbies either. They've lost at the Arse 0-3, Chelski 0-1, drew at Fulham 1-1 and Watford 0-0 and only have that one win against the Hammers 4-3.

But they do like to attack. That 4-3 result against the Hammers at the beginning of March does show their style exactly. Two goals down at half-time, Jol gave 'em the pep talk and the game was won with Berbatov and Stalteri scoring at the death. So its a total of 52 goals scored, the fifth most in the Premiership, but the same number conceded. Failed to score 10, clean sheets 5. Defensively the Addicks are close to that with 56 goals let in and 11 clean sheets and we've failed to score 13 times. Strangely enough the time that both teams concede the most is in the 60-70 minutes so expect fireworks around the hour-mark .

And if we let them score first, remember that only once this season have we come from behind to win ( Aston Villa, home) and of our 8 victories, only one ( Villa, again) has been when our opponents have scored.

Spurs 4 Charlton 3

Last season, of course, was that disappointing game in October which saw our second home defeat of the year and was after the Addicks went 2 up and then let in 3 goals in the last half-hour to lose 2-3. The year before was a rare double for the Addicks over Spurs with our 2-0 home win following a 3-2 at White Hot lane where we'd gone 3-0 up before another late Spurs revival.

Unfortunately, history shows that they often do well at the Valley. Of the 24 games played, they've won exactly half with the Addicks winning only 8 times. Even in our best season over in the Premiership, 2003-04, Spurs won 4-2 here although that year we also won at their place. They also won at the Valley in 2002 (1-0). So, of the 7 games played in the Premiership at the Valley its Spurs 4 Charlton 3...

And overall its Spurs on top with 24 wins to 16 with 9 draws.

The Opponents
Keane and Berbatov

These two are now the accepted front pairing, which at least means that Defoe will be sat on the bench getting a sore arse. They've scored either 20 or 21 goals each this season, depending on who you read, in all competitions, though Mr D is not far behind with 16. So obviously goalscoring is not a problem. They've also got the second highest number of goalscorers, after manure.

They've now got Ledley King back in defence after 4 months out with injury - which could help to explain their bad defensive record - and he'll line up beside Dawson with probably Jenas, Zokora, Malbranque and one other in midfield.

The Addicks

This could well be Scotty Carson's last game at the Valley and if we go down its odds-on that Darren B will also be on his way. And after Thatcher seeing red at Blackburn he'll not be playing against his old club for whom he featured 36 times.

As we said before, in December at White Hot lane we had what will probably be the same back four come Monday - Young, El Karkouri, Diawara and Hreidarsson and we conceded 5! There's the Elk's injury at Blackburn that may keep him out and if so it'll be Madjid that steps in. But after playing Sam, Kish, Faye and Hughes in that game in the midfield at least mondays line-up there will be a little different.

Holland and Song are a must with possibly ZiZi also being seen for the last time. Faye seems a little forgotten and has not been seen since he gave way to Holland on the hour at Everton, three games ago so it looks like Ambrose and either Rommedahl and Thomas out wide. And captain Darren up front.

At this point in the season, there's not really Predictions as such, that's Lawrensons job, who of course sees a 2-1 Spurs victory. No, these now are more desires than anything else. So 2-1 to the Addicks it is then and if it isn't a home win then you better enjoy watching Darren Bent playing in red 'cause the next time you see him he'll be wearing somebody else's shirt.

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