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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Homing in On West Bromwich

So how would you forecast the result of a game between a team in 2nd place that hasn't won at home for 3 games - and 7 weeks now - and the 3rd placed team that has won their last 4 away games without conceding a goal and who haven't tasted an away defeat for 8 weeks?
Well, I suppose you can check the bookies who despite the stats are sitting on the fence and seem to favour a draw come the weekend.
How about the effect of missing players through injuries or suspensions? Full of excuses last weekend, West Brom claimed a 2-1 away win over Leicester without 9 (!) regular first team players - Bostjan Cesar and Paul Robinson both suspended, Dean Kiely (broken toe), Carl Hoefkens (hamstring) and Kevin Phillips, Ishmael Miller, James Morrison, Martin Albrechtsen and Neil Clement ( all out with knee problems). How many will make a return this Saturday is unknown but Deano is definitely out and the 19 goal strike duo of Phillips and Miller are also very doubtful with Phillips just returned to training this week.
The Addicks also face a few selection problems of their own. As Wyn Grant outlined yesterday, the left-back position remains a bit of a concern with Sir Chris hopefully not suffering any concussion from the Ipswich game.
There's also no Lloyd Sam and no Danny Mills both after collecting 5 yellows and perhaps more important, no Jonathan Fortune because of his very late punch last Saturday. Bougherra will no doubt fill-in at centre-back with Moutaouakil coming in at right-back but unless Thomas is fit to play on the right it means Darren Ambrose, just when he's found his best position, moving back out to the wing.
But back to the forecasts. Some people favour the current form to see who's giving their manager a hard time. Charlton are 3rd with 12 points from the last 18 while West Brom are 6th with 11 points from the last 6 games which illustrates their failure to win at home....
Others like to look at the history. And for all their 129 years, one Championship - Tier 1 that is - and despite their impressive 71 seasons in the top flight/Tier, our record against them is quite good with the Addicks winning 7 and gaining 6 draws in the 23 League games played and just 10 defeats in our games there. And our last win at the Hawthorns was the last time we travelled there, a 2-1 win in Sept 2005 - in the Prem, of course. In fact we've won our last 4 games there, including a League Cup win in 2001, conceding only 1 goal in the process.
Can we make it 3 wins in a row in the fizzies with win number 12? In a game of the Fizzies highest scorers against the third best defence, I'm just waiting for Killers' bet.

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