Despite our stirring performance and three points gained against Ipswich, Watford's goalless draw in a difficult game at Stoke yesterday and West Brom's last minute winner at Leicester, have both proved that it's becoming extremely difficult to dislodge the top two. Watford, in particular, have struggled of late but after 21 games are now on the magic 40 points and can now put any relegation fears behind them.
The Addicks, meanwhile, have 37 points but it's worth remembering that at this point in 1999/2000 after 21 games we had the same as Watford now, 40 points, and that was before our 12 game winning run. Early in the season Pardew gave us his goal of 26 wins with probably 8 draws to give us 86 points, the same as 2nd placed Birmingham last season and to be on that schedule we need to win the next two!
So who's next? Well, its more good news for Watford fans as the two teams behind them battle it out at the Hawthorns, while they have a home game against Plymouth.
Despite our very good away record you never can tell with Charlton and with only 1 home defeat and 21 goals scored at the Hawthorns it looks like being a home win but then things have not gone so well for West Brom at home recently. After easily winning their first 4 games at home, they've only managed 2 wins in the last 6 games and that against strugglers Norwich and Blackpool. Stoke, Sheff. Wed and Wolves have all got draws there and its not getting better as they suffered their first home defeat in their last home game 2-4 to Coventry.
And just to prove that in the fizzies anyone can beat anyone on their day, that reverse was just 3 weeks after an impressive 4-0 win at Coventry. Strange indeed. Maybe like the Addicks they prefer, at the moment, to be playing away.
So with Saturdays game in mind, I checked out their record against their peers. Well, the bad news is that they've only lost once out of 5 games against the current top 7 clubs. And they've managed 6 points with a win against Watford(a) on the first day of the season and draws with Stoke(h), Wolves (h) and Bristol City (a) and that single defeat at Burnley (a).
Watford, by comparison, are even worse against the top teams and also have only won once in 5 games with a win at Molineux and 3 disappointing home defeats against West Brom, Bristol City and Burnley and then that draw at Stoke giving them 4 points.
In fact Burnley, currently in 7th spot, are the pick of the bunch against the 6 teams above them and have yet to suffer a defeat with no less than 4 wins and 2 draws in their 6 games.
But what of the Addicks? Well, not very good with only 1 win, at Bristol city, to show for our 4 games against the top 7, with defeats against Burnley, Stoke and Wolves. So the morale of the story is that obviously we have either got to get into the top 2 automatic places come May or drastically improve our performance against the very best that the fizzy can provide to stand any chance in the Play-offs come May.
Or maybe hope that Burnley go up as Champions...