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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

West Brom Preview - FA Cup 3rd Replay (a)

I'm confused. Tonight we go into a replay of a Cup tie that, initially, it seemed nobody minded losing. 'Both myself and Tony Mowbray will be desperate that this game isn't a draw,' said Pardew. So my first thoughts, regarding what happens tonight, in this match that nobody wanted, were that we were going to see two reserve sides in action.
Well no, apparently not. For like a impatient gambler that has suddenly discovered a system of predicting where the roulette balls are going to land, Pards now, it seems, can't get to get started in tonight's game. In fact he's reported as relishing the prospect and comes up with the excuse that 'its not so much of a problem if you are winning games.'
So comes the news from the official site that the squad it unlikely to be changed from Saturdays marvellous 4-1 result. In fact, playing exactly the same eleven, is on the cards. But, Pards, I thought that the cup wasn't important, promotion is what matters.
So you'll understand the confusion and it means that we've already lost the psychological battle with Mowbray. We should have told him that we don't care a hoot about the cup and he'd put out his reserves and make it all the easier.
So desperate for further clues about the linesups I had a look at sportinglife and it seems that Mowbray is putting quite a few reserves out anyway.
'Tony Mowbray admits the FA Cup is second in his priorities for the season behind trying to win promotion. So he is likely to rest a host of key first-team players, with the likes of Kevin Phillips, Ishmael Miller, Carl Hoefkens and Robert Koren unlikely to start.'
'Alan Pardew is unlikely to make changes to his Charlton side.'
So it seems Mr. Mowbray is still determined to plan his exit from the FA Cup by resting his key players. And who can blame him.
On Saturday both Phillips and Miller started the game at Hull and in a bruising encounter with Hull's usual high total of fouls, 22 this time, both were replaced on 76 minutes with the score at 2-1 to West Brom, by the Czech striker, Roman Bednar, and Slovenian defender Bostjan Cesar in a move to 4-5-1. It seems likely, therefore that it'll be Bednar that leads the attack tonight, although the 6 foot Scot, Craig Beattie, is also tipped to take a part. Shame that he hasn't mentioned the need to rest the goalkeeper, Dean Kiely and that annoying left winger Chris Blunt that always seems to supply the crosses for Gera to head home. And remember that West Brom are still the highest scoring team in the country with a grand total of 59 goals and have won their last 3 home games, scoring 13 goals in the process, including 4 against us. Bednar has already scored 7 times in the fizzies, with Phillips on 16 and Miller also on 7.
As for Pardew, does he really mean to play the same 11 just 5 days before an important away game at Watford? What can he be thinking? Don't change a winning team? Get some more confidence into the team before the return against West Brom on March 22? And on the other hand he's saying that 'it would be good for Osei Sankofa to go and play some games, and maybe Therry Racon as well'. Well, I can only assume that having arrived at seemingly a winning formula, he is somewhat reluctant to change it. And I suppose that there are 10 days off after the Watford game before Stoke come to the Valley on Tuesday 29th.
So team prediction for the Addicks tonight is an odd one and the beeb also reports an unchanged Charlton eleven. But having found a solution for the exposure being given to Sir Chris in the remarkably improved Kelly Youga, will it be time to 'rest' Matty Holland before Watford? I think so and it probable that to avoid further changes we'll see a straight swap with Semedo.
So it looks like being Weaver; Moutaouakil, McCarthy, Bougherra, Youga; Sam, Semedo, Zheng, Ambrose; McLeod, Varney.
Subs: Randolph, Fortune, Thomas, Iwelumo, Dickson.
Prediction: We can only give some advice to Mowbray that it'll be best all round if he rests 34 year old Kevin Phillips for the all-important game against Cardiff at the weekend. These old-timers need their rest Tony. And in turn we can only plan to repeat the 4-2 success that Coventry had on December 4th, West Brom's last home defeat and the last time that 16 goal Kevin Phillips was not included in the squad for a home game.....
But our one stumbling block will again no doubt be that 37 year old goalkeeper, who after his 222 games in a Charlton shirt, still feels a little hard done by. Result a 2-1 defeat.

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