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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Looking Forward to Watford?

As we head inexorably towards the lottery that's called the Play-Offs, there's two teams, that I for one, would like to avoid. Watford and West Brom. They're the two we seem to have most problems with and if we can't make the auto spots then its probably best that they do, just to get rid of them. So defeat on Saturday won't be the end of the world for me, it's much more important to beat Bristol City in two weeks time to get us into 3rd or 4th position to get home advantage first come May.
And defeat is possible as, with three consecutive draws, we just can't seem to beat the buggers. It was 1-1 last month with Darren Ambrose equalising 11 minutes from time, and 2-2 last season at Vicarage Road with a second half comeback after being 2-0 down at halftime with the equaliser again coming from Ambrose this time with just one minute left. The last game at the Valley on October 21st 2006, finished 0-0, and was another frustrating game as it was supposed to be the one that turned our Premiership season round. It didn't!
And after a poor three months for Watford, getting only 4 wins in 16, it's obviously not the best time to be playing them as they've started this month well with three straight victories over Wolves, Ipswich and Leicester with their last away game ending Ipswich's unbeaten home record.
And if we couldn't beat them at their place where their form is not brilliant and when they were having a bad run, what chance do we have at the moment against a team that have 10 away wins under their belt and are the best away team in the fizzies with only 3 defeats in 16 games.
But Pardew will know what to expect and will have had a rehearsal of Saturdays game two weeks ago against Stoke City, a team that are a match for Watford. For while we usually start slowly with 17 out of our 32 games being all-square at half-time (only the conservative Wolves and the strange Palarse have been drawing more times at the interval), Stoke and Watford are the two teams with most 'wins' in the first 45 minutes, 15 and 14 respectively.
So the first half performance this time is crucial to our chances and although it looks a formidable task for Pardew and the team there is a promising side to our game. For while we have continuing problems with relegation teams, we have a good record against the top ones and no team has won more games against top half teams than the Addicks, 8 in all. And it's this statistic that is the most meaningful of all. Four teams stand out as the best in the League with West Brom, Watford, the Addicks and Stoke getting most points against the very best.
Unfortunately, I shalln't be there to see this battle of the giants. My sister is celebrating one of those important, unavoidable birthdays, that end with the magic '0', at some posh Italian place, but unlike most people that choose a Saturday evening or Sunday lunchtime for such events, my unthinking sibling has decided it will be an afternoon bash starting at 2.30, in Eastbourne, on Saturday. What!
Prayers for a impending cup tie or another Friday game to cause interference to her plans to upset my life have come to nought. I could rely on the weather and heavy rain to cause a postponement but that's more likely to provide a heavy pitch that'll suit Watford more than us.
Carbonara and a large drink, please.....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope you email your weekly stats to SAP as this is good stuff.

If SAP does not aleady have this info you never know it might him how do you say... abre los ojos.