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Monday, March 03, 2008

The Best in the League?

While we make the usual slow crawl through the traffic into work this morning, but this time with a wry grin on our faces, its perhaps best, after a quick tour around your mates milking the applause, to waste no more time and to consider the prospects of overcoming little old Bristol City tomorrow night.
Because with a fixture list of 7 games in March there's just no time to rest on your laurels in this League and what better feast can we have than 2 games against perhaps the best in the division, Bristol and West Brom, plus another two against two of the oldest and famous, Preston North End and Wolves.
And with just 11 games remaining and a gap of 7 points to make up on the coveted 2nd place there's no room for dropping further points. So what better chance can we have of closing the gap than the visit of a team currently 9 points in front of us.
After our 1-0 win back in November at Ashton Gate, there's a chance of our third double of the season over a team that last season was in Tier three. On the other hand, its perhaps not the best time to be facing a team obviously in form in table-toppers Bristol City, who, with only 7 defeats in their 35 games, fewer than anyone else, also have the best current record in the fizzies over the last 8 games with 16 points out of 24.
However, its also been the miserable recent away form of their rivals that have seen them go 2 points clear at the top of the table. For while all the other four teams in the top 5, apart from Bristol, have only won 1 away game in the last 5, City have put the pedal to the floor in winning no less than 3. OK, two of them were single goal victories against bottom clubs Colchester and Scunthorpe, but we, of all people, know how difficult it can be to get points at these grounds.
On the plus side they have lost 5 away games so far, the same as us, and two of them occurred just before their Colchester and Scunthorpe wins, in their last two visits to London being at QPR 0-3 and Palarse 0-2.
And if we need more encouragement, you only need to look at their low scoring record of 44 goals - ten fizzy teams have scored more - and their low goal difference to realise that something is wrong somewhere. In fact, they do seem to have bad days at the office and as testimony have suffered several threshings apart from the 3-0 at Lofus Rd in January. In fact, once a month, on a regular basis they do seem to implode. A 4-1 defeat at West Brom in December, was preceded by a 0-6 embarrassment at Ipswich in November and before that a 0-3 at Barnsley in October. Perhaps its time, at long last for a hat-full from the Addicks?
But, and there's usually a but, with their meagre 7 defeats they are hard to beat and although they have scored first less times, 17, to the the Addicks 21, they are one of only 6 teams that remain unbeaten once they have gone ahead.....
In fact, you just don't want them to be the first to score because of the 17 times they have scored first they have won 16 of them - and they've only won 18 games in total. So the first goal tomorrow is vital.
And if you're interested in history, its been 40 years since Bristol won at the Valley, a 2-1 win back in 1968 and they've only managed a total of 4 wins and 4 draws in 26 games at the Valley.
So come on Pards, pedal to the floor....its time to catch up and prove that WE are the best in the League.

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