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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Looking Forward to West Brom?

Pardew only has another 56 hours to figure out how to stop the rot and prevent our next opponents West Brom putting more points between us and at the same time its vital that he prevents a permanently damaging fourth defeat in a row. But it wouldn't be easy against a team that we've faced three times already this season, and have yet to beat.
Two drawn cup games back in January, before losing on penalties at the Hawthorns, and the 4-2 away defeat on December 15th doesn't give us much confidence to draw on although we did come from 2 goals down to equalise then and only lost with 2 goals in the last 10 minutes.
To add to our current problems we sunk to 10th in the table last night after Wolves beat Scunthorpe with a Neill Collins' header 7 minutes from time. Oh, and Hull won again as well to go 6 points in front of us in our coveted 5th spot.
So it's a sizable dilemna for the gaffer to face and all in front of a nervous and extremely critical support. And perhaps support will be a key word for without some positive vibes from the stands, its obviously going to be another difficult afternoon.
But, despite it all, its probably just about the best time to be facing West Brom. We all know the Addicks form of only 4 wins in the last 20 games but the team from the Hawthorns are not a great deal better with only 6 wins in their last 15 fizzies. And while we are a lowly 22nd (!) over the last 8 games-table, they are only rated 12th.
With only two wins in their last 6 away League games since beating us in December, over Hull and Sheff. Wed, they've had surprising 1-2 defeats at both Preston and Barnsley along with another two upsets at Stoke 1-3 and Ipswich 0-2.
Perhaps, with everyone tipping them as promotion certainies for so long, they have allowed their mind to slip elsewhere. For in just two weeks come Saturday they'll be playing at Wembley in an attempt to beat Portsmouth and appear in their first Cup Final for 40 years when they beat Everton 1-0.
With a five point gap to 2nd place but with two games in hand, West Brom are still on course for automatic promotion and with 5 games left against clubs in the bottom half they don't need to win tomorrow against a team now so far behind them.
In their alarming weekend 1-4 defeat at home to Leicester, both of their key strikers, 20 goal Kevin Phillips and Man City loanee Ismael Miller, were on the bench and up front started Roman Bednar and on-loan Luke Moore. Probably it had something to do with the fact that Miller, otherwise known as the Moston Menace, and who will be signed on a permanent deal at the end of the season, seems to save himself for the cup games, scoring a hat-trick in the Quarter-Final against Bristol Rovers. For as far as League games go, he's only scored once in the last 23 fizzies, which obviously encouraged Mowbray to get a back-up and Moore was loaned from Aston Villa till the end of the season. Unfortunately, we won't be seeing him either as a straight red card in the defeat by Leicester means he will not be playing at theValley.
On another happy note, injuries are starting to affect Mowbrays team, with our main tormentor back in December, Chris Brunt going off injured with hamstring problems against Palarse last week and not appearing at all against Leicester.
On the history front, we can all remember the disappointing, at the time anyway, 1-4 home defeat on 19 March 2005 ( which was their first win at the Valley in 50 years) back in our illustrious Premiership days but overall we have a good record against them with 11 wins at home compared to only 6 defeats.
Perhaps to encourage the opposition to daydream, we 'ort to lower ourselves to chanting reminders of the Cup just to put their mind off the game. 'Don't Forget Pompey' - 'Only two weeks to Goooo' - but no, the most important thing we should be doing now is getting in training to make some noise come Friday and drown out any murmours of booing. Whatever we may think, the time for boos is past, because its getting too serious now and Pards' obviously needs us just as we need him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Our position in the form table is really worrying, particularly if it carried on until next season.