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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Saints or Sinners?

So after a game to remember for those that travelled to Plymouth and after a pot-luck prediction that turned out correct, are we to believe that a corner has, at last, been turned?
Can we look forward to new fighting abilities that we didn't know we had? Or was it just a bit of lady luck at last with two generous presents from the Argyle goalkeeper? One fact that was confirmed was that we definitely play better with 10 men.
After seeing 6 red cards this season, for Semedo (Southampton 1-0), Sam (Hull 2-1), Sodje (Norwich 1-1), Mills (Hull 1-1), Fortune (Ipswich 3-1) and Weaver (Plymouth 2-1), we've managed 4 wins and 2 draws and are unbeaten. That's a truly remarkable record and can only mean that deep down there is a fighting spirit in the team that only dire circumstances can reveal.
But perhaps the most significant thing about Saturdays result was the proof that, after recent rumours, Pards does in fact read what we write. After accusing the team of "Lack of resilence after scoring first and no mental strength to overcome a deficit" here last week, the team did the exact opposite to everyone's surprise and Pardews reaction to the win said it all, "The resilience and character in the team, that's been questioned by some people, shone through, and it was great to win for our fans, because they have had to suffer frustration recently."
Well, Pards perhaps its time to make sure that the team understands that dire circumstances are indeed upon us and that we don't really need to lose a man to find the qualities required. As for Saturday, starting the month from so far behind, its pretty obvious looking at the table that unless we can beat Southampton all the hard work at Plymouth would have been in vain.
History is very even with 12 wins to us and 7 to them while another 7 have been draws. The last Saints win in London was a 4-2 at Sainburys on New Years Day 1990 in the old Division One, while their last win at the Valley was back in 1977, 31 long years ago.
The Saints are also without an away win since winning on Dec 1st last year at Leicester. They've had eleven away games since then but have been beaten only 4 times with 7 draws.
But what do three of our remaining opponents, Southampton, Barnsley and Coventry, all have in common? Well its the fact that their half-time talks have counted for nothing as they have all failed to win a game this season after being in a losing state at half-time. And after so much being said about our lack of comebackability recently you can surprisingly add Hull and Bristol City to that list of 10 clubs that cannot rowse themselves for a second half win.
But before you get too carried away you should take notice that over the last 8 games all four remaining opponents have enjoyed a better time of it than we have. QPR have managed 13 points (with only 1 defeat), Coventry and Southampton 10 each and Barnsley, preoccuped with thoughts of Wembley perhaps, have only accumulated 9. The Addicks, as I'm sure you know, have got only a meagre point a game from the last 8 games.
As for the team to play, Pards will want to retain as much of last Saturdays spirit as possible so with Weaver and Sodje out the only choice open to him is which goalkeeper to play. After Elliot's heroics at Home Park it'll be tough if Randolph takes over but that looks likely after Randolph's return from Bury.
Charlton: Randolph; Halford, McCarthy, Bougherra, Thatcher; Zheng, Semedo, Holland, Cook; Iwelumo, Lita
And we can only hope that Pards will have found a way to dispense with the Valley jitters other than by losing a player once again.

1 comment:

bristol addick said...

Agree with your team selection - almost! Rob Elliott was great but Darren Randolph will probably get the nod. The other one is Lee Cook. Would have loved to see what he could do at Plymouth (not a lot in 3 mins!) but don't want to see him against his beloved QPR. So need to fire up JT to do his stuff.