Total Pageviews

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Crisis, What Crisis?....Episode 30

Tuesday saw a emotional, massive win for the Addicks by the slenderest of margins over those nobodies from Norwood with what was only our fifth fizzy clean sheet of the season. And it thankfully brought to an end the record-breaking dismal run of 18 games without a win that we thought was going to last forever.
But even after all the celebrations with that perfectly timed win against the rivals who apparently don't care, this is not a time to rest on our laurels. We now face another three games in 8 days, two of them away, starting at the weekend as we attempt to win our first two games on the trot since the 8th of December 2007, a 3-1 win over Ipswich, which is now 54 League games ago.
So there's no time to rest in this League as we dash up to Turfmoor on Saturday. Burnley are now ninth overall on the massive total of 43 points, nearly double the Addicks, with the fizzies 11th best home record, but with only three home defeats. They've also the 6th highest scorers with 41 goals but they have a bit of a leaky defence, conceding 42 goals making them the only team in the top half with a negative goal difference. In fact only 4 teams have conceded more - Southampton (44), Norwich(45), Watford (50) and of course the Addicks on 51.
But the Addicks are cock-a-hoop at the moment with an unprecedented 2 wins in the last 4 games, albeit by the slenderest of margins, whilst Burnley can only claim 2 wins in their last 10 league and cup games since Christmas Day.
Current Form So perhaps it's just the time to be playing Burnley for last Tuesdays 3-0 defeat at Watford now makes it five straight defeats in the fizzies to Barnsley (H), Doncaster(A), Swansea (H) and Preston(A). The last time they won a League game was a 2-1 home win over Bristol City back on December 20th. During that time, however, they have been somewhat diverted by Cup games against QPR, Spurs and West Brom only one of which have they lost.
Who They Got? Clearly determined to chase promotion, Burnley were very busy last summer with Scunthorpe United striker Martin Paterson being the first signing for £1 million (rising to £1.3 million depending on appearances) back in June who was Coyle's first permanent signing as Burnley Manager. This was followed by Dundee midfielder Kevin McDonald, former Dundee United left-back Christian Kalvenes, and Peruvian goalkeeper Diego Penny after Penny's work permit was granted on 27 June. Former Holland U21 international midfielder Remco van der Schaaf was signed on a free transfer and then was followed by Manchester United winger Chris Eagles for £1.25 million.
Another key man for the Clarets is 37 year old Scottish international Graham Alexander. After over 400 appearances for Preston, club loyalty didn't stand in his way when in the summer of 2007 Burnley came along and offered Alexander a two year contract whereas Preston were only offering a single year. And not surprisingly, now that Burnley have a Scottish manager, Burnley have become increasingly riddled, if thats the phase, with Scots. Captain Stephen Caldwell, another international, is now in his second season and there's the young U-21 international midfielder Kevin McDonald, and target man and another international Steven Thompson and then there's the two Irishmen Christopher John McCann and the ex-Blackburn and Wigan Alan Mahon.

DangerMan? There can be no doubt that this weeks dangerman is 21 year old Martin Paterson with a total of 16 goals ( 10 in the fizzies), seems a lot but then they've had no less than eleven cup games already this season.

What's Their Secret? Once you go in front look out because they have won 5 times after going behind and drawn another to gain a total of 16 points after losing a goal. Only one other team, Alexanders' old mates at Preston, have a better record after going behind. But what about their weakness' you ask. Well, there's not many, the only obvious one being that they'll be knackered come the weekend. The home game against the Addicks, what with all those cup games, will be their 9th in 29 days. And a second hope is that while the Addicks have now won 4 games against the top half, Burnley, after recent defeats to Barnsley and Doncaster, have now lost 5 games to lower half opposition.

History? There's been 23 games at Turfmoor and we're won 5 and drawn 4 and therefore lost 14. Average sort of figure. Since the war, the Second one , that is, we've won just twice there in the League, in 1948 and 1981. In fact the war did kind of mess up our run against them for in 8 pre-war games we beat them 5 times including twice at their place so it really came as no surprise really ( I'm only guessing, my Dad was there but I wasn't) that we beat them in our first encounter after the war AT WEMBLEY. And I've only just realised that they were a second division team when we beat them in the Final. Anyway, current score is 18-17 to them.

What're They Saying? There's a very positive article from new boy Spring on the official site and among all the encouraging stuff he ended by saying "The preparation before the game and through the week was spot on, and we didn't carry any passengers out on the pitch. Everyone contributed, which is exactly what you need."

Team News After a record breaking win on Tuesday the team should need little encouragement to provide another fighting performance. But in a way this game is going to be much more difficult than was the Palarse encounter. After two wins and two defeats away in Sheffield in the last four games for the Addicks its yet another away game, but the gap to safety continues to grow and few people could have failed to notice Doncaster's 1-0 win at the very same Bramall Lane where we lost just a week ago.
In the last 6 games in League and Cup we've managed just 5 goals and never more than one a game. In fact the only times we've scored more than once in the last 14 games has been the two home games against Derby and QPR. In the meanwhile, both Doncaster and Forest have won 4 straight fizzy games and with both scoring 9 times. Even Norwich have scored 9 times since Christmas Day all meaning that we still sit 5 points adrift.
The reason I point this out is that Burnley have not lost a game 0-1 all season and it may require two goals to win on Saturday. A change to 4-4-2 on Tuesday with both Gray and Burton was changed after an hour and Saturday may be just the time to see the lively Dickson make his first fizzy start. To reinforce the argument that I made on Monday, we need to find a striker that's going to score goals. I sometimes wonder what the paragraph above entitled Dangerman would look in an opposing teams Blog because I can't find anyone amongst our strikers that I would term "dangerous". And in only three games this season - Reading, Plymouth and Derby - did two of our strikers find the net in the same game.

Anyway, we'll see changes in defence as the injury to Fortune is likely to see a makeshift defence start the game with either Holland or Youga in central defence alongside Mark Hudson. Murty is also carrying a knock so a back line-up of Moutaouakil, Hudson, Holland and Youga will probably be the best that we can manage.

Therry Racon was not seen against Palarse but can be expected to be at least on the bench against Burnley with Bailey and Spring probably keeping their places. Both wide men were impressive on Tuesday, so Sam and the on-loan Soares will surely keep their places.

Elliot; Moutaouakil, Hudson, Holland, Youga; Sam, Bailey, Spring, Soares; Gray, Burton.

Subs: Randolph, Basey, Racon, Dickson, TODOROV...
Verdict Its 54 fizzy fizzy games since a consecutive win but we need one now if only to keep the momentum going. To sum up we're playing a team with a leaky defence that should be tired after their 9 games in 29 days and, perhaps, low in confidence after suffering 5 league defeats in a row. Slipping to 9th spot, hopes of promotion are starting to fade but with a 4 point gap to the Play-Off places they can't afford another upset. So a 1-1 draw looks the best we can expect.

No comments: