Rise to the challenge

There seems to be a fair bit of negativity on a number of Charlton blogs and message boards at the moment. The squad is weaker than last season and we were bad enough then, selling our best talent, not spending on any new players …….

But is it really that bad ? And is the team that different to last season ?

We would all admit that we had a bad season last year, and to be honest there were not that many stand-out matches … yet we were near the top of the table most of the season … despite playing poorly.

End September – 3rd
End October – 8th
End November – 3rd
End December – 5th
End January – 5th
End February – 5th

… and then the real collapse, end March – 12th.

So by playing badly we managed to stay in the top-6 until early March, having played 38 games by that time. If we could do that last season, can we do it again this year … or is the team now so much weaker that it is not possible. Because if the team is not any weaker overall, then we have as much chance this season as last … and perhaps if we play more consistently, we will not have the usual Charlton trait of falling away at the end of the season.

So what are the differences since the end of last season?

Chris Iwelumo – our top scorer last season, but used as a sub on 14 occasions. But can we say that the long-ball game to Chris was ultimately any good for us?
Paddy McCarthy – I am a fan and voted for him as our player of the year last season, mainly because of the improvement and strength that he displayed, so depending on replacements, this could be considered as a loss for us.
Darren Randolph – not completely out, but a season-long loan. I rate Randolph, but assume that as it is a loan, then we can get him back if needed.Osei Sankofa – showed promise on occasion, but is it really that much of a loss? I don’t think so.
Madjid Bougherra – if the press reports are right, then he leaves today. I like Boogie, but he was not that impressive for a lot of last season … so again, is this a potentially fatal loss? I would say not.
Cory Gibbs – we never saw him play (apart from the Welling friendly) so cannot be considered that the team is weaker because of his departure.
Chrissy Powell – obviously a loss, but he was no longer at his best.

Weaver apparently has a ligament problem, but not known at this stage how serious it is … potentially a problem if he is out for a while.
Holland should be training by end of the week.
Ambrose will be training in a couple of weeks.
Toddy will apparently be back in training by the end of week.
Mcleod back in full training in 8 weeks.

Who have we purchased?
Stuart Fleetwood – 36 goals in 50 games last season, albeit for Forest Green. Should prove to be a good forward to have on the bench
Mark Hudson – I expect him to be a more or less straight swap for Paddy. In fact, we may have the better of the deal, he was Palaaarse’s captain and part of a defence with one of the best defensive records last season … actually let me re-word that … having checked they conceded the least goals of any team, only 42.

Will Varney and Gray hit it off this season? … there has to be a good chance. We know from his Burnley days that Gray has talent and goals, and received many rave reviews … including, I believe, player of the year from 442 magazine.
We have a possible exceptional talent in JonJo. I get the impression that he can also handle the pressure … but, of course, we can not look at him alone to be our saviour … it is far too soon and a responsibility he does not need at this stage of his career.

I am not convinced that we are worse off than last season. We may not have brought in expensive new faces as we perhaps would have wanted, but we will hopefully keep ZZ … at least until the January transfer window.

Was my previous post too optimistic? Maybe, but with a good result against Swansea, it could kick off the season.

Are we weaker than last year? … I reserve my judgement … I am not convinced that we are … and we are still only a couple of players short of being in the top-2. If no-one else joins, then we should still have a shout at the play-offs.

Rose-tinted specs? Nope, they are red and white and I believe we have a very interesting season ahead of us … but as to whether the optimists or the pessimists are right … well, that’s all part of the fun isn’t it!

Rise to the Challenge - Asian Dub Foundation


Nug said...

I think on paper we have better players than Hull or Stoke did last year as well as Bristol City and Palace. What they did was really come together as teams. For me we have more than enough talent it's down to Pardew to get them playing in a system that's effective and doesn't change when you have to replace a couple of players. At times last year we looked like Arsenal and then others we looked like Wimbledon of old.

StoneMuse said...

With you on that, Nug

Concerned said...

To the "Out" category, you may wish to add Premiership caliber players Danny Mills and Andy Reid who figured prominently in some of the early wins last season. Not much, if any true Premiership quality left, I'm afraid.

Post a Comment