Friday, December 09, 2005

Black Cats test for Charlton

On paper a home fixture against a team propping up the table with five points should provide an opportunity for Charlton to end their bad run of results. But football is in large part a confidence game and this has been lacking in the Addicks of late. Sunderland for their part showed at White Hart Lane last week that they can put in a spirited performance.

Sunderland's defence is suspect and would best be challenged by a 4-4-2 formation, but that depends on which players are available. Let's hope that there have been no last minute problems at the training ground and that key players will not face an injury test tomorrow. Assuming all is well, Bent and Bothroyd would be one possible attacking formation, but if Bartlett is fully fit, he could play a role up front. Or Euell could start in the hole behind Bent, although he is more likely to come off the bench.

Charlton basically have a Plan A that has been worked out by other teams and involves Murphy feeding Bent and scoring the odd goal himself. If Murphy is below par, as he has been in some recent matches, the plan starts to fall apart. Smertin has also not been at his very best, but should still be included. Kishishev should be included to break up Black Cat attacks, but should the last place in midfield go to Ambrose? Or should Thomas feature with his trickery on the wings, and Rommedahl as well? His absence from the first team has been something of a mystery.

The cardinal rule in the defence is not to start Spector. Powell would be better as I would rather keep Hreidarsson in central defence. Perry was less impressive than usual last week, and El Karkouri has also been below his best, so there could be a rare start for Fortune or even a first league start for Sorondo. More likely, both of them will be on the bench.

Kiely's performance against the Massives has shaken even his most devoted followers. Stephan Andersen refused to play for the reserves on Tuesday, stating 'I don't want to sit in a bus for six hours to play a reserve match. Those games are for players with something to prove.' Perhaps Andersen now has something to prove. Or will we see Myhre start in goal for the first time in a Premiership match for Charlton?

Charlton's home form against Sunderland in the Premiership has hardly been sparkling, with two draws and one defeat. Of course, in three seasons it has been a case of 'did not play'. Let's hope that won't be the verdict on the Addicks at 5 p.m. tomorrow.


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