Thursday, January 05, 2006

Can we do as well against the Owls as in 1996?

On 6th January 1996 we beat Premiership side Sheffield Wedneday 2-0 at The Valley in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. My notes recall, 'Charlton started playing well and were ahead in six minutes from Kim Grant. Wednesday looked weak defensively and the second goal, although from a penalty [taken by Mortimer], was well deserved. Even when Humphrey was sent off for a dubious second bookable offence, we had no problem in holding Wednesday, although the fact that they had a goal disallowed in the 79th minute helped. The best game I have seen since the return to The Valley - we played superbly.'

We are now the Premiership side and the Owls are in a lowly position in the Championship, having had a stay in League One, but nevertheless we go to Sheffield on Saturday with some misgivings. There are three good reasons for being worried. First, the psychological advantage in these situations is always with the lower division club. No one is going to criticise them if they lose, so the pressure is off them, and the rewards of victory are considerable. Second, the Addicks have been displaying poor form of late while a fortified Wednesday have staged a recovery.
Third, Charlton's cup record is poor, particularly against Championship sides. Leicester knocked us out at home last year.

We clearly need to put our best side out, but one worrying factor is that Curbs no longer seems sure what our best side is and has been tinkering a lot, although injuries are a complicating factor. I think we ought to revert to 4-5-1, bearing in mind that it is no so defensive as so many people claim if it is played as 4-3-3 with Thomas and Rommedahl.

Trevor Puddifoot has produced some interesting stats on the E mail list. In 17 matches in which these two have played, we gained 32 points with only 17 goals conceded. Since they came together in the Palace away game last season, Thomas and Rommedahl have started together in 11 of the 15 wins (counting the relegation of Palace as a win) or 73%. They have started together in only five of the nineteend defeats (26%) and only two of the eight draws. While goals agaist in their 17 games was 17, goals conceded in the remaining 24 amounted to 47. One might argue that they are not defenders, but by taking the game forward, our defence is exposed to less pressure.

I would keep Myhre in goal. If Sorondo is back I would play him alongside Hreidarsson in the centre with Powell on the left. In midfield, the best line up would be Kishishev, Smertin (if available) and Murphy (it's a while since we've seen these two together). Ambrose should be on the bench.

Despite much gloom about the possible result, a lot of the Addickted seem to be going. My guess is that it could end in a replay. Anyway, see you there.


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