Sunday, April 15, 2007

The nightmare scenario

The last day of the season. Charlton need to get at least a point at Anfield, but even if they win there, their survival depends on the outcome of the match between Sheffield United and Wigan. Charlton are relegated on goal difference.

The logical conclusion that some supporters draw is that today's game at Everton is 'must win' and that we should go for all out attack. But supposing we lose 4-0 when we could have gained a point with a more cautious approach?

It's a difficult decision for Pards. But the answer is any case constrained by the likely non-availability of Marcus Bent. The best solution is then probably 4-5-1 with Zheng Zhi playing immediately behind Darren Bent: perhaps better described as 4-4-1-1. Hasselbaink has been out injured and in any case has the turning circle and speed of an oil tanker. Super Kevin Lisbie has a great future in League 1 or 2.

What concerns me is that, leaving aside Scott Carson (surely to be voted player of the year?) and the defence as it is now set up (and even there we have some problems) is that the team as a whole isn't quite good enough for the Premiership or at least not consistently good enough. That has been true of the midfield all season, particularly once Andy Reid got crocked, but we have also lacked a reliable strike partner for Darren Bent who has often been left roaming alone in an opposition half otherwise bereft of Charlton players. Zheng Zhi has been an improvement there.

The Fink Tank gives a 62 per cent chance of a home win today and only a 14 per cent chance of an away win. Moyes is a good manager, Everton are chasing a Uefa Cup place and they have some good players. But they are not invincible.

In 2001 we made a weekend in Liverpool out of an away match at Goodison. The hotel had quite a few Toffeemen staying who were looking forward to an easy three points. We won 3-0 and we were chanting 'Easy' at the end of the match.

Referee Halsey will give us no favours, but given our recent defensive record, I think that a draw is possible, although there is always a risk that Johnson will score a winner for his new club. Charm merchant Cahill is out injured.

The ever reliable Paul May will be at Goodison to report on the match.


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