Date: 19th March 2007 at 12:24pm
Written by:

It`s getting a little repetitive now. Another weekend, another tame surrender as third from bottom Charlton managed to turn us over at the Valley. Whereas before there might have been an element of anger, of passion, of generally being worked up about the result, there`s that middle of the road, shrug your shoulders feel of apathy well and truly sinking in with black and whites these days. And who can blame them?

I doubt there`s many of us who would have predicted anything other than a chastening defeat for Roeder`s team, three days after their meek display against the Dutchies. Sure enough, as day follows night, so the local rags were full of the players doing a combo of rallying calls and ‘we let you down` articles. On the other hand Kieron Dyer decided to peg his pre-emptive excuses for a series of non-performances for the rest of the season on the fact that ‘the Alkmaar defeat will take a long time to get out of our system`. Nice to know he`s getting the benefit of 80k a week for effectively signing a ‘can`t be arsed` note for the remaining 8 games. As far as his own performance went he got clattered by Matt Holland and ended up a limping spectator for most of the game. I`m expecting Luke Edwards and Anal Oliver from the Journal and Chronicle respectively to give him the column space to explain away just why he was so ineffective.

Whilst it must seem like I`m laying the blame entirely on Dyer, I`m by no means doing that. However many of the others tend to keep their chops shut so look less of a tit when they turn in a non-performance. Just about the entire team cocked up big style. Moore, Onyewu, Duff and Solano looked a back four who had never played together, with the big Yank looking particularly clumsy and doing his chances of a permanent move more harm than good. In the midfield, hampered by the outstanding Butt`s absence, we looked full of busy but lacked any sort of end product. Up front Sibierski looked dead on his feet and Oba missed a sitter. As for Shay – even he had some flappy moments in amongst the looping high balls hoyed in. In saying that our first chance on target fell to N`Zogbia in the last minute doesn`t do our ineptitude justice.

As predicted the next 8 games are merely a meaningless procession as we claw, scrape and fall flat on our faces over the finishing line. With battling Man City and Sheffield United teams to play in our next couple of games it looks like we might end up with a twitchy last couple of weeks as well. As everyone jets off to international week there are a lot of our players who seriously need to have a good look at themselves. Once again Babayaro and Carr have gone AWOL in the midst of battle, unsurprising with their records since joining the club whilst Parker seems to spend his whole time scowling and getting booked.

There`s too much dead wood and there doesn`t seem to be anything coming through in the reserves to replace it. Once the adrenaline factor wears off our new players seem to lack the consistency of a Anichebe, a Richards or even, dare I say it, a Morrison at Boro. Not like they ever get a chance of more than three games in their preferred position anyway or more than 5 minutes at the end.

Shepherd and Roeder need now more than ever to reach that balance between quality and quantity when rebuilding the squad. Let`s face it, at least half of them are going to hopefully get the heave ho this summer. It`s up to those two in charge to rebuild any semblance of faith in the team, especially if they don`t want to see 5000-10000 people hoy in the towel for the Sheffield Uniteds / Fulhams and pick and choose the big games. Given the current state of play it could easily happen. Over to you gents.

Team: Given, Solano, Onyewu, Moore, Duff, Dyer (N’Zogbia 76), Parker, Emre, Milner, Martins, Sibierski.
Subs n/u: Harper, Bramble, Huntington, Carroll.

Booked: Solano, Parker.

Charlton: Carson, Young, El Karkouri, Diawara, Hreidarsson, Zheng, Holland, Song Billong (Faye 40), Thomas, Darren Bent (Lisbie 83), Marcus Bent (Rommedahl 46).
Subs n/u: Randolph, Bougherra.

Booked: Faye.

Goals: Zheng 53, Thomas 88 pen.