Sunday, April 09, 2006

Bent + Bothroyd = Blank

I got back into the car after today's game just in time to hear Talksport's informed analysis, and the analysis was thus. "A contender for the worst Premiership game of all time".

While I'll admit that the entertainment on show was never really going to appeal to fans other than those of the clubs involved, it was hardly as bad as they were making it out to be. Reporter Ian Abrahams proclaimed to the nation "The afternoon wasn't a total loss, I got to watch the grass grow", well I'm sorry Ian, but I don't know quite what you were expecting when you came to The Valley this afternoon. Everton have scored 11 goals in 17 away games, while Charlton so clearly had their minds on other things, it doesn't take a genius to work out that entertaining the nation was not our utmost priority this afternoon.

As it happens, I think the man most directly responsible for the poor standard of the game was referee Peter Walton, the man who incidentally also took charge at the second most boring game of the season; West Brom at The Valley. He simply refused to let the game flow, and punctured it with a seemingly endless series of ludicrous and petty free-kicks. Neither team was even given the chance to gain any momentum and the football on show clearly suffered because of it. The last four Premiership games Walton has refereed have finished 0-0, 1-0, 0-1, and 0-0 again. Those four matches have produced no fewer than 17 bookings as well; I don't think I'll bother going next time he is set to officiate in SE7.

My honourable mention this week goes to the Bulgarian Beckham. Kish was all over the place, and even had the former boo-ers in the attic of the Covered End singing his name at one point. His passing was thoroughly decent, and he didn't stop running the entire time he was on the pitch. Wise move to withdraw him when we did, lets keep him fresh for the Boro.

As for the rest of the midfield, I think they were made to look worse than they were today by the static performances delivered by the front two. Its frustrating to see counter attack after counter attack fizzle out just past the half way line, but I was so conscious today of the fact that there was simply no one up front for the midfielders to lay the ball off to. If you're a striker, when you make a run you should be running into space, or drawing a defender with you to create space for someone else. It's not a difficult concept, but it's one that neither player seems to understand. Bothroyd ran down blind alley after blind alley; and as for Bent, he only ever runs for a ball when he is certain that somebody else is going to beat him to it.

On a more positive note, the defence looked solid enough for most of the game. All of them played reasonably well, and Spector's performance at right back was especially pleasing when you take into account the fact that Luke Young's season appears to be over. I don't know what it is about our treatment room, but it seems like players are taking a month just to recover from a touch of indigestion. It wasn't a surprise at all to see the club come out and state that Luke's World Cup chances are now hanging by a thread. Curbishley claims "He had a similar injury last season and was out for about six weeks but we felt we might not have treated it properly then". Why not? And why did you let him back into the side if you knew the injury wasn't treated properly? It just doesn't make sense.

I suppose the most obvious thing to come out of today's game is the fact that without our top scorer we just don't threaten teams. Just make sure that when you fill in your player of the year ballot, you underline the letter 'D' in front of the word 'Bent'.


Anonymous David Bingham said...

Ian Abrahams is the biggest tosspot on the radio. He comes over as a complete prat whenever he opens his mouth. I would waste any time worrying about his numbskull report.

12:02 pm  
Blogger Chicago Addick said...

There are many a Premiership club that wish they could grow grass like Colin Powell does.

11:57 pm  

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