Friday, April 14, 2006

Fulham Preview

It will be with a heavy heart that Charlton travel to Craven Cottage tomorrow. Curbishley claimed after the Cup defeat that he was going to repay the faith of the travelling 5,250 by leading the team to as high a Premiership finish as possible. Logical then, that he has set the team a conservative target of 6 points out of our last 5 games.

Whilst Fulham's league position shouldn't inspire much fear, it doesn't really tell the story of their season. They have been superb at home and simply abysmal on the road. Only the top 6 have won more home games than The Cottagers this term and that is reflected by the fact that of the 36 points they have amassed thus far, 32 of them have been from home matches. Couple this with the fact that we haven't won at Craven Cottage for 20 years, and it's enough to make you feel downright miserable about our prospects this weekend.

I named this site Cynic Athletic because when it comes to my team I have always been a pessimist, but in the three months that I have been writing this page I have made a conscious effort to remain upbeat about the club and its prospects. At the moment I'm having a real hard time in doing that. I'm sorry, but the performance up at The Riverside has really got to me (I have now finally braved the re-run), and its shaken my confidence in our ability to win matches right now. If I'm honest, I can see us getting a bit of a hammering tomorrow. Of course, there is always the chance that the players will react positively to the criticism they have received this week, but it's blind faith that is nurturing this hope I'm afraid, not logic.

Although Marcus Bent is available again, I would like to see him start on the bench and the team switch to a 4-5-1 formation. Powell, HH, Perry and Spector if fit, (and only because we have no other option) across the back four, Thomas, Ambrose, Kish, Holland and Hughes in the middle, and Bent up front on his own. There is a growing throng of Addicks asking for the youth players to be involved a little more now that we don't have anything to play for, but other than a cameo role from the bench, I can't see Curbishley drastically changing the side before the end of the season.

From Fulham's point of view, Charlton old boy Claus Jensen is unlikely to be fit, Bocanegra is definitely out, whilst Michael Brown is beginning a three match ban. Their key man is likely to once again be Steed Malbranque, a player whom I have always rated very highly. Most of Fulham's attacking verve and inspiration comes through the Frenchman, so he will need to be well marshalled by whoever starts in the centre of midfield for us.

It's the last London derby of the season for the Addicks, and we come into it with a few bad runs to break. We haven't won in our last 11 away games. We haven't won at Fulham in the top flight since 1950, and we haven't even managed a goal there since we came up to The Premiership.

I can see us breaking one out of the three.

Cynic Athletic's Prediction - 3-1 Defeat (Bent - Malbranque, McBride, Boa Morte)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charlton Chris

looked at your site for the first time tonight -really enjoyed it.

Its good to know one is not alone in one's solemn thoughts....

One thing you missed by going up on the train was that feeling of a gathering army outside Middlesborough.

All these coaches being gathered together, with the names from across Kent and south east London (one here was from Greenhithe, another from Dartford, ours from Hastings) - you felt as though you were part of something immense from your neck of the woods.

But I'm afraid I'm to blame for defeat - after days of worrying where I'd get my semi final ticket from I sorted it with one of our crew from the west country in the bar before the game. Talk about put the mockers on it.....

Keep your pecker up though - at least we have a club to follow at a stadium that is ours..


Pembury Addick

10:44 pm  
Blogger CharltonChris said...

As far as progress is concerned, we have been on an upward curve for so long, standing still for a season will possibly feel worse than it actually is.

I don't know, it's just that she squad seems to be ageing, the manager has admitted wanting to leave, and there doesn't seem to be the same passion for football that out players used to show. Probably due to the lack of homegrown lads in the starting XI.

11:06 pm  
Anonymous David Jacobs said...

Claus Jensen is evidently fit and may start today according to my Fulham friends. He has not played very much all season evidently due to injury and it would be ironic if the Addicks without any playmaker are taken apart by one of their previous playmakers. Still I travel to the Cottage in hope but not with heart.

8:53 am  
Blogger worcestershireleaburn said...

Could be one of those games where we defy the odds and win! The omens are there - no away wins since forever, no wins at Fulham since 1986 and against a team with cracking home form. Certainly, 3 points today will ease the pain of Wednesday night! Come on, you Reds!!

11:53 am  

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