Shrewsbury Town 1 Charlton Athletic 1
Something’s not right is it?
There’s no need to put pressure on ourselves, there are 31 games left and we sit nicely placed in the table, but out of the sunshine before the international break, a big dark cloud has settled over us. Will it pass as a rain shower or are big claps of thunder and and flashes of lightning coming?
We know getting out of this league is not easy, but so often all a game needs is someone to show the tiniest bit of quality. Fighting spirit is all very well, but every team in this division plays as if their lives depend on it. Where is the quick counter-attacking, the precise defence-splitting pass, the capability to buy yourself some time with the ball in the middle of the pitch, or even better, the ability to get around an opposing player?
We have a carousel of midfielders that everyone has heard off, but none of them appear able to stamp their authority on a game. Watson and Pratley together only works if we need to see a game out. Gilbey has not impressed, JFC is inconsistent, the jury is out on Maddison, Levitt almost forgotten. Williams? Well, whatever one thinks of the Welshman I struggle see how he was treated yesterday by Bowyer will improve his output.
I’ve been impressed with Shinnie and I’d persevere with Morgan, but while I accept Bowyer likes to rotate, it is detrimental to any kind of coherent style.
Last second penalty or not, leaving with three points would have been daylight robbery, we did not do anywhere near enough to deserve to win the game. A training ground goal, with Williams heavily involved aside, our performance was dross.
Bowyer now has a week to fiddle with his jigsaw puzzle which whilst he quickly threw it together after the transfer window shut, it has been trampled all over in recent weeks. It needs again to start looking like a picture. This team miss an identity, a style, a purpose, that killer instinct. Hopefully it is somewhere in that jigsaw puzzle box.
🗯. “I’m fuming” – Lee Bowyer
🔜. AFC Wimbledon (h)
Perhaps Maartson being played in an Alfie role would offer more attacking input.
We’re a third of the way through the season and Bowyer still doesn’t know his best team. He continues to pick a side today with an eye on the next game. And finally he is now alienating players.
If he wants to remain as our manager he needs to improve his management.
Thomas Sandgaard comes over as a nice guy, but he’s made it clear he wants his money spent on success not failure in League one.
Hopefully in January we’ll find enough money to buy a couple of decent players that improve the squad. Should this occur and Bowyer continues to mess up, I expect TS to act. Nice guy or not.
You have put your finger on the main reason why we have not performed well recently, the midfield is not settled although we have numerous options. Gilbey and Maddison have not performed as hoped and the combination of Watson and Pratley is very defence minded and there is an overall lack of pace in the team. Williams can look good but has no pace and does not contribute much. I think we were better when JFC was in the team and although he was back in the team on Saturday it was his first game back after injury. I was quite impressed with Smyth in the wide right role he is a busy player who can unsettle defenders and he is missing at the moment.
The new EFL rules on squad numbers and overall payroll may have a significant negative effect on recruitment in January.
I think that Bowyer at times should keep his critical comments within house as some come over as nasty and unconstructive.
Re Bowyer. Pre Covid managers did press conferences in a media room up to an hour after a game. Now they are done pitch side (safer I assume) but straight after the final whistle. Bowyer speaks from the heart and is uber honest, but I wonder if his assessments would be less brutal or sometimes as over positive — we could have scored 5 or 6 when the stats say we had two shots on target for example – if he was given an hour to collect his thoughts?
I totally agree. Obviously we have struggled with injuries, particularly at the back, but we’re not the only ones in this division to have this problem. I’m afraid I’m not in the ‘rotation’ camp. I would play my first choice eleven until one or more look tired and then change. The team even now, because of the continuous change of personnel, look like they don’t know what each other are doing. Stick to the same team Bows!
Rob Rapley forever addicted.
We must rotate our players – true it’s not paying off now, but in February/March we’ll see the benefits. Overplay our starting players now and when it comes to the last dozen or so games injuries, suspensions and tiredness will kick in. Watching “Sunderland til I die” recently it was clear that after a long season in the last few games they were running on empty and it cost them in the play-off final. League One, thanks to the late start, is very condensed this season and playing two games a week is going to lead to an injury crisis, not just at Charlton but at other clubs – Ipswich for example had 11 players unfit for our match at Portman Road and they ended up losing, not just against us but also against Hull that week. So while it can be tempting to play the same XI we need to take the longer view.
The problem though with Charlton I see it is that we are lacking a talisman, a player who can dominate games either up-front or in midfield and around whom the team plays. Maybe Maddison was meant to be that player but injuries and illness (he was signed off sick on Saturday) have limited his performances and impact, and when we have seen him he’s been disappointing. Chuks Aneke could be that player, but has to be eased through games.
For January I’d like to see us try and bring in a couple of pacy/attacking midfielders who can offer another dimension and I’d keep the Watson/Pratley nexus for the last quarter of games. Our midfield does look a bit ponderous – we are over-relying on physicality and passing/moving rather than pace and in the last third it’s almost resembling chess with passes and crosses looking for mistakes rather than create openings.
We also need to be realistic, a few games ago we were still building the squad up after the ESI era, perhaps the first half of the season should really be about getting into and consolidating a spot in the top-six and then kicking on in the Spring. In the promotion season our form in the New Year was outstanding, that’s when promotion was won.