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Stuck in no-mans land
Charlton Athletic F.C.
Member Name: Carrow Road Canary
Charlton Athletic F.C.
Date: 09/09/01, updated on 09/09/01 (75 review reads)
Advantages: Great manager
Disadvantages: No real quality midfielder
Charlton Athletic have now firmly established themselves as a Premiership club after initially being relegation candidates after their promotion to the top league. They can now be taken seriously as outsiders for a European spot – even if it would only be through the Worthington Cup – and a visit to The Valley is one of the toughest matches of the season.
Can Charlton build on their successes, which include 9th place last season, to become a real force to be reckoned with and can they hang on to Alan Curbishley, their hugely talented manager.
Alan Curbishley has been tipped by many as a future England manager and, although he is no longer part of the FA’s coaching set up, he seems to have overtaken Peter Taylor as England’s best young manager. Curbishley is an excellent motivator (out of the Kevin Keegan mould), he is tactically aware and, just as importantly, he has the fans behind him.
There is no doubt that Charlton have the right man at the helm. As long as Curbishley remains at The Valley, Charlton will continue to go from strength to strength.
Dean Kiely may not be well known by many people, but those who have seen him play regularly will tell you that he is up there with the best keepers in the country. Second choice goalkeeper, Sasa Ilic, is best know for his heroics in the play-off final against Sunderland. He isn’t as good or consistent as Kiely, but most teams would want a keeper of his quality sitting on the bench.
The key to Charlton’s success is that they don’t have any real stars, but are solid and consistent all the way through. That is certainly the case with their defence.
The vastly improved Chris Powell, who has played for England under Sven Goran Eriksson, is one of the better English left-backs while Kishishev, despite being injured currently, will also play an important role this
Luke Young looks to be an excellent signing from Tottenham and Andy Todd is transfer listed. Richard Rufus is, undoubtedly, the star of the Charlton defence but South African international is as good, if not better.
The Charlton defence is, on paper, one of the weakest in the division but they don’t concede too many goals, especially at home.
Charlton have a very useful, if underrated, midfield. Graham Stuart was, arguably, Charlton’s best player last season and if they are to repeat their success last season he will have to be at his best, scoring and creating goals. Scott Parker is mainly a ball-winning midfielder, but he also has a tremendous amount of skill and is likely to be a future England international. Captain Mark Kinsella is the driving force behind Charlton while John Robinson and Claus Jensen provide some creative influence.
Charlton have a group of strikers who are easily capable of scoring a lot of goals this season, and if they do another top half finish is not beyond them. Jonaton Johansson is one of three excellent Finnish strikers currently playing in the Premiership (the others are Jari Litmanen and Mikkael Forssel) and is probably as good as either of the other two. New signing Jason Euell, who can also play in midfield, was brilliant for Wimbledon and should improve in this better team. Shaun Bartlett scored one of the goals of last season and will be looking to continue where he left off during his loan spell and Matt Svensson also found the net on a number of occasions last time round. The injury-prone Clive Mendonca is still at Charlton and youngster Kevin Lisbie has the pace to frighten anyone.
Possible line up (4-4-2)
A mid-table finish looks inevitable,
but it is unlikely that Charlton will finish as high as 9th again. An 11th or 12th place is likely and unless Alan Curbishley strengthens his squad they may stay in the Premiership’s ‘no-mans land’ for a long time – going nowhere up or down.