Wednesday 2 December 2020

Charlton Athletic 0 v Milton Keynes 1

The bad news is that due to some unplanned domestic duties I needed to do this evening I missed much of the game. The good news though was I missed much of the game. What I did see has made me severely pissed-off and am reminding myself just how much worse I would feel if I had won a golden ticket in the lottery only to be frozen to death as well as angry. I can't be bothered to write this up but feel I need to make some points;

1. Why did Bogle start this evening? I thought everyone had learnt this lesson, including Lee Bowyer? He is simply not a good enough footballer to be playing for us or in League One. Sorry, but he hardly gets a touch and when he does he loses possession. Finally, a goal on Saturday (a back post tap-in) and he starts again? It's almost as if Lee Bowyer doesn't want to be proven wrong about him.

2. Where was the midfield tonight? I missed the first-half but saw that Maddison was on for Shinnie at the start of the second-half. Perhaps Shinnie was injured but the mess the midfield was making early in the second-half suggested it had been no better during the first. Milton Keynes were first to everything. When we did touch the ball it was a last-ditch lunge or a desperate block and the ball went back to them. Unsure what went wrong but nothing was happening until Williams came on and we were chasing the game by then.

3. Where are our centre-backs? It was Gunter and Pratley again. I didn't see enough to apportion too much blame because the midfield gave them little respite but when are we going to see centre-backs playing centre-back again? Pearce has been a sub for weeks and Famewo was brought on when we were one down. Barker looked composed for the few games he played there and not even on the bench in recent weeks.

4. What's our attacking strategy? I appreciate Bowyer doesn't have an embarrassment of striking talent but so far this season it's been a case of compete for as long as possible, hope to dominate possession and throw the ball forward hoping something sticks or by weight of numbers it falls for us. There is no consistency to our play. Without Doughty there is little pace or threatening wing play. Our midfield options are very safe and very similar. It's all tidy and percentage football which doesn't help when the options ahead of you are limited. Anneke offered a glint of hope at Ipswich last week when he was winning the ball, pulling defenders out of position and creating space for his team-mates. Tonight was two steps back. Milton Keynes showed us how to do it. They attacked in threes and there was nearly always a player free to receive a pass as they came at us. If Amos hadn't been in goal it would likely have been a more convincing scoreline.

5. Marcus Maddison? Flattering to deceive. Seems to play his own game in midfield. Every time he gets the ball he tries to put someone in on goal. Nothing necessarily wrong with the ambition but it's usually 30-40 yard balls because he's so deep when  he picks the ball up and doesn't appear to be interested working with his team-mates in the midfield to work at building pressure and create much more realistic chances. Also, will someone tell him he's playing for a professional club now and wearing different coloured football boots has zero impact on your ability or contribution and makes you look like a, a prima-dona.

6. Can we sort out our home form? We are sitting in the play-off places and have won five on the road. Our home form, though, has been poor. Three wins, a draw and two defeats from six. We didn't deserve the draw against Sunderland and only just edged past Wigan and Fleetwood. Empty stadiums haven't helped but we need to find a style and rhythm playing at home and we haven't managed it so far this season. Needless to say, our home form isn't promotion-winning. 

It has to be much better on Saturday.

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