Thursday, 20 March 2008

Next... West Brom at home

These posts are getting harder and harder to write. I never get the team predictions right, I never get the scorelines right, and I rarely even get the result right.

Having played West Brom three times already this season, once on television in what was described (and probably rightly too) as the best game in the Championship this season tomorrow should hold few surprises.

However, I suspect that neither team will play with the same adventurous football as they both did back in November when a win for either team would have put them top of the division. If anything, rightly or wrongly, the footballing approach has been proved to be unsuccessful in this division this season. Just as Bolton managed to finish top half of the Premiership for several seasons playing unattractive football, we have learned (as have West Brom) that you can't just play your way out of this division.

Thus I think tomorrow's game could well be one of the worst games in this division this season. I think both teams will start off nervously, and I think the fans will be very apprehensive. West Brom have had a bad run of results, have an FA Cup semi-final playing on their mind, and can afford to lose fewer games than we can if they are to make the top two - I'm referring to our aspirations for a top six place, clearly. Tomorrow is a game that West Brom need to get something from, and they must realise that we are playing for our lives.

I'd like to say that at this stage I'd take a point, but clearly the fans will demand more from a team that has failed to deliver what has been promised just too many times this season. This perceived lack of performance coupled with what looks to many like a lack of effort or commitment suggests that should West Brom get an early goal, which I think is likely, the players will soon feel the displeasure of the crowd. I don't necessarily approve of dissenting spectators (I chose that word carefully) and I never boo players or the team, but I think that the minority (hopefully) that expect (and even demand) entertainment for the money they pay have a right to be disappointed with what they've seen recently.

I think I'll end there as I have very little that's positive to say except that I will be there and I will be giving the players as much support as I can for as long as I can manage to do so. I just hope that we have something to cheer.

Up the Addicks!

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