Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Next... Watford at home

Following on from the draw against a very strong Blackburn side on Saturday we face a Watford side that should be easier to beat. I'm always reluctant to say things like that, but in all honesty Watford are likely to struggle this season - especially until January when their, reported wealthy, new owners can do much to strengthen their squad.

With Watford being in 19th place (all be it we are in 20th place) we must be targeting this as a game we can win. If we are going to climb away from the relegation zone we are going to need to beat teams like Watford at home, and probably away for that matter.

I'm still not sure what our realistic aspirations are this season yet. Before the summer (after we'd run away with League One) I was confident that we would be challenging at the top of the table - not necessarily top two, but top six for sure.

With the lack of investment in the squad over the summer, I found myself back tracking in the excessively optimistic hopes I had. I still, however, thought that we would be mid table to top six, or at least be in that area of the table for most of the season.

After we lost at home to Palace, a team fancied to struggle, I was starting to get concerned. I know Forest had spent some money but losing to them and then at home to Palace I, suddenly, found myself looking down rather than up. The defeat at Derby provided something for both the half full and the half empty fans. Going three goals behind is never a good thing, but a spirited fightback, and coming so close to getting a third (and a draw) is always positive.

The win at Ipswich was fantastic, especially on the basis that we only won two games away all season the last time we were in this division, but Ipswich are a bit if a basket case at the moment, and we were third and second from bottom at kick off.

I went into the Blackburn game thinking that a draw would be a good result, and in the end I wasn't disappointed, but for me the performance was very encouraging.

I know it is easier to control the middle of the park with a 4-5-1, and Blackburn did, literally, rip us apart for their goal, but we dominated the game for most of the 90 minutes and we had several good chances to win the game, and on another day one of those would have gone in.

To come away from Saturday's game thinking that we should have won, yet being happy with a draw has (at least until 9:30 this evening) changed my outlook again into a more positive one. If we can play as we did on Saturday for the next half a dozen games I think we will look in a much better position. We do have some tough games coming up, but they are all tough in this division.

With Fuller reported to be over his virus, and with Rob Hulse having been signed I think we will have the option to go back to a 4-4-2, but I'm not sure that is what Powell will do. We might see the Rasak start in place of Jackson, who has looked 'jaded' for most of the season, but went off injured on Saturday, but other than that I'd be happy to see a similar lineup.

We need to keep it tight at the start, and then look to take more control of the game as we 'grow' into it. It is, after all, only our ninth game in this division, and for a number of players it is only their ninth game in this division, ever.

Under normal circumstances I would be confident of a win, but I am a little nervous as this is one of the easiest games we have coming up (on paper, at least) and we do need to pick up some points to keep us away from the bottom three. A draw wouldn't be a complete disaster, but I think I will be disappointed with anything less than a win.

Up the Addicks!

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