29 September 2014

Charlton 0 Middlesbrough 0

My thoughts turned to valleyology as I saw the squad selection. Only one striker in the starting team. That should do something about the lack of goals. And a 17 year old on the bench. While it's good that he gets a taste of the first-team experience, was it a message from Peeters to Duchatelet? Anyway, I didn't expect a thrilling first half and in that sense I wasn't disappointed.

I'm so glad I don't even attempt to write proper match reports. I'd have had to pay attention during an increasingly lacklustre half, which silenced even the noisy travelling supporters. Instead I was able to contemplate deeper matters. Why do some men call their muscly upper-arms their "guns"?  How pathetic and twisted is that? Why is there not another o in Middlesb[o]rough? What do you call it when a woman tells you - patiently and perhaps patronisingly - what "mansplaining" is? Middlesbrough will always be linked in my mind with defensive play and 0-0 draws, and although they were soundly out-defensived by Charlton, they didn't really look interested. Perhaps it was that league cup marathon in midweek.

When these teams met two years ago I wrote a tricksy, irritating, timey-wimey piece, which even I don't understand anymore. I do apologise but Saturday's match was another game played backwards. Charlton got their second-half slump out of the way before halftime, and actually got livelier as the game went on, partly due to some rather late but smart substitutions, partly due to a crowd that clearly decided a win was possible, and lastly due to a sending off with ten minutes to go.

There weren't many good chances, but the few there were could justifiably have got all three points. So it was an odd feeling. A reminder that this team can attack the goal, even in the second half, and probably should try it more often. Incisive analysis as usual. You're welcome.

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