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Saboteur

15 December 2014

Charlton 2 Blackpool 2

It's good to know that Arsene Wenger reads this blog. Two weeks ago I questioned his judgement in letting Francis Coquelin stay out on loan and just days later he recalled him. So it's my fault that Charlton's midfield today was a work of desperate bricolage. When we saw the team no-one could really work out who would be playing where or what the formation would be. By half time we were no nearer an understanding, but were 1-1 down to an awful Blackpool team.

As far as I could tell the plan was to have Solly and Buyens as sort-of defensive central midfielders, with Gudmundssohn on the left, and Cousins wandering where'er he would. (Harriot and Vetokele up front, not that it mattered.) And watching all these square pegs in round holes was Lawrie Wilson on the bench, staring blankly into the bloody big Lawrie Wilson-shaped hole in front of Joe Gomez at right back.

Gomez's performance was the saving grace of the game: he looked ridiculously authoritative and comfortable for a 17 year old. Everything else was disappointment. Even Andre Bikey, who I really hope doesn't read this blog, had a bad day, crowningnotcrowning it with the kind of fluffed shot that would bring forth a delightful missus-related quip from Harry ("Arry") Redknapp.

Cousins' goal was a delight too, but evidence, I submit, that this rubbish Blackpool side were there for the taking. They couldn't defend against an attacking move that had a grain of imagination and daring in it, a grain more than any other attacking move all afternoon contained.

The sense I've had all season is that Peeters is very effective at drilling into the team the importance of holding their position. Once the play goes out of any player's zone, they leave it; it's not their problem any more, they must not get drawn away from their basic role. Defensively, this normally works. Defenders don't get dragged out of position, but regroup back. In terms of attack, though, it's disastrous. Midfielders seem scared to run at the opposition defence, and so the ball spends more time going sideways than a crab on ice.

Oh no, I've broken my self-imposed silence about tactical matters. Things must be bad. Two weeks ago, the first home defeat of the season left everyone feeling not that bad considering. This draw felt much more like a defeat, and the way it was surrendered was morale-sapping. Big Bob has a lot of emotional work to do before the next game, away to Blackburn. At least there won't be many people there to see it. Happy Christmas!