Saturday sees the return of football to The Valley after what seems an especially long fortnight over the traditional international break. Having made a blistering start to the season, proving many pre-season pundits wrong, Bob Peeters’ side face another tough test with the visit of Watford.
But with home wins over Derby County and Wigan Athletic, combined with an impressive point at Brighton there is reason to be optimistic ahead of the clash with the Hornets – the three sides mentioned all finished the last campaign in the play-off positions.
View from the home dugout:
Charlton head coach Bob Peeters admits the change in manager at Vicarage Road could mean a change in the way the visiting side set up on Saturday. The Golden Boys have picked up 12 points of a possible 15 in their opening matches, but despite this, the club parted company with Beppe Sannino.
“Having taken that amount of points from their opening games, you never think a manager will leave.”
“It is about the way they’re going to play, because it’s possible a new manager could put some new players in.”
Opposition in focus:
It’s been a case of so far so good for the ‘Orns this campaign on the pitch, with four wins from five and some impressive displays too.
Bolton visited Vicarage Road on the opening day of the season, but left empty handed as the home side ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. A loss by the same score line followed in their next league fixture, after the early dismissal of central defender Joel Ekstrand gave Watford too much to do at Carrow Road.
A 2-0 win at Rotherham and successive home wins over the Yorkshire duo of Leeds United and Huddersfield Town have followed, with the emphasis very much on attack.
Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra have re-united their dangerous partnership in attack for Garcia’s men, and with Fernando Forestieri a doubt it looks likely they’ll be the go to men for Watford.
Last year’s matches between the two sides saw Charlton pick up a win and a draw. In mid September, a Yann Kermorgant penalty helped Chris Powell’s men to secure a 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road.
In April, Charlton managed an emphatic 3-1 win over the visiting side – a result that secured their Championship status on a memorable night in south-east London.
Predicted Line-Up and Result:
Johann Gudmundsson picked up a knock whilst on international duty with Iceland in the week, and so the winger is likely to undergo a late fitness test to assess the situation. Elsewhere, fellow new signing and SkyBet Championship Player of the Month Igor Vetokele only returned to Sparrows Lane on Friday following his stint with Angola, but having made such an impact already this season, you’d have to think Peeters will include the prolific forward.
Here’s how I believe we’ll take to the field (presuming Gudmundsson is passed fit to play):
Solly Ben-Haim Bikey Wiggins
Gudmundsson Jackson Buyens Cousins
Having made such an eye-catching start to the season there really is a feel good factor around The Valley at the moment – but it’s vital that Charlton fans keep their feet on the ground, and having narrowly escaped relegation last term, a mid-table finish would suit just fine this time around.
This new side has a plethora of attacking ability, with pace and skill in abundance, and for that reason I’m confident we’ll score over the ninety minutes. But having watched the visitors on numerous occasions already this season, I believe they will too – because they also carry a real goal threat.
Given this, and my own circumstances tomorrow, I’m sitting on the fence and going for a draw – it’ll be another entertaining encounter between the two sides : 2-2.
By Alex Stedman – @astedman1 on Twitter