Plymouth Argyle are preparing to play Charlton at The Valley for the second time in as many months. After our chat before November’s cup game, we were once again joined by Charlton fan and CharltonLife writer Karl, who can himself be found on Twitter, for our Boxing Day Opposition View.
How have things been at Charlton since we last spoke?
Inconsistent and frustrating. We have had a couple more players pick up injuries, especially in defence, and that’s hurt us recently. Only managed to keep 1 clean sheet since we last spoke, a 2-0 win away at Ipswich. We’ve had a couple of good wins, 5-2 against Wimbledon being one, but when it comes to the sides nearer the bottom, we have really struggled and at times become too defensive.
What did you make of the fixture in the FA Cup, which saw Argyle win 1-0?
Good win for Plymouth and got yourselves into Round 3 too. For Charlton, I think it was always about minutes for some players and being focused on the league this season is really important. The team on Boxing Day will be much changed from that fixture.
What sort of tactical style do you expect to set up with on Saturday?
Bowyer will always set up with two up front in the league as much as he can. We can play football but have the ability to go direct as well, especially if Aneke is on the pitch. With the attacking players we have, we should be more threatening, I don’t think we’ve really clicked yet. Our left back Maatsen is important to our set up, he has the ability to get forward and play in multiple positions. Expect either a flat 4-4-2 or a diamond midfield.
Even though we can expect a stronger Charlton side than in the Cup, are there any weak links you’re worried about?
Defensively for sure. From being so solid keeping 6 clean sheets in a row, we’ve shipped 11 in 7 since the return of the last international break. The reason mainly is that we have arguably our best two centre backs injured. Runs in behind the centre of our defence could cause us problems.
What have you made of Argyle’s progress so far this season?
A very bright start followed by 6 straight defeats made your recent win against Milton Keynes an important one. You seem to heavily rely on the goals of Jephcott, who I previously mentioned I’ve been impressed with. That’s a potential cause for concern, especially if he was to be sold in January. However, I think you’ll have enough to be okay in the league this season.
What would you say your ambitions are for the rest of the campaign?
100% it has to be promotion. We need to finish top 6 and then anything can happen. It’s a strange league where anyone can beat anyone but if we are to be serious, we are a club that needs to be chasing one of the promotion spots.
And what are your predictions for League One in general this year?
No one will run away with it and places for the top 6 could be decided on the last day of the season. If any club goes on a run of wins, they’ll put themselves in a great position. As in anything, but more so this season, finding consistency is going to be so important.
Finally, what is your prediction for the game itself?
At home, Charlton ought to be looking at 3 points and with knowing we only have one more game this calendar year, I think Bowyer and the players will aim to end it on a high. It’s a game where Charlton have to be patient, but if we were to get an early goal, the recent losses of Plymouth could cause the players heads to drop. If Charlton go for it and not become defensive too early, a 3-1 win for Charlton would be my predictions.