This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Charlton failed to put an end to their miserable record against south London rivals Millwall on Saturday, succumbing to a 2-1 defeat at The Den – the Addicks will have to wait even longer to put an end to their 23-year winless streak against the Lions.
Gary Rowett’s side took an early lead in the sixth minute after Shaun Hutchinson headed home, before Matt Smith scored a stoppage-time winner to leave Charlton heading back to The Valley with their tails tucked between their legs.
It was a disappointing performance from most players in red – however, one man was more culpable than others.
Before the match, we outlined how Naby Sarr should be dropped by Lee Bowyer for the south London derby, not because of his woeful 45-minute display against Preston, but because of his lack of aerial ability.
We detailed how – before the Millwall clash – Sarr had only won 1.8 aerial duels per game on average in the Championship, an inferior amount to his fellow centre-backs Jason Pearce and Tom Lockyer.
It was also mentioned how Millwall striker Matt Smith – a 6 foot 5 powerhouse – wins a huge amount of aerial battles, and could therefore dominate Sarr.
As we speak now, that preconception rang true at The Den.
Despite contributing the assist for Jonathan Leko’s goal, the 26-year-old defender was at fault for both Millwall goals after, believe it or not, being beaten in the air.
He allowed Hutchinson to get ahead of him for the first strike, before allowing the previously identified Smith to swat him aside once again to score a 91st-minute winner.
The Senegalese centre-back also committed two fouls and failed to make a single block, on a day where his ineptitude in the air cost his side dearly.
There is no reason for him to be so poor in the air given his 6 foot 5 frame, and Sarr’s awful showing proved why he should have been dropped by Bowyer for the clash.