Charlton Athletic’s disappointing start to the 2021/22 campaign continued as they lost 2-1 away to Oxford United in League One on Saturday.
Goals from Ryan Williams and Cameron Brannagan gave Oxford the lead in the opening 31 minutes, as the Addicks endured a woeful opening to the game. A penalty from Conor Washington pulled one back for Nigel Adkins’ side, but they were unable to force an equaliser against an impressive Oxford outfit.
One player who struggled, in particular, was midfielder Sean Clare, who joined Charlton from Oxford earlier in this transfer window.
The central midfielder was a liability for the Addicks throughout the match as he failed to show why Charlton wanted to sign him from Oxford – where he averaged a SofaScore rating of 6.93 in League One last term.
“The midfielder was back at his former club for the first time since his recent switch to SE7 but a fluid and slick Oxford side – with Brannagan and James Henry impressing – made it a tough afternoon. Did produce one deft touch to set Washington up for a shot that was charged down.”
Despite playing the full 90 minutes, Clare only had 30 touches of the ball. His central midfielder partner Albie Morgan managed 69 touches and goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray had 46 – highlighting how the ex-Oxford man was unable to impose himself in the middle of the park. When your central midfielder is touching the ball less than your goalkeeper, you have a problem.
When he did have a chance to get himself on the ball or make an impact, Clare left a lot to be desired. He lost 88% of his duels, winning one of the eight he contested – seven on the ground and one in the air. This suggests that his opposite numbers for Oxford had the beating of him in physical battles, which allowed the home side to control the game and win the midfield duel.
Therefore, the Charlton flop was a liability on the pitch as he consistently came out second best against Oxford’s players and was unable to find space for himself to get enough touches on the ball to make a positive impact in possession.
Adkins will be fuming with his performance and hoping for an improvement when they travel to MK Dons in midweek.