Despite narrowly losing 1-0 against Norwich on Saturday, Charlton Athletic can take many positives from the game in regards to how it could shape their season.
The South Londoners dominated the game against the now-promoted Canaries from start to finish, but just couldn’t find a way through thanks to some fine saves from their goalkeeper Fraser Forster, who was without a doubt Norwich’s match winner. Not one player didn’t give their all for Charlton, none more so than Jose Semedo, the Portuguese midfielder is looking a strong favourite for player of the season and broke up any chance Norwich had of playing the ball through the midfield. The stats don’t lie either with Charlton enjoying 68% of the possession as well as having 16 shots compared to Norwich’s 3. However its scrappy victories like these that have gained the Norfolk side an immediate return to the Championship.
Manager Phil Parkinson told the media after the game, “I couldn’t ask any more from the lads. The fact that our supporters gave us such a big ovation at the final whistle told us everything. They knew how unlucky we had been and I was delighted with that response.”
Although they lost the game Charlton still sit only 3 points behind 2nd placed Leeds, and should they slip up this weekend along with Millwall and Swindon then the Addicks could find themselves level with Leeds, separated only by goal difference. With the Yorkshire side coming to The Valley the following weekend.
Even if Charlton fail to reach automatic promotion then they will still be a side to be feared in the playoffs. Captain Nicky Bailey is undoubtedly one of the best players in the league, experienced striker Deon Burton is raring to go again after being sidelined with a groin strain. Midfielders Therry Racon and Jose Semedo are more than capable of bossing the midfield in any game, Christian Dailly is a steady head in defence and Charlton can also rely on wonderkid Jonjo Shelvey to come off the bench and make an impact if needed.
However the club will arguably want to avoid Millwall in the playoffs after the Bermondsey outfit comfortably stormed to a 4-0 victory at The Den back in March. Whilst Charlton do excel against Millwall in terms of individual players’ ability, The Lions have a stronger team ethic and more belief than their rivals, so a meeting between the two sides wouldn’t be ideal for Charlton.
Rarely ever has a defeat felt so positive and if Charlton can keep the same performance levels from now until the end of the season then undoubtedly they will be certainties for promotion whether it be automatic or through the playoffs.