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NEW ARTICLE: Charlton Athletic 2018/19 Review - CENTRE BACKS

Centre Backs

So the theme continues, just like the move coming to fruition for Purrington's equaliser at Wembley, just at the right time with only seconds left, Patrick Bauer produced a moment that we will never forget. A quick free kick taken and worked well down the left, it was met by the big German, but with his initial effort blocked, it needed a second bite at the cherry which only a leg of the 6ft 4 defender, who hadn’t scored all season, could provide. It had been a whirlwind season for Bauer too, starting with the statement about his contract at the beginning to leading us out as captain at Wembley at the end. It would be fair to say none of us expected that to happen when he took to social media to make clear of his situation. Whether he stays or not is still remained to be seen, but what cannot be in question is his determination to the cause throughout the season. Bauer produced performances that were solid, steady, and overall throughout the Play-Offs, he was a rock with countless headed clearances, especially when in the middle of the back three, he really made a difference. In his 35 league matches, we kept 17 clean sheets, and it sure would’ve been more had he not suffered a knee injury away at Bradford City back in September.  During that period, it kept him out for the next 9 games where we only picked up 14 points, 0.4 points per game less than the season’s average. Having Pat at the heart of our defence is vital. His contribution, the stats, and popping up just at the right time is so important for us moving forward. 

Image result for patrick bauer charlton play offs

For many supporters, at the heart of defence alongside Bauer would be Jason Pearce. What you see is what you get with the our experienced number 6. A no nonsense warrior who puts his body on the line and leads perfectly by example whilst marshalling the back line excellently. Pearce has only featured in 26 league games, remarkably his highest amount in a league season in a Charlton shirt. It would be more but for injury and Sarr’s form in 2019. Pearce showed his worth to the team in attacking areas too, scoring the winner in two away games, at Burton Albion and Wycombe Wanderers. What makes those goals unique are that they were both with his feet, not what you would expect from a defender who is not afraid to put his head in where it hurts. Our team captain ended up winning 15 of the league games he was involved in, 17 if you include the Play-Offs, that’s a win percentage of 60%. We all know he’s a solid defender and brings important experience that we will need for next season, as shown by his second half display in the Play-Off Final. There are question marks over whether he is good enough for Championship now and whether his lack of pace and comfort on the ball will get found out. But what Pearce brings to the side is far more than that, with a young squad his know-how and calmness is going to be integral in how next season is going to be. On top of that, I am sure he helped contribute to the form and performances put in by his replacement in 2019, Naby Sarr.

Image result for jason pearce charlton play offs 2019

When you think of Naby Sarr, one of the first things you’re likely to think of now is his growth and development in 2019. Naby has been outstanding. So good in fact, he forced himself into the reckoning for Player Of The Year and came out as runner-up. How things have changed for the player who had one of the toughest starts to life in a Charlton shirt. What is important going forward is that as supporters we must continue to encourage Naby, we can’t let what happened in the Play-Offs be what is remembered about Sarr from this season. It doesn’t define him. What does is his ability, heart, character, and how he has got to be one of the most improved players we have had at the club in years. The first half of the campaign included Sarr playing 12 full games before being sent off at home inside the first minute against AFC Wimbledon. He did also score what proved to be the decisive goal against Wycombe Wanderers at the beginning of September. As mentioned already, this season had a funny theme about it; things flowed into each other, some things went full cycle, whilst others happened at just the right time. Sarr is an example of that too with the wonderful free kick that he scored away at AFC Wimbledon, almost as if he was making up for temporarily letting his team mates down back in December. What also has not been mentioned much before is we are actually a better side in front of goal too when Sarr has played a full 90 minutes. 51 goals in 30 full games in comparison to 22 goals in the 16 games he didn’t play a full 90 in or wasn’t involved at all. Over a course of a season, that’s an extra 15 goals when he is playing to when he isn’t. Sarr’s ability to bring the ball out of defence, as well as spread the play out wide, added a new dynamic to the side that meant we could dominate and control games far more effectively. Going into the Championship, if he can continue to improve at the rate he has shown this calendar year, Sarr could again prove to be an influential figure in the team at both ends of the pitch. 



Next up: MIDFIELDERS (1/2) https://forum.charltonlife.com/discussion/85984/new-article-charlton-athletic-2018-19-review-midfielders-1-2/p1?new=1

Comments

  • Bielik hasn’t been included but will be in midfielders section as he played the vast majority of games as a defensive midfielder.
  • Thanks for doing these - they're a good read
  • Just read through the 3 done so far - really good and interesting, looking forward to reading the rest
  • Good analysis. One thing which has helped this season is that we have other players who can slot into the back 2 or 3 if necessary. Bielik obviously, but Dijksteel and Pratley have both played in a back 3 as well. As has Chris Solly!
  • Best Sarr moment this season was the tackle not the goal.
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Roland Out!